The award for “Dumbest Local Thing Said About Pope Francis” goes to Xavier University’s Joseph Bracken, S.J., who, in a lengthy quote the school provides to the media, informs us that the Holy Father will need to find exceptions to moral principles:

“Pope Francis is clearly not fond of ceremony for its own sake; he is a seemingly humble, down-to-earth human being. That’s good, considering the way that the Vatican bureaucracy in the past has more often than not exhibited the opposite attitude to the faithful. But the real test for his Papacy will be, on the one hand, to bring about the same humble mind-set within the Vatican bureaucracy so that these ecclesiastical bureaucrats likewise deal with people more gently and straightforwardly. On the other hand, he himself will have to find a way to merge his doctrinal conservatism with concrete pastoral practice. What it often comes down to, in my judgment, is to uphold the moral principle at issue but to allow for exceptions to the rule when circumstances seem to demand it. Not an easy task for anyone, least of all for someone whose every word in these contested areas gets attention from the media immediately. What I say makes little difference to most people; what a Pope says makes a huge difference to a lot of people, both inside and outside the Church. Francis deserves our prayers.”

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