How do you solve a problem like Pope Francis

Breaking the mould

Fr Isaac McDaniel imagines a conversation between two cardinals who aren't quite pleased with the way Pope Francis is running the Church.

- NCR Online

The two cardinals shuffled slowly down the long avenue outside the Catacombs of St Sebastian. Their view of the Vatican was obscured by the rows of towering cypress trees that lined both sides of the road.

'I haven't been here in years,' said Cardinal Bergano. 'But we couldn't talk in my office. It's bugged by every agency in Christendom.'

'Besides,' said Cardinal Farelli, 'we don't want to be seen together by anyone who might draw the wrong conclusions.'

The men looked disconsolate despite the sunny sky and balmy winter weather. A warm wind blew their broad fascia, which fluttered beside them like scarlet kite tails. 'Yes, the press is watching us closely for signs of rebellion against the Holy Father. We have to be careful,' said Bergano.

'Bergoglio has only been in office for nine months, and he has already undone most of the good work of the last two papacies,' Farelli sighed.

'He's fostering a cult of personality with his spontaneous gestures and all this claptrap about the poor. And he's far too intimate with the crowds, kissing babies and signing sweatshirts. The faithful are even discouraged from kissing his fisherman's ring,' added Bergano.

'His offhand remarks to the press have been a disaster,' Bergano exclaimed. 'L'Osservatore Romano has to correct half of what he says before it's printed.'

'His liturgical style is undignified for the Supreme Pontiff. He preaches without wearing his miter and waves his arms when he talks. He even distributes Communion in the hand in St Peter's,' said Farelli.

'And he's driving the Curia crazy,' Farelli continued, 'ordering them to hear confessions at a church near the Vatican, as though such important men had time to listen to the neurotic drivel of pious tourists.'

'He's been a disaster for the fashion industry. He looks like a Presbyterian chorister in plain white robes, stomping around in those worn black wingtips. Gammarelli's has barely turned a profit since his election, and ermine farms are closing all over Scandinavia.'

FULL STORY How do you solve a problem like Pope Francis? (NCR Online)

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