Pope Francis celebrated Mass in Coena Domini on Holy Thursday in the women’s sector of the Rebibbia prison. It was a Mass of a certain solemnity, testifying to a fact that should not be underestimated: Pope Francis gives much importance to solemnity of liturgical form when he is with the marginalized, the poor, and the least, and much less importance when it involves carrying out institutional acts.

In the last week, Pope Francis has shown his renewed vigor in every way. After not having delivered the sermon of the Palm Sunday Mass – but he was probably just tired at that moment because he instead read the entire Angelus catechesis that same day – the Pope showed up on Holy Thursday without a cane and a chair.

He was on wheels at the general audience on Wednesday, personally reading the text that he had been giving others to read in recent weeks. . On Holy Thursday, he read the entire homily of the Chrism Mass. Then there was the Mass in the women’s prison, among the very few in 11 years of the pontificate to be broadcast entirely live.

If one wants to be cynical, one should think that the Pope is doing everything to ward off any possible suspicion of a debilitating or, in any case, persistent illness. He is not a Pope who lets go, that’s for sure, and this is also demonstrated by the fact that he is thinking of a long trip to Asia for the beginning of September—about ten days, touching Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, East Timor, Singapore, and maybe even Vietnam.

However, Pope Francis is not only demonstrating to his detractors that he wants to remain in the saddle until the end and that his health is better than one would like to believe. Pope Francis is carrying out a political act that aligns with his entire pontificate.

Pope Francis is saying, in thoughts, words, and deeds but without omissions, that the Church he refers to is the Church of the people, not that of the Curia or the institutions. When he talks about the outgoing Church, he says precisely that. And when he says that the cardinals requested his government program, he refers to the fact that his speech on the outgoing Church – then released, in a not entirely ritual manner, but permitted by the Pope himself – had been much applauded and appreciated.

Pope Francis’ reasoning is linear: if the cardinals appreciated that speech, they could not fail to appreciate how he works to arrive at that idea of an outgoing Church.

It is the first time we find ourselves in front of a South American and Jesuit Pope. Many of his codes are yet to be deciphered and understood, and they may mean differently from what is commonly thought when analyzing the Church.

Pope Francis comes from the global South and speaks to the global South. He comes from a hemisphere that feels exploited and vilified by the Western world. A Western world – among other things – which fuels wars for its profit and cannot make peace.

For this reason, Pope Francis cannot read the war in Ukraine in any other way than with the need to put an end to the war itself, whatever the cost. The reasons for one or the other are irrelevant because they are merely considered part of a proxy war in which two superpowers clash.

Between the United States and Russia, Pope Francis looks at Russia with more sympathy. In a certain sense, the cultural question is because Russia is considered a cultural cradle, even more so in a world firmly steeped in socialism, such as the global South. However, it is also a personal question because the United States is perceived as a hidden colonizer that exercised influence on governments to the point of exasperation.

Only if you look at this problematic relationship with the United States and the US mentality—never fully understood by Pope Francis—can you know why Pope Francis looked to Russia as his first interlocutor even when Russia attacked Ukraine. We can talk more with Russia than with the United States or their allies; this is Pope Francis’s mentality.

Adding all these reasons, it is easy to see how Pope Francis believes in personal reconciliation first, and he wants people to reconcile by forcing their rulers to make peace. From this idea of reconciliation comes the choice to have a Russian and a Ukrainian woman carry the cross during the Via Crucis at the Colosseum in 2022, almost an imposition of forgiveness for the Ukrainians, who protested strongly. The same idea of reconciliation led to collecting a series of scattered testimonies on the war for the 2023 Via Crucis Meditations at the Colosseum—a way to avoid protests and avoid the obstacle of possible protests and controversies.

Pope Francis decided to write everything this year, and the texts only arrived at the last moment. This is not, even in this case, anything new. Pope Francis does not like criticism and controversy and prefers to put everyone in front of a fait accompli when he has made his own decisions. There is no going back from them.

It is an attitude that involves the second part of Pope Francis’ exceptional nature: South American and, above all, Argentine. Because the Pope lived under the Argentine dictatorship, and he knows that it can always return, the necessary vigilance is not carried out.

In short, what is Pope Francis’ outgoing Church?

It is the Church on the front line, in solidarity, which is not afraid to take the side of the poor. Institutions must also adapt to make this vision of the world concrete.

Pope Francis’s an outgoing Church that is not afraid to apply its point of view to decisions. Indeed, decisions are centralized despite a significant campaign in recent years that has talked about decentralization and synodality.

However, Pope Francis took the situation into his own hands, which went beyond the independence or subsidiarity guaranteed to each Church. Pope Francis decides when he wants to eliminate harsh opposition or when there is harmony to the point that no one questions his choice.

This is the outgoing Church of Pope Francis, and it must be remembered every time the Pope announces new decisions.


10 Responses to Pope Francis and his outgoing Church

  1. Australia scrive:

    Perhaps you can research and write about other matters of interest at the Vatican. This reader for one is heartily sick of weekly variations on the theme “Pope Francis”.

  2. Denise Church scrive:

    As a United States catholic, it would be Christian of the Pope to make an extra effort to understand his American catholic. We are different, and if he made more of an effort, instead of ignorantly passing judgment on us. After all in his words, “Who am I to judge.”

    • Karin Carstens scrive:

      So the Pope claims that peace outweighs the consequences. To make peace for instance in the Ukraines would be to once again embrace communism.
      How does he think about Israel? Should it become extinct as the Arab world intends? In reading the article I haven’t found a response to the pressing crisis in Israel. The free world of the West with its original constitution is based on freedom, not a slave mentality of socialism that suppresses individual expression.

  3. Perhaps, an additional ingredient to the pottage would be the religious-Jesuit mentality of the “general” of the congregation, applied to the Church of Christ: I am the big honcho here, what I say has to be done, suggestions are nuisances; thus, shut up, dwarfs, you know nothing.

  4. José Denis scrive:

    One could simplify writing about Pope Francis by saying:
    Catholic? No!
    Communist? Yes!

  5. Sandra Bach scrive:

    I am an American Catholic who is exceedingly grateful to Pope Francis for his emphasis on an outgoing church that loves the poor. That is where you find Christ, as Mother Theresa did. Christ told us clearly how we will be judged, caring for others, not judging them. Pope Francis has the heart ❤️ of Jesus. The American Church is no longer Christian, it is self-centered. The opposite of Jesus Christ. Dear Pope Francis thank you for your immense courage in fighting the insidious sin of self-centeredness in our world and the American Catholic Church.

    • stlonginus scrive:

      Mother Teresa never converted a single person to the Faith, but she was good at handing out meals. God only knows who paid for them thinking she was trying to convert anyone. The American Church is on life support because it has become just another ‘self centered’ protestant sect, and God knows there are already too many of them. I don’t know which Pope you’re thinking about when praising this one given he has done nothing other than demonstrate his narcissism from the moment he pulled that stunt of paying his hotel bill the day after his election. Talk about disrespecting the monarchical office. And no one has the ‘heart of Jesus’. That’s the typical drivel spun out by new-ager ‘catholics’. It’s no wonder the Church is disintegrating.

  6. Floyd Jares scrive:

    After reading the above article, it says more about how he values a socialist society that “appears” to seak out the poor/forgotten. Yet he closes his eyes and mind to the evils of such a political system. He silences opposition just like a dictator, ” my way or the highway”! He’s filled his inner circle with the very liberalism he shuns as sinful, while disposing of conservatives who call out these evils, such as the abortionist/sexually immorality of Joe Biden’s death sentencing pen!,who he then blesses and calls a good Catholic!!! All the while staying silent on “real” heresies like the long going on Halloween and Pride themed Masses here in the States, who’s leadership that allow these evils are as well in his Vatican circle, such as Cardinals Cupich of Chicago and Fernadez formerly of California and author of Fiducia Suplicans, and then the following attempted script: F.S.2.0,,to quiet the backlash, that was worse than its predecessor document! This same Fernandez also tried to distance himself from the 2 highly suspicious books he penned when as a priest in California. Then there’s the Fr. James Martin of California (see a connection here),who has written stating that he wants Catholic Doctrine changed to allow the LGBT lifestyle as OK, AND who now sits on the Vatican Council appointed by none other than Pope Francis!Seemingly when Jesus always stated in Scripture: “to go and sin no more”, is no longer a valid part of our Catholic teaching according to the “Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith” and given all of the Pope’s blessings to March forward!!!

    • Joey Healey scrive:

      Fr James Martin SJ is based in New York not California. Sandra Bach, I would be very interested in knowing which parish you attend. Parish life in America still feeds the poor, helps the weak and homeless. As the Pope says, we are not called to be social workers

    • stlonginus scrive:

      Francis cannot change nearly 2,000 years of doctrine/magisterium no matter what is ghost written for him and no matter what he says in an interview. What Jesus stated stands regardless of men who speak/write without the benefit of infallibility, aka speaking “from the chair of Peter.”

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