We should all avoid stereotypes. The Holy See was placed in such an embarrassing position earlier this week over a leaked private email from His Holiness in which he had used the phrase 'avoid the Mexification'. Poor old Fr Lombardi had to again, 'clarify', the Vatican Information Service had to issue an explanation and an assurance that no-one on earth was more loved by the Holy Father more than Mexicans, which suggests the Secretary of State had to do a great deal to soothe ruffled feathers behind the scenes. It is all very reminiscent of Vatileaks at the end of the last Pontificate.
Just as one should avoid 'Mexification', so one should avoid 'Argentinianisation' or 'Latin-Americanisation' but this last week or so seems to have been a rather dramatic gear change, rather unpleasant things seem to have hatched out of the mud. The latest, Card. Baldisseri ordering the interception or theft and destruction of 'Remaining in the Truth', the book by five of his fellow Cardinals, which was sent Synod members. He had the rather limp excuse of protecting the Synod participants from 'confusion', yet as Matt Archbold reminds us the Pope had demanded 'parrhesia' open speech from Synod members.
"Let us invoke openness to a sincere, open and fraternal exchange of views, that it might lead us to take pastoral responsibility for the questions that this changing time brings with it." — Pope Francis on the Synod.Then there was the curious case of Fr Rossica, Fr Lombardi's assistant, someone close to the Pope, who has been threatening an obscure Canadian pensioner blogger for reporting his involvement in manipulating the Synod, coupled with Fr Volpi's reneging on an arbitration agreement with the family of Fr Manelli the founder of the Franciscans of Immaculate, there seems to be strong sense of bullying, of the total opposite of what His Holiness really wants: mercy. All of this takes place against a background of accusations of 'dissident' leveled against those who are against changing the teaching of the Church, this of course gives rise to actions like the rather unpleasant twitter of Fr Scott, Fr Rossica's confrere. And in Rome, as Alessanro Magister suggests there is open season on kangaroos, there are increasingly vicious attacks on Cardinal Pell.
"Let no one say, 'This can't be said, they will think this or that about me.' Everything we feel must be said, with parrhesia," a Greek word meaning to speak candidly or boldly, and without fear. — Pope Francis on the Synod.
"... a cardinal wrote to me saying that it was a pity that some cardinals did not have the courage to say certain things out of respect for the pope, thinking perhaps that the pope thought differently. This is not good -- it is not synodality, because it is necessary to say everything that in the Lord we feel must be said: without human respect, without timidness." — Pope Francis on the Synod.
"I was the rapporteur of the 2001 synod and there was a cardinal who told us what should be discussed and what should not," the Pope told La Nacion, an Argentine newspaper. "That will not happen now." Francis is not afraid of discussion and disagreement." — Pope Francis on the Synod.
"And, at the same time, we must listen with humility and accept with an open heart all that our brothers say." — Pope Francis on the Synod.
Though one would want to avoid words like 'Argentinianisation' or 'Latin-Americanisation', that seems to be what we are steadily paddling towards. The methods of President Kirchner or the Perons seem to have an echo in the Vatican. There is an unpleasant ruthlessness in those are around the Pope and even his allies elsewhere. I was rather shocked by an article by Cardinal Wuerl, obviously directed against Cardinal Burke, but not engaging in theology or ideas but simply an attack on him personally, and calling those who did not agree with a change in Church teaching, "dissenters".