Francis is, and isn't, what we expected

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York was among the 114 cardinals who elected Pope Francis in March. Did the cardinals really know what they were getting in Jorge Mario Bergoglio, or have the first four months of his papacy been as much of a revelation to them as to the rest of the world?

- John Allen, NCR

According to Cardinal Dolan, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. The Pope's simplicity, humility and closeness to the people are no surprise, he said, because the cardinals had heard all that -- the only surprise is how well he seems to be pulling it off.

On the other hand, Card. Dolan said, the cardinals also thought they were electing a dynamic manager, and so far the pace of change has been slower than some expected. Perhaps, Card. Dolan said, Francis has built such a reservoir of goodwill that it may be easier to push through change down the line.

He spoke last week in an interview with NCR on the margins of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, where he was leading a delegation of roughly 50 pilgrims from New York and delivering catechetical sessions to English-speakers from around the world.

On other matters, Card. Dolan confessed to fears for Francis' safety and said he might have to learn to allow himself to be 'handled' a bit more; he said Francis has boosted the 'reputation and credibility' of the church, making it easier for bishops to move the ball on many fronts. But Card. Dolan conceded he's resentful of praise heaped on Francis at the expense of Benedict XVI, saying it's both 'hurtful' to the former pope and also 'inaccurate.'

FULL STORY Dolan; Francis is, and isn't what we expected (NCR)

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