View From Rome

View from Rome

06 July 2016 | by Christopher Lamb


Question: what does a pope do with bishops who don’t do what he wants? Answer: he moves them out – out of the Vatican and sometimes to a remote diocese in some far-flung part of the world.

That’s certainly how things used to be done. But in the Francis era it’s different: ever since his election the current pope has adopted a contrary approach. First, it’s because he believes passionately about the need for bishops to be sensitive pastors and close to the people – so if he doesn’t think a bishop is up to scratch, the last thing he wants to do is to send him to lead a large flock.

And second, it’s because this pope’s approach to running the Church is essentially non-confrontational. His personal philosophy is rooted in one of his favourite expressions: “Time is greater than space.” Francis simply isn’t interested in trying to impose his ideas and concepts on the Church – this week, this month or even this year. Instead, his vision is for a more open, understanding and merciful Church, which will unfold over time.

So when it comes to dealing with his opponents inside the Vatican, Francis plays a waiting game.  Speaking to Argentinian newspaper La Nación last Sunday he referred to his opponents as “nails” but stressed: “I do not cut off heads.”
These nails, he explained, “are removed by applying pressure to the top … or, you set them aside to rest when the age of retirement arrives.” In other words, people go when their time is up – and until then, he prefers to avoid battles with them so far he possibly can.

Subscribe now and enjoy access to all parts of the tablet website, Including its 175 year archive...

Article List

Latest Issue

Digital/PDF Version

PDF version (iPad-friendly)

Previous Issues
Latest Tweet
Share Us
Tablet Subscription

Manage my subcription here


Sign up for our newsletter

Sign Up