In many countries, hundreds or thousands of cases of clerical sexual abuse have made the need for conversion painfully obvious and have led to a reckoning with how power is viewed, exercised and protected within the Church.
“‘We are all in the same boat,’ Pope Francis reminded us. … We could perhaps point out that we are all in the same storm but not in the same boat. There are stronger boats and there are more fragile ones. We also see that sometimes those who are in the same boat try to throw others off it.”
Conversion during Advent is, in particular, “a question of converting our idea of God,” Pope Francis says. It is a time “to welcome not a fairy-tale character, but the God who challenges us, involves us and before whom a choice is imposed.”
The debate at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon over married priests is an example of how Pope Francis’ style of church governance relies on prayerful discernment and not simply majority support for change.