Newly-elected Pope Francis announced that he will change the rules governing the Italian Bishops’ Conference, in order to allow it to elect its President and secretary general instead of having them appointed by the Pope.
This will extend to the Italian Conference a right already owned by all the other Catholic Bishops’ national Conferences, except the Belgian one.
The Pope, however, also put under the supervision of an apostolic administrator the Diocese of Piana degli Albanesi, an Oriental rite Diocese whose priest are allowed to be married. Francis’ move highlights the problems raised every time Oriental rite Catholic priest are allowed to operate in Latin rite countries, where priest must take a wow of celibacy.
Some commentators had already warned that Pope Francis is a progressive on some issue and a conservative on some others, wondering how long the honeymoon between the new Pope and the Italian media will last. For example, the Five Stars Movement has just presented a Bill to legalize gay marriage in Italy. The Pope will surely oppose it. What will happen then ? Will he be the target of a wave of Internet insults, as it happened to everyone encroaching on Mr Grillo’s policies ?