Letter from Rome

No one can say Pope Francis has stacked the deck with his own friends — at least not as much as those popes before him.

By Robert Mickens
Vatican city: 

Just a few months after his election to the papacy, Pope Francis gave the first of what has become a constant stream of interviews.

It was in Italian with the Rome-based Jesuit journal, La Civilta Cattolica, simultaneously published in various languages by Jesuit publications around the world. In it, he revealed a lot about himself that many people did not know.

One of the things the new pope talked about was his style of leadership and Church governance. In comments that have since been key to understanding how he has been running the Roman Curia, these lines stand out:

“When I entrust something to someone, I totally trust that person. He or she must make a really big mistake before I rebuke that person.”

Looking back over the past four years and eight months that he’s been Bishop of Rome, one could say Francis has even put total trust in the top Vatican officials he inherited from his predecessor. In only a few cases has he rebuked or replaced them.

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