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Pope Francis: Card. Bassetti, “those accusing him of being populist or Marxist show ignorance”

(Foto Siciliani-Gennari/SIR)

“The Pope’s simplicity is the simplicity of a pastor who lives immersed in a modern megalopolis – as opposed to the image of the country priest that some critics have sometimes used to describe him -; it is the simplicity of a Gospel that is proclaimed “sine glossa” (“literally”) and in a kerygmatic way; finally, it is the simplicity that comes from a profound and original reflection which, however, has to be communicated in an intelligent way, suited to our times, if it has to be fully understood and spread among the people of God”. Card. Gualtiero Bassetti, Archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve and President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI), said this yesterday during the presentation, in Perugia, of the book “Jorge Mario Bergoglio. An intellectual biography” (Jaca Book) by Massimo Borghesi. Card. Bassetti started his reflection by focusing on the first “simplicity”, which – he explained – “denotes a pastoral attitude, a new stance, one that is ever closer to ordinary people, but also, at the same time, one of the recurrent criticisms levelled at his pontificate”. “Some critics argue that Francis is a Pope who speaks in too simple a way”, he continued, and that “this simplicity hides the Pontiff’s poor theological preparation”. But, the Cardinal pointed out, “to put it bluntly, in the words of Borghesi”, “Bergoglio’s language is ‘simple’ because he wants to be simple”.
A second passage was dedicated to “Pope Francis’ reflection on power in the contemporary world”. “This – Card. Bassetti observed – is one of the most important themes of his pontificate, as we can clearly see in Evangelii Gaudium and in Laudato Si’, which is deeply rooted in Bergoglio’s intellectual biography”. “On this point, too, I would like to be very clear: those accusing Francis of being a populist or a Marxist show not only their bad faith and arrogance, but also their great ignorance. A textual and factual ignorance that should be seriously meditated upon: if only because of the discord that it has sown among the people of God”. Bergoglio – Card. Bassetti continued – “is a Pontiff who is strongly critical of a dogmatic and absolutist vision of a capitalist economy not bound by any ethical law, like the one that has emerged in recent decades”. “It is a harsh criticism of that sort of ‘ungovernable power’ which Francis, echoing the insights of Guardini, called the ‘techno-economic paradigm’. A power system – caring neither for God nor for man – that reduces man and the “oikos”, our common home, to mere objects to be exploited without limits”. According to Card. Bassetti, “it is precisely this kind of dominant thinking, which is nihilistic and consumerist at the same time, and has grown into a system of pervasive power that produces injustice and ‘inequality’, that – in Francis’ vision – is a major challenge for the Catholic world today”.

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