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Let us hope that the New Pope will be able to bring light to the Indian Church which is more business and profit oriented than SPIRIT oriented mission.



The new name, “Francis I”, Pope chose for himself gives hope of a new era in the history of the Catholic Church. It is said that he wanted to give importance to the vision of St. Francis of Assisi, the only saint to be called the ‘second Christ’ and the missionary zeal of the great missionary St. Francis Xavier. Whatever may be the fact, it is important to note that may be announcing an ‘Arabian Spring’ in the Church after 1300 years of European leadership; the Latin American Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected the Pope to lead the Catholic Church. Just like most part of the world the South American continent is more focused on poverty and the rise of evangelical churches than questions of materialism and sexual abuse, which dominate in the West as of now. 

 

 An Italian theologian Massimo Faggioli said that they have chose a man with long pastoral experience, rather than an academic or Vatican insider. They believe that this pope will be more aware of what life is all about.  He was born into a middle class family of seven, his father an Italian immigrant railway worker and his mother a housewife. According to his official biographer, Sergio Rubin, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio is known as a humble man, he denied himself the luxuries that previous Buenos Aires cardinals enjoyed. He often rode the bus to work, cooked his own meals and regularly visited the slums that ring Argentina’s capital. He considers social outreach, rather than doctrinal battles, to be the essential business of the church.

 

In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, Cardinal Bergoglio has also shown a keen political sensibility.   There are many Argentineans who are angry over the Church’s silence to violence and murders carried out by the regime against thousands who fought for freedom and Human rights. It is said that in two cases he has been directly included for supporting the victims. Under Cardinal Bergoglio’s leadership, Argentina’s bishops issued a collective apology in October 2012 for the church’s failures to protect its flock. But the statement also blamed the era’s violence in roughly equal measure on both the junta and its enemies. He has a reputation as someone willing to challenge powerful interests and has had a sometimes difficult relationship with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez and her late husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner.

 

Displaying his conservative orthodoxy, he has spoken out strongly against gay marriage, denouncing it, he called it as "an attempt to destroy God's plan," He is expected to pursue the uncompromising moral teachings of Benedict and John Paul II. In 2012 he took courage to speak openly in his speech about the hypocrisy of his fellow church officials. He said that ‘they forget Jesus Christ bathed lepers and ate with prostitutes.’ In spite of all his boldness, his humility was clear when soon after his election the Cardinals and other Vatican officials trying to complete the customary greetings, the Pope elect said, ''May be we should go to the balcony first," to greet the faithful. Before blessing the faithful in-front of the Vatican square he urged the cheering crowd, "I ask a favour of you ... pray for me," bent his head in silence.

 

Let us hope that the New Pope will be able to bring light to the Indian Church which is more business and profit oriented than SPIRIT oriented mission. Day by day the spiritual leadership of the Church is becoming unpopular with sole projection of one man leadership, suppression of leadership of the laity, clergy and nuns, lacking financial transparency, autocratic style of functioning, creating fear in faithful about objecting the Church officials even for just reasons, deciding Church matters according to the whims and fancies rather than faith and reason. If the Church does not open up itself to the reality of shared transparent leadership at all levels, in the near future it will turn into a Church of registers in the Parishes.

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