"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hugh Hewitt and the New Pope

Hugh Hewitt has been doing yeoman's work at his blog and on his radio show covering the papal conclave and the hopes of Catholics for the new Pope.   He has probably a half dozen interviews up in the past two days with Catholic priests talking about the new Pope.   It's all fascinating, and the type of thing that the media can do, but usually doesn't (particularly in the so-called mainstream).  

Here's an excerpt from his interview with Father Fessio of the Ignatius Press about Pope Francis' task in reforming the Curia:

HH: Do you expect him to move quickly to make new appointments in the Roman Curia?
JF: Hugh, I’m going to break some news for you on the air, okay?
HH: Okay.
JF: I am going to talk about two things. I had a conversation this morning with a good friend of mine, a classmate of mine under Ratzinger, who happens to be a cardinal that was in the conclave. He told me two things. He said first of all, as soon as he was elected, Francis, Bergoglio, when all the cardinals came to congratulate him and offer their obedience, he went around to the back of the room, because there was a cardinal there in a wheelchair, and he wanted to greet him first. Just a little touch, but a sign of his human side.
HH: Sure.
JF: But secondly, my friend told me the cardinals wanted someone who would reform the Curia, and they said Bergoglio will do it within a year.
HH: And by reforming the Curia, explain to an audience that does not follow the Vatican, what does that mean?
JF: Ah, excellent question, Hugh. Now there’s been a lot of talk in the media before the election, the Roman Curia is dysfunctional. Curia means court, you know, in Latin, but basically it’s all the different offices around the Holy Father, for doctrine, for worship, for bishops, for priests, those sorts of things, and the secretary of state, which handles all kinds of materials, especially relations with other governments, and the Vatican bank. Now I make a distinction. I think there are many fine people that work in those Curial offices, and there are several of those what they call dicasteries, or departments, so to speak, which are doing wonderful work. For example, the Congregation for Bishops, which here in California, we have seen in the last two or three years, has appointed extraordinary bishops.
HH: Yes.
JF: But there’s been some dysfunction, it seems to me, in parts of the Curia where the Pope isn’t running the show. It’s sort of all these subordinates who are doing their own thing, and kind of going around the Pope. So one of the theories about Benedict retiring was not just that he was weak, because he was, he was frail. But he saw that under John Paul II, when John Paul II was not as strong as he had been in his younger years, that these bureaucratic subordinates were taking the reins into their own hands. And Benedict did not want that to happen. So basically, I think we’re going to have a better functioning set of supporting administrators with the Holy Father.

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