Last March 13 was the ninth anniversary of the election of Pope Francis. The moment Pope Francis came out of the lodge of Blessings and spoke his first words as Pope, a pontificate began that promised a lot and aroused many hopes. Now that we enter the tenth year of the pontificate, what are the promises that have been kept? And what will the legacy of Pope Francis be?
In his first speech, Pope Francis stressed that he wanted to begin a journey “bishop and people, people and bishop.” From the very beginning, Pope Francis wanted to mark his pontificate on the theme of the outgoing Church, which had also characterized his speech to the general congregations. And in those words, one could already find a push towards synodality, which led him to convene two special synods and celebrate two more ordinary ones, and finally to convene a synod on synodality with the idea of involving all the people of God.
Hailed by many as something new and needed.
How, however, has this thrust on synodality become something concrete? Pope Francis’ style of government has always been that of one man in command. The Pope took unpopular decisions, against any obstinate and contrary advice, as in the case of the abolition of the liberalization of the antiquor [older] celebration of the Mass. After all, many had advised him against issuing the Traditionis Custodes as it was written, because it was quickly considered an act of war by some traditionalist groups. More than uniting, he would divide. But Pope Francis, like it or not, is divisive. He was so in Argentina, as provincial of the Jesuits, and also as archbishop of Buenos Aires, and he is even more so as Pope. Synodality should bring more participation. At the moment, however, it has brought more debate and disunity.
In short, like Wall Street at the crash, he laid an egg.