continue at Whispers
As the Pope continues his deliberate process of flushing and reconstituting the dicasteries of the Curia, Roman Noon this Thursday brought another notable development as Francis named the voice behind the quote above – Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia – as a member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
After all the hysteria in some quarters these last months, the sudden case of crickets is rather amusing. Just a few weeks ago, see, Francis' remaking of the dicasteries was apparently a matter of widespread, intense interest.
To be clear, this isn't to say that Laity is Bishops. Especially given the prevalent framing out there of late, though, it ain't Bupkus, either.
After nearly two decades on the national stage, the move gives the 69 year-old Capuchin his first seat at a Curial table... as well as the only prelate's slot given to a non-cardinal in today's nods. As background goes, there is a history – the then-archbishops of Denver and Buenos Aires became friendly at the 1997 Synod for America, where Chaput's intervention struck a nerve with the future Pope. (During the October reunion seen above, Francis is said to have warmly recalled the talk yet again.)
Well, appointing +Chaput to Bishops and replacing +Burke, nobody would have batted an eye. I don't think this has anything to do with who is "conservative" or not, but who is "traditional" or not. No I'm not saying +Chaput isn't tradition friendly either, but he can't affect liturgy where he has been put.
Thomas Peters has thoughts too, I don't really agree that this is a shocker, or that Francis doesn't have a different focus than Benedict. Trying to sell Francis as a "conservative" or "liberal" doesn't really mean much. Thomas Peters thinks Francis is a conservative, Thomas Reece thinks he's a liberal. Enforcing existing Church Law and support of traditional liturgies and religious orders doesn't fit the Coke vs Pepsi dialogue.
I think a fair assessment of Pope Francis from his moves would be that he doesn't think enforcement of say Canon 915 is required or perhaps that he thinks that Canon Law is at times opposed to pastoral care of Christians(we know that Cardinal Wuerl does think as such). He also prefers a "simple" liturgy, and does not like or participate in many of the papal liturgical customs. I don't think he will revoke Summorum Pontificum, but I'm sure he'd like to get to a point where it is no longer necessary. How to get to that point is unclear, but perhaps that's why he's selected the men he has to recommend the bishops of the next generation. Why we don't just get some kind of "Traditional Latin" rite similar to say a Byzantine rite, and keep the Novus Ordo as some "Universal" rite, I'm not sure. Most people think that's a bad idea for one reason or the other.