View From Rome
14 February 2018
View from Rome
IT IS A STYLE that has thrilled and inspired millions: the informal, non-clerical, accessible Pope who, at the drop of a hat, is willing to baptise a sick child or marry a couple on board a plane. This Bishop of Rome, instinctively sceptical of systems and structures, believes the gold standard for a priest is his closeness to his flock rather than his efficiency as a church bureaucrat. It is a pastoral populism that has particularly appealed outside traditional Vatican circles.
A winning strategy up to now, it appears to have come unstuck in the handling of the case of the Chilean Bishop Juan Barros, accused of turning a blind eye to abuse.
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