Austen Ivereigh’s “The Great Reformer” on Pope Francis

I’m reading it now and finding it most informative and interesting.  It puts Pope Francis in context, giving some great background on Argentine history and politics. Ivereigh is a good writer and this is not a hagiography even though he has a favorable opinion about the Holy Father.  There is much to admire in Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s life and example and it helps make some of his exhortations more understandable and spiritually challenging in a good way.

I have also been following the controversy this book as engendered.

John Allen Jr. deals with it in the latest All Things Catholic at Cruxnow:

British writer and veteran Catholic professional Austen Ivereigh has a terrific new book out called The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope. Among other things, he’s masterful in explaining how navigating the ideologically charged period of Argentina’s “Dirty War” prepared the pontiff to try to hold a divided Church together.

Predictably, that’s not the part making headlines.

Instead, it’s Ivereigh’s claim that several moderate-to-liberal European cardinals constituted “Team Bergoglio” (referring to the pope’s given name) in the March 2013 papal election, pushing his candidacy forward. Some readers also took Ivereigh to mean they solicited Bergoglio’s prior agreement to serve.

 

The site that has been spearheading the questioning of the conclave is From Rome, if you want to look at the arguments on why the blogger thinks the canvassing for Pope Francis violated canon law.

Damian Thompson had written about this in a recent column for The Spectator.

I am not suggesting that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor was in breach of that constitution. But Ivereigh’s account cries out for misinterpretation, shall we say.

Also, his claim that Murphy-O’Connor ‘teamed up’ with Cardinal Kasper to secure Francis’s election will be seized on by conservative Catholics who are still wondering why so divisive a figure as Kasper was allowed to set the agenda for the Synod on the Family last month.

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One Response to Austen Ivereigh’s “The Great Reformer” on Pope Francis

  1. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    From the last quotation in your post: Also, his claim that Murphy-O’Connor ‘teamed up’ with Cardinal Kasper to secure Francis’s election will be seized on by conservative Catholics who are still wondering why so divisive a figure as Kasper was allowed to set the agenda for the Synod on the Family last month.

    This is awfully naïve. Only the pope can set the agenda for a synod.

    However, the pope usually solicits inputs from many bishops when setting the agenda for such a meeting, and all of the cardinals of the curia have considerable direct input in the process. When heads of dicasteries propose issues as significant and even problematic, those issues usually make it into the agenda. There’s no doubt that the disparity between Catholic discipline and Orthodox discipline with respect to those who divorce under secular law and attempt marriage again has profound consequences for ecumenism, which is the charter of Cardinal Kasper’s (now former) dicastery. Thus, it’s no surprise that he would push for consideration of that issue by the Synod.

    The more curious issues are those pertaining to homosexual unions and the appropriate pastoral response thereto. It appears to me that the pastoral letter Homosexualitatis problema covers that subject pretty comprehensively, so I really don’t see a need to rehash that subject. In any case, those issues would not have arisen from Cardinal Kasper’s dicastery — but I also have not seen any indication that he was the impetus for their presence on the agenda. We need to be clear that homosexual unions are not related to the problem of another attempt at marriage after a secular divorce.

    Norm.

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