A newly-begun journey, an already-written script, and the “unexpected”

La Stampa / Vatican Insider

January 15, 2018

By Gianni Valente

The chaos of the Latin American scenarios alone is enough to make the framework – that reads Bergoglio’s international projections with the same formulas used in the reading of Karol Wojtyla’s pontificate – appear misleading. The icon of “Superstar Pope “ is now used by those who want to polarize attention on him, by separating him from the Church, to then rattle off his “failures”. It wouldn’t take much, however to get rid of this pre-established “script”.

On the eve of Pope Francis’ journey to Chile and Peru, tensions, discontents and even violent acts unleash on the umpteenth apostolic visit of the Bishop of Rome to his home continent. As the media is warming up its engines to present the Latin American trip as a kind of “gripping test” of Bergoglio’s pontificate.

Burning parishes in the name of alleged indigenous causes, and a beat-down Church after years of sexual abuse perpetrated by religious, priests, and high-profile exponents from the local clergy are awaiting the Pope in Chile. While in Peru, a Society of Apostolic Life of Peruvian origin, which in the past had enjoyed good ties within the Vatican, was just put under the administration of an external commissioner by the Holy See, following some serious accusations of sexual abuses involving their leadership.

Furthermore, Francis’ next landings in Chile and Peru have stirred up controversy in his own country of origin. On the Argentinean social media, there are those posting a flurry of resentful comments on the “traitor Pope”, who, almost five years after his pontifical election, has avoided returning to his homeland despite having visited almost all the great countries of South America. And while tens of thousands of compatriots travel to Santiago to see Bergoglio, the Argentine bishops implicitly confirm the excessive conflict surrounding their illustrious compatriot, by spreading a letter in which they remind that: “No one spoke or can speak on behalf of the Pope” and that” his contribution to the reality of our country must be found in his abundant teaching and his attitudes as pastor, not in tendentious and partial interpretations that only widen the division between Argentineans”.

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