HedadFrancis commemorated the tenth anniversary of his pontificate on Monday with a series of interviews and a podcast in which he lashes out at totalitarian states, particularly Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua, which is threatening to suspend its relations with the Vatican.
The Argentine Jesuit, Jorge Bergoglio, became the 266th pontiff of the Catholic Church on March 13, 2013, succeeding the German Benedict XVI, the firstdadwho has renounced since the Middle Ages.
"It feels like yesterday"confessed Francisco, the firstdadLatin American in history, in a podcast broadcast this Monday by the official Vatican outlet, Vatican News.
Leader of a church in crisis, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, a pastor who was not part of the influential Roman Curia, opted for economic transparency and “zero tolerance” for sexual abuse, while respecting the most traditions regarding celibacy, abortion, gay marriage and homosexuality.
Severe critic of neoliberalism, imperialism and military conflicts, thedadArgentina identifies with a church that asks above all for social justice, that defends the least, migrants fleeing war and misery, and that is sensitive to ecology and nature.
During these 10 years, the head of the Catholic Church has taken positions on current international politics, has denounced the situation in Ukraine since the beginning of the war and has offered himself as a great mediator.
-Nicaragua: a new front for Francisco-
This week he opened a new front with a country from his region, Nicaragua, by criticizing its authoritarian excesses as well as the attacks against the Church after the sentence of the Nicaraguan bishop Rolando Álvarez to 26 years and 4 months in prison, for which the government Nicaraguan considers breaking relations with the Vatican.
Francis described on Friday as "crude dictatorship" to the regime of President Daniel Ortega, in an interview with the Argentine digital media Infobae.
"I have no choice but to think of an imbalance in the person who directs"he said about Ortega.
"It is as if we wanted to establish the communist dictatorship of 1917 or the Hitlerite dictatorship of 1935"he commented.
In the numerous interviews granted on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of his pontificate, he returned to address the issue of war, especially in Ukraine.
"Peace. Peace for the martyred Ukraine and for all other countries that suffer the horror of war, which is always a failure for all"he responded in an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.
Despite his implacable opposition to the arms trade, the Bishop of Rome is powerless in the face of the conflicts he tirelessly denounces every week.
All his calls for peace for Ukraine have been ignored. "we need peace"insisted on the Vatican News podcast.
– Quit? –
During the Bergoglian decade, interreligious dialogue increased notably, especially with Islam. HedadFrancis in particular improved ties with the grand imam of Cairo’s prestigious Al-Azhar mosque, among the many leaders who have sent congratulatory messages.
In a letter published by Vatican News, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayebal praised the efforts of thedadfor "build bridges of love and brotherhood between all human beings".
Messages were also sent by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, leader of the Orthodox Christians, and Anglican leader Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.
"It’s adadof this time. He knew how to capture the needs of today and propose them to the entire universal Church (…) He is promoting the Church of the times to come"said Don Roberto, a priest who traveled to the Vatican on Sunday to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Francis’ pontificate.
The battle against the culture of sexual abuse committed against minors by church members has been one of the most painful challenges of his papacy.
Although he lifted the pontifical secret, met with victims and forced the religious to report the cases to the hierarchy, pedophilia continues to be the stone in the shoe of his pontificate. Victims’ associations demand stronger measures.
And what do you want for yourself? "May the Lord have mercy on me. BedadIt’s not an easy job. Can’t study to do this job"answered.
At 86 years of age and in fragile health that requires him to use a wheelchair, Francisco has not ruled out the possibility of resigning, like his predecessor Benedict XVI.
"At the moment I don’t have it in my agenda"he assured the Jesuit magazine Civita Cattolica last month.