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Is the new pope powerful enough to change the Church?

March 15th, 2013
11:06 AM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

Many Jesuits are stunned that a Jesuit is now Pope.

"Saint Ignatius never intended for Jesuits to have positions of power, authority or influence in the Church,” Father Joseph McShane told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “So we were always told from the day we entered there would never be a Jesuit Pope and now we have one. We are all stunned."

McShane is President of Fordham University in New York and even though he didn’t expect the selection of then-Cardinal Bergoglio, he believes Pope Francis has the background to reform.

The new pope must confront a crises and crimes that have rocked the Church over the last decade.

To tackle the sex abuse catastrophe McShane said the new Pope would be “wise to listen to the American bishops” who are advocating for a policy of zero tolerance throughout the Church.

“More importantly, he has to say that whenever such an act, such a sin, such a crime is reported, the first concern is for the victim and the victim's family,” McShane said.

But is Pope Francis powerful enough to make sure the curia and the Catholic hierarchy abide by that?

“I don't know if it's a question of ‘is he powerful enough?’ I think it's a question of ‘is he brave enough to call it out,’” McShane said.

He believes Pope Francis is.

“If you look at what he has done in Buenos Aires with his own priests, it is clear,” McShane told Amanpour. “I'm sure you've read the stories about him excoriating priests who refused to baptize children who were born out of wedlock – calling them the new Pharisees, a new class of hypocrites, who forgot that the Lord ate with prostitutes and sought out sinners. So I think he's brave enough and direct enough to do this.”


Filed under:  Catholic Church • Latest Episode
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. L.Barello

    The very first question on applications for Pope should of been, ' Any pedophilia in ur blood,mind or r u associated with any such diviants or practices?'.

    March 15, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Reply
    • alumette

      sounds fair but as usual the topic will not be brought up to the table. Too embarrassing, you know. Sweep it under the table with the rest of the lies and delusions.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:48 am | Reply
  2. Nzo Ama

    I have always thought that the Conclave is based exclusively on records of spiritual performance, to be presented and assessed, without campaigns. However, the Holy Father is obliged to lead the way Jesus does. Catholics are a very good number, so any faults would resound. I strongly pray God to grant Pope Francis the wherewithal to dispassionately lead by designing faster means of detecting misgovernance throughout the world, particularly in remote parts of Africa, Europe, Amricas etc. And address issues at hand.

    March 15, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Reply
    • alumette

      When are we going to learn organized religions are not about spirituality but about power and control of the masses ? want spirituality ? check with a Shaman, the Buddhist monks and others who do not follow a middle-man. Between universal energy ( God ), and men, there is no need for interpretation of divine presence. It is an individual and unspoken exchange.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:55 am | Reply
  3. firgil putri

    I am very pleased to watch that the Pope eventually was chosen. Surely, he is not only as catholic spiritual leader but also a 'coming bridge' to more peaceful messages and services. From another side, even thouh I am not a catholic, I am pleased to congratulate these all.

    March 15, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Reply
  4. Victor Linar

    I am pleased that a Jesuit if the Pope

    March 15, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Reply
  5. Jonathan Onche Edeh

    You know, i have never been so proud of any Pope like i was with Pope John Paul II, whom i followed keenly. But when came his successor; Pope Benedict i showed little interest, and now here is Pope Francis; what should we expect? Nothing different, but that men and women, boys and girls will come to the realization that what actually needs reformation, is not only the Catholic Church, but the Church as a body of Christ here on earth, and above all, our individual lives....this is beyond mere CIVILIZATION, as you and i don't need a Pope that would understand us, but that would represent Jesus Christ to the world....anything out of this is just a complete waste of time where we are all looking for something that makes news while our lives remain empty

    March 16, 2013 at 4:38 am | Reply
  6. thiagan

    Samuel Burke, what exactly do you mean by, I quote "Is the new pope powerful enough to change the Church?" The Church is the body of Christ.

    March 16, 2013 at 6:23 am | Reply
    • yadin

      Thiagan, naturally, the question is a hypothetical. When one talks about the church, considering the event at the Vatican lately, one talks about the Universal (catholic) church founded by Christ and not the Body of Christ per se.

      March 17, 2013 at 4:28 am | Reply
      • Jonathan Onche Edeh

        As a "Catholic" i don't just see myself as a "Catholic", but as a member of the body of Christ.....besides, many don't see it as you do; the Catholic Church is passing through what we see not only as an "attack" on the Catholic Church, but at our faiths as Christians, and members of the body of Christ..............so we are all in this together except otherwise

        March 20, 2013 at 6:18 am |
    • alumette

      your view.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:57 am | Reply
  7. Skorpio

    It should be rephrased to: "Is the new pope powerful enough to keep Jesus' principles and church's dogmas?

    March 16, 2013 at 9:56 am | Reply
  8. berta

    I think he ·will· Here in Argentina, being Cardinal, a man with a certain power , he has always behaved as a single man of God, who has ·walked streets looking for poor people, sharing with them a · mate· or just visiting their homes and making them feel ·person·who are at a same level.at God¨´s sight. Please as catholics we must be happy of being blessed by God with this great man, who,I think, will bring many good things for our church....

    March 16, 2013 at 11:10 am | Reply
  9. Camilet Cooray

    Of course the Pope is blessed to be Powerful!

    March 16, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  10. Manilama

    To, all human beings of the world. I am Nature, within me comprise all the religion and the parties of Universe. Because all these are my own components, and you are all part of my system, which you are begining to understand now. Religion is the school of discipline for the human beings, because life without discipline is like as hell. T's Modern God's Light.

    March 17, 2013 at 4:04 am | Reply
  11. yadin

    Unlike other democratic countries in which the powers are equally divided between the executive, legislative and the judiciary, the pope is all these, rolled into one. He's not only the head but he's also the judge, the hangman and the jury. Now since only God can fire him, to whom could he address his resignation as in Pope Ratinger's case lately?

    March 17, 2013 at 4:20 am | Reply
  12. amieholma

    the Pope and anyone else should go by what the bible says and only that.

    March 17, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Reply
  13. n3kitme

    No need for change in the catholic church, catholics just need to get out of it.

    March 18, 2013 at 7:25 am | Reply
  14. Marco

    Quit "pretending" you have an influence of being able to destroy my church. Jesus didn't let himself be tortured and fulfill scriptures so that the "in" crowd of humanity 2000 years later, could teach the church about it's new version of sinful justifications!! . If a select few Catholics, or the world don't like the doctrine, then please go to a "church" that will accommodate your worldly modern carnal needs. I don't hear these same atheists robed in Christianity trying to change Jehovah's witnesses. or Baptists, or Evangelicals???
    PS....guess the devil knows what the "real" church is doesn't he?? Sorry, Catholic haters....you will NEVER win!!!

    March 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  15. Des Currie

    Change it into what? A three ringed circus? You fool.
    Des Currie

    March 19, 2013 at 9:51 am | Reply
  16. rightster

    Is the Chief Rabbi in Israel powerful enough to change Judaism to get rid of the Chosen People overlord doctrine, and stop the treatment of the Palestinians as an inferior version of humankind?

    March 19, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Reply
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