Since his election, the world has been focused on what Pope Francis says. However, as Sandro Magister points out at his blog Chiesa, what the Pope is silent about may be just as significant:
In Francis the collegiality of governance is more evoked than practiced. The style is that of a superior general of the Jesuits who in the end decides everything on his own. This can be grasped from his actions, his words, his silences.
For example, Bergoglio has spent weeks behind the scenes cultivating relationships with the heads of the powerful “Evangelical” communities of the United States. He has spent hour after hour in their company at his residence in Santa Marta. He has invited them for lunch. He immortalized one of these convivial moments by giving a high five, amid raucous laughter, to Pastor James Robinson, one of the most successful American televangelists.
When no one knew anything about it yet, it was Francis who alerted them about his intention to go visit their Italian colleague in Caserta, and explained the reason: “To extend the apologies of the Catholic Church for the damage that has been done to them by obstructing the growth of their communities.”
As the Argentine he is, Bergoglio has experienced first-hand the overwhelming expansion of the Evangelical and Pentecostal communities in Latin America, which continue to take enormous masses of faithful away from the Catholic Church. And yet he has made this decision: not to fight their leaders, but to make them his friends.
This is the same approach that he has adopted with the Muslim world: prayer, invocation of peace, general condemnations of the evil that is done, but with careful attention to keep his distance from specific cases concerning precise persons, whether victims or butchers.
He did not speak a single word when the young Sudanese mother Meriam was in prison with her little children, sentenced to death only because she is Christian, although he received her once she was liberated thanks to international pressure.
He is silent on the fate of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani mother who has been in prison for five years awaiting an appeal against the verdict that has sentenced her to death with the accusation of having offended Islam.
And yet the campaign for the liberation of Asia Bibi sees the Catholic world everywhere highly engaged on her behalf, and at the beginning of this year a heartfelt letter was made public after she had sent it to the pope. Who did not respond to her.
They are silences that are all the more striking in that they are practiced by a pope who is known for his highly generous availability to write, to telephone, to bring aid, to open the doors to anyone who knocks, whether poor or rich, good or bad.
Go here to read the rest. PopeWatch believes that it is easy due to the careless way that the Pope sometimes expresses himself to assume that he has no longterm strategy. PopeWatch believes that is an error and that the faint outlines of a strategy can be discerned. That strategy seems, in part, to gain allies outside of the Church, even at the risk of alienating portions of his flock. PopeWatch makes no assessment as to the wisdom of this strategy, but merely notes that it is precisely the type of strategem one would expect from a Jesuit, and PopeWatch believes that Pope Francis is a Jesuit’s Jesuit, a fact which is critical in understanding this pontificate.