Biographer finds ‘key’ to understanding Pope’s vision

Austen Ivereigh (Parramatta Diocese)

Austen Ivereigh, the UK-based journalist and papal biographer, addressed Melbourne clergy this week on Pope Francis’ pontificate and the nature of authentic renewal in the life of the Church. Source: Melbourne Catholic.

In the online talk, Mr Ivereigh, who wrote The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, explained what he thinks is the interpretive key to understand Pope Francis’ vision and the kinds of changes he wants to see in the Church.

This “key” is the Aparecida Document, a 2007 document of the fifth assembly of the Episcopal Council of Latin American Bishops. The then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was chosen to lead the committee that would draft the assembly’s final document, which was seen as a “roadmap” usable for the entire Church.

“It has a very brilliant analysis, I think, of contemporary modernity,” Mr Ivereigh said.

The document laid out a vision in which Christ was the heart of culture. It said that “Christians must start over from Christ, from contemplation of Him who has revealed to us in his mystery, the complete fulfilment of the human vocation and its meaning,” so that in Jesus “culture can again find its centre and depth”.

The question then becomes: If the Church needs to change in response to her own unwitting secularisation, how should the Church change? Is there a path of authentic change, as opposed to superficial and damaging change? It is to this question that Mr Ivereigh dedicated the second half of his talk.

“Structural changes can turn out to be superficial or even damaging if they don’t reflect the deeper cultural change,” he said. “The Church has to change according to the power that the Church has been given, and the power the Church has been given is fundamentally the Holy Spirit.”


Austen Ivereigh: Synodality a 'new future' for the Church (Melbourne Catholic)

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