by EFE (English translation by Rebel Girl, with additional material from O Globo)
March 15, 2013
Pedro Casaldaliga's voice is always listened to respectfully and attentively. A person who is critical of the power accumulated by the Vatican, the Catalan priest yesterday offered his reflections on the new pontiff. "The first impression is good," he asserted in some statements to TV3. Casaldaliga also referred to the choice of Francis as a name. "Francis is more than a name, it's a program of life, of ministry, that matches a simple life that he leads." He also referred to the profile of the new pope, a native of Argentina: "He's conservative but, pastorally, he's advanced. Now we'll have to see how he'll be able to transform the Curia, which advisers he'll choose, which secretaries." Just as he spoke about Jorge Maria Bergoglio yesterday, Casaldaliga also talked about Benedict XVI. "[Joseph Ratzinger] is very cultured. However he's a professorial deskman. And that's not enough. He's not the right person to carry out the profound changes that the Church needs," Casaldaliga said in an interview that the priest from Balsareny granted to reporter Toni Soler last summer.
In the same interview, the bishop of the poor called for a change of direction at the Vatican. "Rome must acknowledge the diversity of the Church; it should listen to the people -- the voice of the people is the voice of God. That isn't always easy to take, because the voice of the people is more difficult to distort the voice of God."
The Cardinal Archbishop of Barcelona, Lluís Martínez Sistach, also referred to Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Sistach asserted that the choice of the new pope sets the stage for the opening of a new period in the Catholic Church. In a statement to Catalunya Ràdio, the Archbishop of Barcelona said that the new pontiff is "innovative" and will be "different music" for the Church. "He meets the needs of the new times," the cardinal commented, asserting that the pope emeritus, Benedict XVI, didn't influence the voting in the conclave at all. "He has retired and has removed himself," he stressed.
Getting back to Casaldaliga, in a separate phone interview with O Globo, Dom Pedro said he felt relief when Bergoglio was chosen, fearing that another more conservative pope would be elected. He said he feels the choice "means a change in the figure of the Pope. Obviously, the Pope alone isn't the Church -- it's everyone's responsibility," the bishop said.
Casaldaliga praised Pope Francis' simplicity, his evangelizing spirit, and the symbolism of his first gesture, bowing before the people gathered on St. Peter's Square to receive their blessing before bestowing his. "It's a different style," Dom Pedro said.
However, Casaldaliga also recalled that the "dark time" of the Church in Argentina during the period of the dictatorship still hovers over the new pope. As for the future, while hoping for changes in the Roman Curia, Dom Pedro also advocated for a Church dedicated to the poor, supportive of the defense of human rights, indigenous peoples, and those of African descent.