Palm Sunday and the spiritual logic for Francis’s sound of silence

Crux | 4/20/2019 | Staff
leeann77 (Posted by) Level 3
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ROME - For the past six years, it’s been a hallmark of Pope Francis’s leadership style not to engage criticism, at least not in any direct or public fashion, especially when he regards it as reflecting mixed motives.

Shortly after his papacy began, Francis was hit with a mini-scandal fueled by veteran Italian journalist Sandro Magister pivoting on the new pope’s choice of Monsignor Gianbattista Ricca as his delegate to the so-called “Vatican bank.” Magister produced records showing that Ricca had been involved in dubious personal scandals while serving as a papal diplomat in Uruguay, yet Francis never responded and also never removed Ricca.

Pattern - Cardinals - Prelates - Questions - Exhortation

The same pattern famously applies to the “dubia cardinals,” meaning the four senior prelates who presented critical questions to Francis about his 2016 apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, and to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who made the sensational accusation last year that Francis was aware of sexual misconduct allegations against ex-cardinal and ex-priest Theodore McCarrick and yet failed to act.

In all those cases, Francis has maintained a steady and unwavering silence - in the case of Viganò, actually daring journalists to follow the story and see where it leads.

Admirers - Francis - Silence - Steadfastness - Leader

For admirers of Francis, this silence is generally styled as the steadfastness of a determined leader who refuses to allow himself to be drawn into sparring matches with figures who, in their eyes, are using whatever the specific accusation may be to advance an ideological agenda of sabotaging a pontiff they simply don’t like.

Critics, on the other hand, typically style Francis’s refusal to respond to such questions as the arrogance of a leader who doesn’t regard himself as accountable to anyone, and who doesn’t want to subject the basis for his decisions to critique.

Perspectives - Merit

Frankly, both of those perspectives probably have some merit.

There’s no question that in all three of the cases...
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