After the solemnity of Pope Francis presiding commemorations of the crucifixion and resurrection of a Palestinian Jew, Jesus Christ, the story of Judeo-Christianity begins anew, a latter day event in the history of a 14 billion year universe.
Will the Roman Catholic Church become less Roman and more Catholic? Faithfully, the fateful selection of the first pope from the Americas gifts our evolving lives on this fragile planet, which is our home, with an awesome blessing.
Many needs for radical reform are being identified. Here I name only one of them, the most crucial of all, reining in the lust for power of one of the most entrenched bureaucracies on earth, the Roman Curia. Having served in Korea for 13 months, 1952 to 1953, I call attention to the daily news and another entrenchment, the government of North Korea. Also to a time vividly recalled of my once living in another communist state, Poland.
In the fall of 1987, I led the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point's study abroad semester to Krakow. In 1978, the Archbishop of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla, became Pope John II. In the late summer of 1976 many of us were graced with an opportunity to meet the future pope during his visit to local Polish communities. During my time in Krakow, I learned that one of the former Archbishop's lay co-workers had an opportunity to visit him in Rome. She expressed shock that Pope John Paul II had become a captive of Rome's Vatican Curia.
Will Pope Francis be able to rein in and liberate global Catholicism from the power of the Curia?
While many recent papal symbolic gestures are hopeful, historic papal scholarship points to many arduous challenges. How long will it take Pope Francis to appoint and anoint new Cardinals and Bishops? How will seminary education prepare ordained priests for going up the hierarchical ladder? How will the kingly prophetic baptismal priesthood of the laity, including women, rise to this occasion?
A baptized and confirmed Roman Catholic, a decade ago, on April 4, 2003, I became and remain without parish membership, a roaming Catholic.