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Letter from Rome: A time for every matter under heaven

Despite Pope Francis' best efforts to renew the Church, perhaps now is just not the time for real reform

Letter from Rome: A time for every matter under heaven

The tomb of Pope Adrian VI at Santa Maria dell'Anima, Rome. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven," says Qoheleth.

But what is this present time in which the Catholic Church is living? Specifically, what sort of time is this for the papacy and the Church's central bureaucracy, the Roman Curia?

It is an important question because, while the community of believers cannot be identified solely with a tiny enclave in the center of the Eternal City, the Vatican is still a vital part of what happens in the institutional Church around the world.

When Pope Francis was elected in 2013, it seemed like the Church was returning to a time of normalcy — "a time to embrace", to use Qoheleth's categories, or re-embrace a Catholicism that had the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) as its compass rather than one that was retreating to the anachronistic model shaped by the 16th-century Council of Trent.

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