Pope Francis: An Anniversary Less “Urbi” Than “Orbi”

March 20, 2023
Source: fsspx.news
Pope Francis during the Angelus, March 13, 2023, for the 10th anniversary of his election

With a private ceremony in the Vatican and exclusive interviews with the Sovereign Pontiff by several international media, the first 10 years of Pope Francis's pontificate were celebrated in contrasting ways.

The tenth anniversary of the pontificate of Pope Francis was not really focused on urbi with orbi, as is the custom during the solemn blessings that the successor of Peter is accustomed to impart to Rome and to the whole world, during the major events that punctuate the liturgical year.

On the Urbi side, the atmosphere was not really festive on March 13, 2023: no public ceremony, no candles to blow out, no leave for employees of the smallest state in the world.

There was only a private Mass celebrated in the presence of the cardinals residing in Rome, not broadcast by the Vatican media, at the express request of the Pontiff. The dean of the Sacred College, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, had to resign himself to delivering his homily in front of a sparse audience. 

At most, we know that, during the celebration, Pope Francis made a brief spiritual commentary on the liturgy, calling on the cardinals to cultivate “mercy” and “never to retire” because “your advice is always good,” he insisted.

Something to smile about, in Rome, when one remembers the authoritarianism exercised within the framework of the reform of the Roman Curia, and the movement concentrating power in the sole hands of the host of St. Martha’s House.

Even at the Angelus on March 12, recited before twenty thousand pilgrims, Pope Francis did not make a single allusion to the tenth anniversary of his pontificate—enough to disappoint the many faithful who came from afar for the occasion.

It must be said that between the historic trial which is taking place behind the walls of the Vatican – a trial which one of the last hearings has just shed light on how Cardinal Angelo Maria Becciu tried to put pressure on the pope in order to be exonerated – and the latest reforms depriving the members of the Curia of certain real estate advantages, the Urbi side is rather gloomy.

On the Orbi side, on the other hand, discretion gives way to media overexposure. In a few days, the pope granted a whole series of interviews to several newspapers around the world, once again stepping on the exclusivity of the Vatican’s official media, which has been experiencing a real existential crisis for ten years.

The opportunity for the Holy Father to highlight the reformist dimension of his pontificate: the Synod on synodality, the door open to the possibility – quite vague after all – of ordaining married men. While muting certain more authoritarian aspects, such as the expeditious treatment reserved for the traditional liturgy as well as for the religious and faithful who are attached to it.

It was not enough to make one forget that the party was indeed spoiled by the German Synodal Path – a life-size experience of synodality called for by the reigning pontiff – which has just returned, in this month of March 2023, conclusions all each more heterodox and preposterous than the others.