Francis defies pigeon-holes, says leading cardinal

Many Catholics who identify themselves as either conservatives or progressives will be disappointed in Pope Francis, whose program and agenda fits none of the traditional moulds, a top German cardinal said, according to a CNS report in NCR.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, a theologian and retired president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said Pope Francis will also face resistance within the Curia, which needs both organizational revamping and a change of mentality.

Attempts at reform will bring resistance and difficulties 'just like with every big institution,' he said in an interview on Tuesday with the Italian newspaper, Il Foglio.

"However, this pope is very determined: He knows what he wants," he said.

The 80-year-old cardinal, who was eligible by just five days to be part of the conclave that elected the new pope, is highly esteemed by Pope Francis, who called the cardinal a 'superb theologian.' During his first public Angelus address, the Pope referred to one of the Cardinal's recently published works as a book that 'has done me so much good.'

Kasper told the Italian daily that 'it's not possible to pigeonhole (the Pope) in the classic European conservative-progressive debate,' which is already a 'worn out' framework that has run its course.

"Many people are enthusiastic about him: He is a true pastor, he has great charm, a direct approach with people' and speaks in a manner that is upfront and understandable, Kasper said. There are those 'who accuse him of putting on a show, but I think he is giving an authentic witness: he lives what he says.'

FULL STORY Pope who can't be pigeon-holed bound to disappoint some (NCR)

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