John Allen regnes som en av de aller mest kunnskapsrike kirkejournalister, og han skriver i The Boston Globe (der han nylig er blitt ansatt) om det første året med pave Frans:
One year ago Thursday, a relatively obscure prelate from Argentina made his debut as the new leader of the world’s oldest Christian church, stepping out onto the fabled balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square and joking that his brother cardinals had gone to “the end of the earth” to find a pope.
For an institution legendary for taking itself rather seriously, that flash of humor alone communicated that this wasn’t going to be your grandfather’s kind of pontiff.
By taking the name Francis, the new pope awakened images of St. Francis, the beloved poor man of Assisi. He then knelt to ask the crowd to pray for him before imparting his official blessing, seemingly inaugurating a new era of papal humility. …
… The Boston Globe spoke to a dozen cardinals from various parts of the world in late February and early March. Based on that unscientific sample, reaction seems a mix of satisfaction and astonishment. While some admit to elevated blood pressure levels, there appears to be little buyer’s remorse — in part because having a popular pope simply makes their lives easier.
Few cardinals anticipated the way in which the new pontiff would capture the imagination of the world, or how quickly he would do it.
Asked if he would have predicted a year ago that the new pope would enjoy astronomic approval ratings and grace the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, vice president of the US bishops’ conference, could scarcely have been more definitive. “No, no, and no,” he told the Globe.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York amplified the point. “We knew we were electing a man of the poor, and we knew we were electing a good manager,” Dolan said. “We had no idea we were electing a rock star.”
Dolan’s experience is typical of many churchmen. He reports that when he does media interviews today, the questions generally aren’t about pedophile priests, crackdowns on nuns, or bruising political fights inside the Vatican. Instead, they’re largely adulatory inquiries about the new pontiff.
Cardinals also say that politicians and diplomats are less inclined to be hostile to church interests, because no one wants to be on the wrong side of a popular pope, and that when they mingle at the grass roots, even outside the confines of the church, they generally find delight. ….
…. Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, admits that there have been times when the pope’s almost casual rhetorical turns and his spirit of openness have created heartburn.
“There have been things which are hard to explain,” Collins said, referring specifically to one of the headlines from an October interview Francis granted to a left-wing Italian paper: “God is not a Catholic.”
Still, Collins said, when he reads the full text of what Francis has said, as opposed to sound bites, he generally finds nothing to worry about. “You read the whole text and it’s great,” Collins said. “You may have to work a little harder to get the proper context, but it’s always there.” …