I don’t have a great deal of time for the Roman Catholic Church — in fact, very little indeed — but I was prepared to give Pope Francis a great deal of personal leeway when he first came to office. What with his dropping into pizzerias and riding on buses . . . when Archbishop — indeed, perhaps even when he was a Cardinal — like any ordinary Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, suggested that he was, let us say, well-informed of the way of the world and his fellow man.
Surely, I thought when he was elected (2013), he might have been just the right sort of approachable Pontiff that the RC Church badly needed. He could have been someone who would have realised that his organisation ought to do a little something about an overpopulating world and agree that his flock at least should not be so fertile. Or he might have come to grips with the loss of credibility in so many of his employees who’d taken sexual advantage of boys supposedly in their care. The idea — absurd in these modern times — that priests should still be celibate was surely something that he might have been working on.
But nothing has happened, and even teh hint of it. And now I think we know the reason why. He hasn’t watched television for 25 years. He only reads one Italian newspaper, the left-wing La Republica. But one newspaper, whatever its political complexion, and even if it were independent, cannot give him any balanced idea of what is happening in the world. How can he have anything relevant to say when he meets foreign leaders? Even if he only watched one channel, such as CNN or BBC 24-hour News, he would gain a reasonably balanced grasp of the world events in which his very large organisation operates.
With his single newspaper, he is only going to see one thin slice of the world. He doesn’t say whether he listens to the radio but, nevertheless, it sounds very much that most of the information he receives is that which is filtered by his staff. Perhaps this is why he still hasn’t begin to tackle the two outstanding reforms which the RC Church badly needs and will surely have to be tackled