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The Warsaw Voice » Society » March 27, 2013
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From the editor
March 27, 2013   
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What can the new pope achieve? The first barrier is the extent of his own willingness. The second is the environment he works in. Circumstances are the third hurdle. All three are equally strong.

What can Pope Francis do, a conservative from faraway Argentina, a mature, sensitive and modest man? I think that, paradoxically, he can do more outside the Church than within it. Remembering Stalin’s ironic question, “How many divisions does the pope have?” it looks like he might need divisions of his own to reform the Church. But these he doesn’t seem to have. Vested interests and the belief that, in a modernizing world, the Catholic Church shouldn’t abandon the existing canons of its doctrine seem to dominate in this community. Perhaps Francis’ own personal example, evident in his first public appearances as pope, will trigger a desire to emulate him; a trend, or maybe even a fashion. I doubt, however, that this will mean anything more than superficial changes.

On the other hand, there is the prestige that Francis has at his disposal in the outside world. In view of his office and thanks to his personal qualities, and as a result of conscious striving, he could achieve something unique in the face of a widespread crisis of authority coupled with a simultaneous need for authority.

To me, the most important thing is peace among religions. The great political tensions of past years have donned a religious guise.

I really hope that Pope Francis will commit himself to this. My hope that he might be able to do more to improve the situation than anyone else may be naive, but I cannot see any alternative. Leaving these matters in the hands of politicians, military men and people who want to impose their views upon others, even at the price of total destruction, does not seem a promising way to go.
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