The Personalist Project

Accessed on September 26, 2023 - 4:54:39

How does the Pope see the problem?

Katie van Schaijik, Nov 06, 2017

Austen Invereigh, author of The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, has an article on Crux today about a just-published interview with Pope Francis by an Argentine correspondent. 

The interview was to mark the tenth anniversary of the milestone meeting of the Latin-American bishops in Aparecida, Brazil, for the so-called “Fifth Conference” of the Church’s continental body CELAM. 

It was Jorge Bergoglio's leadership at that milestone meeting, some say, that drew the attention of the Cardinal electors to his papal potential. It's not surprising, then, that his reflections on that event would throw light on his papacy.

One section in particular catches my eye, and lifts my heart.

Asked where the Church in Latin America has made least progress since Aparecida, Francis says: “pastoral conversion. It’s still very much halfway there.”

(“Pastoral conversion” is a key term in Aparecida, and for the Francis papacy. It refers to a move from maintenance to mission, and a pastoral focus on concrete people and their needs rather than taking refuge in abstraction and legalism.)

Asked why, he blames clericalism, telling Reyes that it remains pervasive in Latin America, where the lay vocation “has to be rediscovered and developed and given its proper weight” in the Church.

Yes! That's what I see too! And not only in Latin America, but throughout the Church.

I still hope to manage a follow up post to my long article on Confirmation. My intuition tells me that these things are related—Vatican II, the turn toward subjectivity, the lay vocation, the sacrament of Confirmation, and the move from maintenance to mission. And personalism is the key to them all.