Pope Francis highlighted the challenges that the Vatican faces in the future, having experienced the internal workings of the Church in the past 20 months. Pope Francis might be seen as one of the most popular pontiffs of modern times by using the office in a diplomatic role and attempting to make the Vatican more open and understandable.
The reforms that Pope Francis has undertook such as bringing into the Vatican new officials, creating an easier style of communication within the Vatican and challenging the cardinals and bishops who run the church’s Rome headquarters. Furthermore, through playing a key diplomatic role in the reestablishment of relations between the United States and Cuba, showcased the diplomatic influence that the office of the papacy may hold.
During his address to the Roman Curia, senior Churchmen who run the Holy See, Pope Francis referred to the challenges which the Roman bureaucrats face. Pope Francis highlighted micro-management, little internal coordination, claims of being indispensable, gossiping and the leading of double lives by clerics. Equally, Pope Francis maintains that the Church may be free from careerism in the future and has begun cleaning up the Vatican Bank after its challenging situation with money-laundering accusations.
Pope Francis might have used this address in an attempt to set the agenda for next year’s meeting of the Synod where topics such as church divorce, the admissions of remarried divorcees to communion and the attitude of the church towards homosexual unions may be discussed. The initial meetings of the Synod were noticeable due to the agenda being thrown open and made much more public than previous examples. It might seem to some that Pope Francis is attempting to usher the Vatican into modern times by establishing a more transparent mode of operations, which might inspire more faith in the church.
The Roman Catholic Church may face challenges especially in an increasingly secular world also from the movement of people’s religious faith away from large institutions such as the Vatican and towards a more personal and perhaps familial environment. Due to numerous challenges the Vatican may be seen as in need of reforms which might allow it to seem to be more modern and of possessing more transparency. It might seem that Pope Francis aims to utilise reforms to try and change the perception of the Vatican for the better.
The use of the papal office by Pope Francis to attempt to affect productive change in the world through diplomacy has helped to highlight a role the Roman Catholic Church might utilise on an international level. His efforts in helping reestablish diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba led to praise from President Barack Obama which might provide a role for good which the Roman Catholic Church, may play within international politics. Furthermore, his efforts in attempting to help with the challenges in Ukraine, Iraq and Syria might be the beginnings of a Vatican which hopes to promote peace and help alleviate challenges that the world faces.
The success of Pope Francis’ potential reforms may only be revealed in 2015 with the meeting of the Synod however with numerous challenging events around the world there may be further areas for him to attempt to promote peace. With the ISIS presence in Iraq and Syria continuing into next year the Vatican, may find a key role in supporting Catholic refugees attempting to find a safe haven.
Furthermore, with internal affairs of the Vatican and Catholic Church to be discussed at the Synod next year, Pope Francis may find considerable opportunities for his aims of reforming the church and changing policies which are in need of reform. 2015 may be a year with considerable opportunities for Pope Francis and the Vatican.
How might the Pope’s message bring productive change within the Roman Catholic Church?