Mission accomplished. After four years of pontificate, this is the assessment that has been made by the cardinals who brought Jorge Mario Bergoglio to election as pope.
The operation that produced the Francis phenomenon arises from a long time ago, as far back as 2002, when for the first time "L'Espresso" discovered and wrote that the then little-known archbishop of Buenos Aires had leapt to the top of the candidates for the papacy, the real ones, not the figureheads.
It laid the groundwork at the conclave of 2005, when it was to none other than Bergoglio that all the votes were funneled from those who did not want Joseph Ratzinger as pope.
And it came into port at the conclave of 2013, to a large extent because many of his electors still knew very little about that Argentine cardinal, and certainly not that he would deal the Church that “punch in the stomach” spoken of a few days ago by his rival defeated in the Sistine Chapel, Milan archbishop Angelo Scola.
Between Bergoglio and his great electors there was not and is not full agreement. He is the pope of proclamations more than of realizations, of allusions more than of definitions.
There is however one key factor that meets the expectations of a historic turning point of the Church capable of making up for its emblematic lag of “two hundred years” with respect to the modern world that was denounced by Carlo Maria Martini, the cardinal who loved to call himself the “ante-pope,” meaning the anticipator of the one who was to come. And it is the factor of “time.” Which for Bergoglio is a synonym for “initiating processes.” The destination matters little to him, because what counts is the journey. (more...)