Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"In the Name of Francis, Get Up and Walk" – On Pope's Anniversary, The Nuncio's Message

A year into the new Franciscan Rule, perhaps no figure symbolically reflects the change of ecclesiastical seasons more than Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.

Thirty months since being exiled to Washington after his outrage over fiscal mismanagement and corruption in Vatican City's government became too much for the Curia's Old Guard, what had been seen as the 73 year-old Italian's "punishment" has suddenly birthed a new springtime. Among the US bishops and most of the rest of the Stateside scene, Viganò's delicate effectiveness has made him the most universally well-regarded holder of the DC posting in some three decades, while in Rome, he's reportedly forged a keen bond with the Pope his criticisms helped create.

Even before the last Conclave, the Nuncio's return in triumph under a reformist Pope was advanced as a sign that the new pontiff "means business." As the move hasn't happened to date, its absence can likely be chalked up to Francis' reluctance to antagonize the natives too much too quickly by making the ultimate bomb-drop on the Establishment he inherited. Accordingly, a fresh round of chatter over recent weeks has indicated that its coming could finally be at hand.

In any case, having made an impassioned call for the bishops to follow Francis at the November meeting – a stemwinder that served even to upstage Cardinal Timothy Dolan's farewell address from the USCCB presidency – at the close of Sunday's National Mass of Thanksgiving for the Pope's anniversary in the capital's Basilica-Shrine, Viganò launched another high-octane reflection, by turns both potent and poignant, on Papa Bergoglio and his mission....