Letter from Rome

Five years of Pope Francis and the principle of reform
Letter from Rome

Pope Francis speaks during a meeting with the St. Egidio charity to mark the 50th Anniversary of its foundation on March 11at Santa Maria in Trastevere basilica in Rome. (Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP)

"The Lord is not being slow in carrying out his promises, as some people think he is; rather is he being patient with you, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to repentance" (2 Pt 3: 8-9).

So says the epistle attributed (though probably incorrectly) to the church's first "pope."

And this passage immediately came to mind while pondering how to evaluate the pontificate of Pope Francis, the 265th Successor of St. Peter. It seemed pertinent as he marks the fifth anniversary as bishop of Rome, especially in light of accusations that he has been slow to make the sweeping reforms many had expected after his election to the papacy.

Dare we say that, with the first Latin American and only Jesuit to ever sit on the Chair of Peter, five years are like a day? Some impatient Catholics might be tempted to think so, but only because they still fail to understand the type of reform the pope is trying to bring about in the church and even in the wider world.

Certain sectors of Catholicism — including many of the cardinals that elected Jorge Mario Bergoglio on March 13, 2013 — continue to believe the Argentine pope's main locus for reform is the Vatican and the Roman Curia. And, naturally, they are disappointed that he's done relatively little to actually change the church's bureaucratic center in any significant structural or juridical ways. 

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