By Sarah Mac Donald - 18 October, 2016
Famed Vatican watcher, Marco Politi, author of ‘Pope Francis Among the Wolves: The Inside Story of a Revolution’, is to give an address at the Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin this evening.
The Vatican correspondent for La Republica, one of Italy’s top newspapers, told RTE Radio’s ‘This Week’ programme that to bring about change in a Church of over one billion people, with thousands of bishops and priests, “is very difficult”.
He said the wolves in the title of the book refer to the conservatives who don’t want change.
“In the moment when the Pope gave the synod [on the family] the freedom to make proposals to solve hot issues like, for example, the Eucharist for divorced and remarried people and the acceptance and recognition of homosexual partnerships – then you could really see the battle between the different blocks – the conservatives, the centre, the reformers.”
According to the journalist, the majority of bishops at the last two synods on the family in 2014 and 2015 “were either against a new line or were afraid to follow a new line”.
He said Pope Francis would like to see “a democratisation of the Catholic Church”, and his approach to the two synods was indicative of this, as he wanted bishops to be able to “speak out freely about what they think are the problems and make practical proposals”.
Recalling the events around the two synods in 2014 and 2015, Mr Politi said there had been “a great mobilisation of the conservative block”. This included the five cardinals who wrote a book against change and the 11 cardinals who, on the eve of the 2015 synod, had spoken out against change, as well as the circulation of an appeal with 400,000 signatures. Among those signatures were those of 100 bishops.
On the Church’s child abuse scandals, he paid tribute to Pope Francis for having recalled Mgr Józef Wesolowski, the Polish nuncio to the Dominican Republic, over his abuse of teenage boys in Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic.
Wesolowski is the highest-ranking Vatican official to have been investigated for sex abuse so far. However, his death prevented a criminal investigation and trial from proceeding at a Vatican court.
The Pope’s creation of a new tribunal to deal with bishops accused of covering up abuse, according to Marco Politi, is “something completely new in the Roman curia and in the Catholic Church”.
He paid tribute to the Pope’s efforts to have any bishop found to have covered up abuse removed, and to his setting up of a commission to develop new guidelines to fight sex abuse.
Marco Politi will speak at the Loyola Institute, Trinity College, on Tuesday 18 October at 6.30 pm.