Pope Francis celebrates 10 years of pontificate with cardinals and podcast

Pope Francis celebrates 10 years of pontificate with cardinals and podcast

The Argentinian Jesuit Jorge Bergoglio became on March 13, 2013 the 266th pope, head of the Roman Catholic Church, succeeding the German Benedict XVI, the first pope to resign since the Middle Ages.

Inheriting a Church in decline, the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires gradually turned it towards the world while defending Catholic doctrine on the marriage of priests, abortion or homosexuality. A severe critic of neoliberalism, imperialism and military confrontation, the Argentine pope has moved the cursor towards social justice, ecology or the tireless defense of migrants fleeing war and economic misery.

First South American sovereign pontiff, he regularly slays authoritarian excesses and attacks against the Church, including on his home continent. Last attack in order, François described Friday as a "rude dictatorship" the regime of President Daniel Ortega, in an interview with the Argentine daily Infobae.

“With all due respect, I have no choice but to think that this leader suffers from an imbalance,” said the pope who said in February he was “concerned” after the 26-year prison sentence. of Bishop Rolando Alvarez and the expulsion of 222 opponents to the United States.

The government of Managua immediately responded. "A suspension of diplomatic relations is envisaged between the Vatican State and the Republic of Nicaragua," the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

In the numerous interviews granted on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of his pontificate, the pope also returned to the conflict in Ukraine.

Asked by Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano what he wanted for the future, he replied:

"Peace. Peace for martyred Ukraine and for all the other countries which suffer the horror of war which is always a failure for all".

"We need peace," he insisted again in the Vatican News podcast, called "popecast". "What is a podcast?" the Argentine pope first asked, before continuing once obtained the explanation "well, let's do it".

This Bergoglian decade also saw the development of inter-religious dialogue, particularly with Islam. The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, a high Sunni authority, thus sent his wishes to François on Monday for this anniversary. The imam of the prestigious mosque in Cairo salutes the efforts of the pope "to build bridges of love and fraternity" in the world.

Messages of congratulations also came from the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew, the most prestigious dignitary of the Orthodox Churches, and the head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Justin Welby.

"He is a pope of this time. He knew how to grasp the needs of today and propose them to the whole of the universal Church and it is a beautiful intuition that he had, enlightened by the holy spirit. And now he is giving the Church momentum for the times to come. He is sowing good for the future," Don Roberto, a priest who came to the Vatican on Sunday to mark the tenth anniversary of pontificate of Francis.

But his sustained efforts to get closer to Orthodoxy have been overtaken by current events and the historic meeting of 2016 with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, support of Moscow, seems more distant than ever.

Faced with the drama of pedocrime in the Church, one of its most painful challenges, he lifted the pontifical secret and obliged religious to report cases to their hierarchy. But the victims' associations expect even more.

And what does he wish for himself?

“May the Lord be merciful to me. Being pope is not an easy job. It is not possible to study to do this job”

At 86, his fragile health forces him to move around in a wheelchair and he did not rule out a possible resignation, like his predecessor Benedict XVI, while assuring last month that a renunciation was "not on his agenda. For now".

The editorial staff (with AFP)

Image credit: CreativeCommons / Wikimedia


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