In today's L'Osservatore Romano,Cardinal Walter Kasper argues that by emphasizing social justice -- and nods toward collegiality -- Pope Francis has inaugurated a new phase of Vatican II. John Thavis reports:
In this sense, Pope Francis from the first day of his pontificate has given what I would call his prophetic interpretation of the council, and has inaugurated a new phase of its reception. He has changed the agenda: at the top are the problems of the Southern hemisphere, Cardinal Kasper wrote.Its useful to remember that it was Pope John XXIII who presented the image of the church of all, and in particular the church of the poor shortly before opening Vatican II in 1962.Cardinal Kasper said Pope Francis election had also underlined a related point: that the church's make-up has changed greatly since the time of the council.At the beginning of the last century, only a quarter of Catholics lived outside Europe; today only a quarter live in Europe and more than two-thirds of Catholics live in the Southern hemisphere, where the church is growing, he said.Cardinal Kasper also noted that Pope Francis appears to be open to a more collegial exercise of papal authority. The role of the pope as a unifying figure in the church should not lead to an exaggerated centralism, Kasper said.