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14/03/2013 | The Vatican turns south - A modest opportunity

The Economist Staff

IN AN old monastic joke, one robed brother says to another: "You know, being humble has always been one of my strong points..." In his first few minutes as pontiff, Pope Francis gave the impression of unfeigned humility: by his homely manner, his visible amazement at his elevation, and his choice of a name that is synonymous with self-denial and poverty.

 

As Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, he had shown a personal austerity that impressed people; he was happy to prepare his own meals and take public transport instead of employing the usual team of drivers and cooks. In a more substantial act of modesty, he led the Argentine church in apologising for its failure to take a more robust line against the military dictatorship.

There is plenty for a pope to be humble about, critical observers of the Vatican will say. The glorious pomp and ceremony of a papal election provided only a moment of relief to a global institution whose credibility has been shaken to the foundations: by the suspicion of financial legerdemain, sexual misdeeds and ugly cover-ups hanging over the church hierarchy, and the sense that infighting in the Vatican administration is becoming uncontrollable. To many people, it seemed that Benedict XVI stepped aside only just in time to save his reputation as a detached, cerebral figure who was the object of conspiracies, not responsible for them.

This was a good moment for a rupture with the past, and in some respects the cardinals' choice does represent a clean break. As a Jesuit, he belongs to an elite department of the church which retained some independence during the last two papacies. He is being described as a "non-European" pope, though he is close enough to his Italian roots to have some understanding of the curia and its political intrigues. Unlike most Europeans and Americans, he has lived through the dilemmas that arise when a brutal dictatorship is being challenged by violent insurgency.

In short, Pope Francis is different enough, in style and origin, to be credible as a "new broom" sweeping the Vatican stables clean. But some unpleasant dossiers are lying on his desk, and his window of opportunity will not last very long.

The Economist (Reino Unido)

 


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23/11/2008|
23/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
22/08/2008|
22/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
24/05/2008|
24/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
29/04/2008|
11/02/2008|
05/01/2008|
09/12/2007|
18/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/09/2007|
26/08/2007|
25/08/2007|
11/07/2007|
16/06/2007|
16/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
24/04/2007|
24/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
28/02/2007|
28/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
17/11/2006|
30/09/2006|
28/07/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
06/03/2006|
21/02/2006|
17/02/2006|
31/01/2006|
10/01/2006|
28/12/2005|
31/10/2005|
26/09/2005|
29/08/2005|
11/08/2005|
08/08/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|

ver + notas
 
Center for the Study of the Presidency
Freedom House