- Trying to square the circle
The opening days of the Synod on the Family have revealed distinct differences of opinion between the participants. How can their commitment to church teaching be matched with compassion for those who struggle with it?
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Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the personal secretary to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, has said he does not expect a “revolution” under Pope Francis, because the Argentine Pope wants to “reform the faithful and not the faith”.
“I don’t expect the Vatican to have a new face tomorrow either,” he said in an interview on Bavarian television on New Year’s Day.
He maintained that in matters of doctrine, there was “absolute continuity” between Pope Francis and Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.
Lumen fidei, Francis’s first encyclical, which was written mainly by Benedict XVI, was “excellent proof” of this, he said.
But the two Popes were “ not only completely different in the way they approached people but differed in the priorities they set.”
Benedict’s priorities had been “faith and reason, along with the problem of relativism”, whereas Francis concentrated on “the option for the poor”, Archbishop Gänswein said.