Pope Francis and the Liberalization of the Catholic Church
I’m not one of those who believes that Pope Francis is distancing himself from the dogma of the Church. This is more of a media representation than a real fact. Certainly this representation is fueled by the Pope himself who, as refined politician, hopes to gain popularity. It’s almost been this way so far.
As good Jesuit, Francis is aware of man’s weakness and has reminded men how the Catholics’ God is first of all “merciful” thanks to the sacrament of confession. This is right and very traditional.
As good Jesuit, Francis refers to the need for men of the Church to be rigorous in their behavior, since this is what distinguishes the lay people from the “perfects” (or hopefuls for it), in other words those who assume the priestly function.
What, on the contrary, Francis disregards (and in this he departs from the original Jesuit doctrine, but it’s coherent with a more modern Jesuitism) is the importance of rituals and symbols. They are much more important when the Church decides to assume an indulgent behavior towards the weaknesses of the believers’ people. Considering the current situation of the Catholic Church, especially in Europe, this is not a marginal issue, but I would rather say that it is significant. Then to object to this dismantling of the symbols and prerogatives of Chivalric Orders is right and such interference in the independence of the Knights of Malta is unacceptable, also because it would involve the discrediting of this institution.
Anyway, that's not the point: what has been triggered by Francis, excluding the narration presented to the media, is a violent power struggle that is unfolding among the ecclesiastical hierarchies aimed at de-Europeanizing and de-Italianizing the leadership of the Catholic Church. The worst affected by Francis' "reforming" sorties are the ancient curia's elements and the Italian and partially European episcopacy.
The liberal veneer given by Francis is useful, especially to gain the public opinion’s sympathies towards his strategy that it is entirely within the Church’s balance. If this is the scenario, arriving at a rift is rather improbable. Francis will neither disregard the perimeter of the Catholic dogma, nor introduce shattering innovations. We’re not facing a II Vatican Council and a lefrevian-styled rebellion. Instead, what can actually happen is that the conflict among Vatican hierarchies increasingly tights up, up to an explosion, producing - because of the behavior assumed by Francis - an erupting effect on the Church’s reliability, also because the reasons of his opponents would hardly be understood by people.