Ross Douthat, no site The Atlantic, escreveu um ótimo artigo condensando o que os biógrafos têm escrito sobre o Papa Francisco.
É a melhor análise que já li sobre o Papa. É muito bom para entender este papa que fala muitas vezes de forma confusa, e que todos têm dificuldade de definir.
Em resumo, para entender Papa Francisco: 1) Olhe para a Argentina; 2) Para sua formação intelectual, e 3) Para os cardeais que o elegeram
Vejamos partes do texto. Leiam todo clicando no link.
Will Pope Francis Break the Church?
The new pope's choices stir high hopes among liberal Catholics and intense uncertainty among conservatives. Deep divisions may lie ahead.
The arc of Bergoglio’s life and career follows a literary script: youthful success, defeat and exile, unexpected vindication and ascent. Each of his three biographers approaches the story in a different way. Elisabetta Piqué, a correspondent for the Argentine newspaper La Nación, has written an intensely personal work (Bergoglio baptized her two children); her Pope Francis: Life and Revolution draws richly on interviews with Argentinians touched by Bergoglio’s pastoral work. The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, by the British Catholic journalist Austen Ivereigh, has the widest angle and the most depth, taking in Argentina’s distinctive history as well as the particular trajectory of its now most famous son. In Pope Francis: Untying the Knots, Paul Vallely, another British Catholic writer on religion, develops a distinctive interpretation of his subject.
But the basic narrative is there in all three treatments. The descendant of Italian immigrants to Argentina, devout from an early age and committed to the priesthood after a teenage epiphany, Bergoglio entered the Jesuit order in 1958, just four years before the Second Vatican Council opened in Rome. His training was long (Jesuits spend more than a decade “in formation”) and initially old-fashioned in its rigors; the order in Argentina devoted a great deal of its work to educating the national elite. But by the time he took his final vow and became a Jesuit in full, in 1973, the reforms of the Council and the turbulence that followed had dramatically changed his order, and divided it.
Many of Bergoglio’s fellow Jesuits believed they had a postconciliar mandate to make the pursuit of social justice the order’s organizing mission. In Latin America, the emerging Big Idea for what this meant was liberation theology, which promoted a synthesis between Gospel faith and Marxist-flavored political activism. Argentina’s provincial, the head of the country’s Jesuits, Ricardo O’Farrell, offered encouragement to these ideas. He backed priests who essentially wanted to live as political organizers among Argentina’s poor. He also supported a syllabus rewrite that was “heavy on sociology and Hegelian dialectics,” as Ivereigh describes it, and lighter on traditional Catholic elements.
But O’Farrell soon found himself dealing with a crisis: the number of men entering the order plummeted, and more-conservative Jesuits openly revolted. In the summer of 1973, he stepped aside, and at just 36, Bergoglio was elevated in his place. In many ways he made a success of things. The order’s numbers rebounded, and he won many admirers among the priests formed under his leadership. But he made enemies as well, most of them on the order’s theological and political left. Radical priests felt that their revolution had been betrayed, and a coterie of Jesuit academics fretted that Bergoglio’s program for Jesuits in training—which restored traditional elements abandoned by O’Farrell—was too reactionary, too pre–Vatican II. Ivereigh quotes one critic marveling that Bergoglio encouraged students to
go to the chapel at night and touch images! This was something the poor did, the people of the pueblo, something that the Society of Jesus worldwide just doesn’t do. I mean, touching images … What is that?
His leadership also coincided with the 1976 military coup and the “Dirty War,” during which left-wing Jesuits were particular targets for the junta’s thugs. Bergoglio was accused of complicity in the arrest and torture of two priests, a charge that Ivereigh and Piqué think is baseless; Vallely hedges, but seems to mostly concur. Indeed, all three biographers make clear that Bergoglio labored tirelessly behind the scenes to save people (not only priests) in danger of joining the ranks of the “disappeared.”
But he did not attack the Dirty War publicly, and the Jesuits under his leadership kept a low political profile as well. The entire Argentine Church was a compromised force during the junta’s rule, and Bergoglio probably couldn’t have played the kind of role that, say, the soon-to-be-beatified archbishop Oscar Romero played in El Salvador. But some in the order blamed his conservatism, as they saw it, for the absence of a clear Jesuit witness against the junta’s crimes.
Eventually these critics gained the upper hand. Not long after Bergoglio’s term ended in 1979, his policies were altered or reversed. Just over a decade later, following a period in which the Argentine Jesuits were divided into pro- and anti-Bergoglio camps, he was exiled from the leadership, sent to a Jesuit residence in the mountain town of Córdoba, and essentially left to rot.
That exile lasted almost two years, and ended when John Paul II’s choice for the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Antonio Quarracino, reached out and picked Bergoglio to serve as one of his auxiliaries in 1992. The rescue made everything that followed possible, but it also completed the former provincial’s break with his own order. Ivereigh notes that over the next 20 years, during which he took many trips to the Vatican, Bergoglio never so much as set foot in the Jesuit headquarters in Rome.
So how, exactly, did the man who fought bitterly with left-wing Jesuits in the 1970s become the darling of progressive Catholics in the 2010s?
Piqué’s biography doesn’t even attempt to explain this seeming paradox. She blurs the tensions by treating Bergoglio’s 1970s-era critics dismissively—without really digging into the theological and political roots of the disputes—and then portraying Bergoglio the archbishop as basically progressive in his orientation. After succeeding Quarracino, she writes, he fought with “right-wing adversaries in the Roman Curia,” publicly showed annoyance at “obsessive strictness” on sexual ethics, and so on.
Vallely has a more creative argument. He suggests that Francis was essentially a pre–Vatican II traditionalist as provincial, and then, in exile, experienced a kind of theological and political conversion to his critics’ point of view. This is a fascinating idea, but perhaps too psychologically pat, and Vallely’s documentary evidence is interesting but thin. He makes much, for instance, of the older Bergoglio’s tendency to retrospectively criticize the too-hasty or overly authoritarian decision making of his earlier years. But much of this self-criticism seems more about style than about religious substance. And Vallely (like his sources) is rather too fond of false dichotomies: it’s supposed to be surprising, a sign of some radical interior change, that a theological conservative could be pastoral or want to spend time among the poor.
Bergoglio’s thinking clearly evolved. But the more plausible explanation for what’s going on emerges out of Ivereigh’s biography, which proposes a general continuity between the young provincial of the 1970s and the pope of today. To begin with, Ivereigh stresses that the younger Bergoglio was never a real traditionalist, never an enemy of Vatican II, never a foe of renewal or reform. Instead, he was trying to heed the warning of Yves Congar, the great mid-century Catholic theologian, that “true reform” must always be safeguarded from “false” alternatives. Bergoglio’s battles with radicals and liberals in his own order shouldn’t be interpreted as a case of the Catholic right resisting change. They should be understood as an attempt to steer a moderate course, to discern which changes are necessary and fruitful, and to reject the errors of both extremes.
Yet several crucial issues—some raised explicitly by Ivereigh, some implicit in all three biographies—set Francis’s background and worldview apart. They help explain why his pontificate looks much more friendly to progressive strands within Catholicism than anyone expected from the successor to the previous two popes.
First, Jorge Bergoglio had a very different experience of globalization than Karol Wojtyła (who would become Pope John Paul II) and Joseph Ratzinger did in Europe, one shaped by disappointments particular to his country. For most of his life, his native Argentina was an economic loser, persistently underperforming and corruption-wracked. During the 1980s, inequality and the poverty rate increased in tandem; in the late ’90s and early 2000s, while Bergoglio was archbishop, Argentina endured a downturn and a depression. Where his predecessors’ skepticism of capitalism and consumerism was mainly intellectual and theoretical, for Bergoglio the critique became something more visceral and personal.
Second, in the course of his political experience in Argentina, he encountered very different balances of power—between the left and the right, between Church and state, and within global Catholicism—than either of the previous two popes confronted. As much as Bergoglio clashed with Marxist-influenced Jesuits, the Marxists in Argentina weren’t running the state (as they were in John Paul’s Poland, and in the eastern bloc of Benedict’s native Germany). They were being murdered by it. Likewise, the fact that the Church in Argentina was compromised during the Dirty War had theological implications: it meant that for Bergoglio, more-intense forms of traditionalist Catholicism were associated with fascism in a very specific, immediate way. And coming from the Church’s geographical periphery himself, Bergoglio had reasons to sympathize with the progressive argument that John Paul had centralized too much power in the Vatican, and that local churches needed more freedom to evolve.
Third, while highly intellectual in his own distinctive way, Francis is clearly a less systematic thinker than either of his predecessors, and especially than the academic-minded Benedict. Whereas the previous pope defended popular piety against liberal critiques, Francis embodies a certain style of populist Catholicism—one that’s suspicious of overly academic faith in any form. He seems to have an affinity for the kind of Catholic culture in which Mass attendance might be spotty but the local saint’s processions are packed—a style of faith that’s fervent and supernaturalist but not particularly doctrinal. He also remains a Jesuit-formed leader, and Jesuits have traditionally combined missionary zeal with a certain conscious flexibility about doctrinal details that might impede their proselytizing work. This has often made them controversial among other missionary orders, as in the famous debate over the efforts of Matteo Ricci. A Jesuit in China during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Ricci was attacked for incorporating Chinese concepts into his preaching and permitting converts to continue to venerate their ancestors. That Ricci is currently on the path to canonization, and his critics are mostly forgotten, says something important about the value of Jesuit envelope-pushing within the Church. But it also says something important that Catholicism has never before had a Jesuit pope.
Finally, Francis has a different base of support—and thus a different set of debts to pay, perhaps—within the Catholic hierarchy than the popes who preceded him had. He became a papal candidate at the 2005 conclave, and was elected pope eight years later, thanks to efforts made on his behalf by a small group of European cardinals, including Godfried Danneels of Belgium, Walter Kasper of Germany, England’s Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, and the late Carlo Maria Martini, himself a Jesuit and the former archbishop of Milan. In the John Paul era, all four men were among the most theologically liberal cardinals; Martini was regarded wistfully as a kind of might-have-been progressive pope.
Both Ivereigh (a former adviser to Murphy-O’Connor) and Vallely leave little doubt as to this group’s importance. What is in doubt is how Bergoglio, who reportedly urged his supporters to vote for Ratzinger in 2005 rather than prolong the vote, felt about their efforts in either conclave, and how he feels about them now. Clearly the liberal cardinals fastened onto him as a candidate because they saw him as theologically closer to the center of the conclave and more doctrinally reliable than any of their group; clearly his support within the 2013 conclave extended well beyond just the liberal faction. At the same time, it is striking that the men who arguably did the most to make Bergoglio pontiff were among the cardinals most in opposition to the previous two popes.