Vatican City. According to
countryaah, Pope Francis's three guiding stars - mercy,
the global role of the church and ecumenism - were
manifested in action in 2016, the year the Pope had
previously declared a holy year in the sign of mercy. The
global role of the Church has been highlighted through the
Pope's involvement in the war in Syria and also reflected in
this year's cardinal appointments.
We saw the ecumenical engagement in Sweden when Pope
visited Lund at the end of October to celebrate the 500th
anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. It became a
historical moment in Lund's cathedral when the ecumenically
minded pope and the chairman of the Lutheran World
Federation signed pledges of cooperation and friendship in a
Later in the fall, the Pope also put his word behind the
Catholic Church's role in world politics as he named new
cardinals from countries that the Pope himself calls "the
Church's peripheries," small, remote states with few
Catholics such as Mauritius, New Guinea and Malaysia.
Even in cases where the pope chooses to appoint Italians
as cardinals, he often finds his favorites far from
traditional places of recruitment, such as the big cities'
archbishop's seats. The same happened at the 2016
appointments when the Vatican's diplomat in Syria, Mario
Zenari, was elevated to cardinal for his almost ten-year
deed in the war-torn country. It is not common for cardinals
to be picked up by the nunties, the Catholic Church
Pope Francis's involvement in world politics has his
focus on countries at war and on the victims of the war and
coincides with a view where he has resembled the church at a
field hospital that is supposed to work among the people.
Francis' strong emphasis on compassion has in some cases led
to misunderstandings, where the Pope, in the sign of mercy,
may have seemed to deviate from the Catholic Church's proper
teaching. This applies, for example, to the pope's decision
to extend the right he gave priests to give to women who
have done the forgiveness of sins during the holy year.
However, the Pope's gesture of pity does not mean that he
has weighted one inch from the Church's tenet that abortion
is a serious sin.
The conservative establishment of the Catholic Church has
nothing to worry about as far as the Pope's doctrinal
cleanliness is concerned. However, he has caused great
concern in the papal administration, the Curia. When Jorge
Mario Bergoglio was elected pope in March 2013, the Vatican
was shaken by corruption scandals, and the new pope's first
task was to clean up the morass. A year after taking office,
an action plan on the table was devoted to ending corruption
and money laundering within the church's financial system.
The reforms that the Pope has so far carried out are
considered so pervasive that the backward forces in the
Vatican's government that thought they could bid their time
may have already lost the game.