Pope Francis so dominates the media, the impression is created of a Pope taking the Church somewhere. Further, wherever he takes the Church, the impression is masses of Catholics will follow. He has created the illusion of change.
Rome controls huge amounts of money and the Pope makes appointments. Still he is not the Church’s most powerful force. The most powerful source are the people in the pews. Today, they remain divided on all kinds of issues. This Pope, and the next, will not resolve these disagreements.
We can start with gay marriage. Surely members of the Catholic church do not differ much from citizenry at large where the majority now supports gay marriage. There appears no way for the Church’s bureaucracy to change.
Does anyone believe the 95%+ of Catholics who use birth control are going to stop because the love this Pope so much? And, will birth control policy be changed by this Pope? Negative on both counts.
Ultimately, those in the pews will determine what the Catholic Church’s representatives of God will decide. But for now, there is no mechanism to resolve the unresolvable differences.
The previous Pope seemed to think he had the answer. Dump those parts of the church that did not conform–leave a smaller but unified church. That was unsuccessful.
The liberal wing of the Church waited and waited for a path toward change. Now, conservatives are waiting to take things back.
When the folks in the pews unite so it will be with the Church.