Need for spiritual leadership
IN POPE PAUL, Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul 11, we have seen three very different personalities and styles or leadership. What have been their essential differences and how have these contributed to the papacy?
I was very much struck by a passage in Pope John Paul ll's talk to the cardinals two days after his election. He said: "I want my ministry to be a ministry of love in every one of its manifestations and expressions." It set me thinking about Pope Paul's phrase "the civilisation of love."
During his later years, Pope Paul, more than once, talked about the development of this "civilisation of love" which was to be built on two fundamental principles. In his Wednesday audiences he pointed to them constantly.
He patiently explained the fundamental truths of the Faith, for he believed that we all needed to be nourished by the Word of God. He emphasised equally the need of the world for peace and for its essential ingredient, justice.
These two principles — response to the Word of God and building up a society based on the values of the Gospel — would, he believed, shape the "civilisation of love".
Pope John Paul I's short ministry was a wonderful moment in the life of the Church. His, too, was a ministry of love expressed simply, joyfully, and with transparent sincerity. The world responded in love.
Through him and because of him, we realised that people not only respected the papacy — but loved the Pope and were hungry for the leadership and example he could offer.
Pope Paul had carried a crushing burden for 15 years. Pope John Paul I made that burden seem light, although, paradoxically„ we may say it seems to have been too much for him. But he was the "catalyst of love" and he transformed both the world's expectations and the Churche's response.
Pope John Paul 11 will. I think, continue the work of both his predecessors. He will carry forward the original inspiration of Paul VI, and bring to maturity the seed sown by Pope John Paul I.
How has this fitted into the general development of the Church?
CARDINAL HUME: The key to understanding the present Pope and his two predecessors is to be found in the Second Vatican Council, And, in particular, I see the two great documents of that Council — the Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) and the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) — providing the background to the ministry of these three Popes.
Pope John Paul It has called Lumen Gent/urn the Magna Carta of the Church. He has encouraged us all to meditate more deeply on its teaching. It is likely to provide the guidelines for his ministry.
And how well fitted he is, both by his wide experience and his great ability, to carry on the "dialogue" with the world and to show us how we must serve God and our neighbour in a plurist and secular world.
Presumably most speculators ruled out Karol Wojtyla because of his nationality and his age. Now that he has been elected his strong points have become clear. What are his disadvantages?
CARDINAL HUME: Much has already been written about the new Pope's nationality. It will be interesting to see what effect it will have on East-West relations. It is still too soon to judge, lie is the kind of man who will appeal to and attract men of good will, but he will certainly be firm on principles, and especially when it is a question of human rights and the freedom of the Church. His first-hand experience of the difficulties which the Church can encounter from an unfriendly regime will be an encouragement to many Christians in similar situations.
His disadvantages? Maybe he will suffer most from the high expectations and hopes which so many people have placed him. In the rough and tumble of life's daily problems and conflicts, it simply is not possible to please all the people all the time. But he is independent minded, and this is good.
Do you think that the deaths of two Popes and the Conclaves have, in themselves, attracted interest in religion and the Church. If so, why?
CARDINAL HUME: I was quite taken by surprise, and so I believe were many others, by the interest shown by so many people. The media, press, television, and radio, have been generous, fair and, on the whole, perceptive, although they were not too successful in "picking the winner". They brought instantly into many houses the drama of the last ten weeks. Everybody felt involved. The media did not, I think, create the mood; they found it and expressed it.
There is an interest in religion, and for a variety of reasons, and most recognise that the Church is a necessary institution. From it they look for leadership, and spiritual leadership.
What do I mean by that? I mean the ability to speak of God with authority and conviction, and in the light of God's revelation to us to work so that the values of the Kingdom of God should prevail in the city of man. The need for good leadership riveted world wide attention on the two deaths and the two conclaves.
Pope John Paul speaks a lot about collegiality. What does this mean at the level of leadership in Rome? What does it mean for a family of five living in, say, Willesden?
CARDINAL HUME: The Holy Father reminded the cardinals at a special audience that bishops, both as legitimate successors of the Apostles and as members of the College of Bishops, should know how to be united with each other and how to show themselves concerned for all the Churches. He was, of course, referring at this point to two documents of the Vatican Council.
In practice, this may well mean that the Pope will invite bishops to collaborate more with him in the conducting of the Church's affairs. He may, for instance, make greater use of the Presidents of the Conferences of Bishops. He will certainly develop the role of the Synod of Bishops, as he has stated.
How will this affect people in our parishes? I would think that closer contact between the Pope and local bishops will mean that the concerns and aspirations will be reported more directly to the Holy Father himself. It is only fair to add that the authorities in Rome have a surprisingly detailed knowledge of particular Churches (dioceses) already.
Does collegiality mean "devolution"? Can we expect to see the Pope allowing the Bishops Conference to decide on the celebration of the Tridentine Mass or the use of the Third Rite of Penance?
CARDINAL HUME: How far he will leave decisions such as the ones which you mention to particular Churches, I do not know. It is well to remember that collegiality means, among other things, that all the bishops of the world must work as a team. What one bishop does in his diocese can affect other dioceses.
There is a delicate balance to be kept between the independence of the local bishop and his relationship with all the other bishops. That is why the "higher authority" is important, indeed necessary. The bishops exercise their collegiality -with Peter, and under Peter".
Are the challenges facing the new Pope essentially internal ones, concerned with the ecclesiastical world, or are they common problems which face all mankind? What can the Pope do?
CARDINAL HUME: 1 see three kinds of problems which will be of concern to the new Pope. First, he must speak to the world about God, preach the Gospel of Christ, and discern what the Spirit has to say to the Churches.
Secondly, he must heal divisions within Christianity, both within the Catholic Church and between the different Christian Churches. Thirdly, he will have to go on impressing upon all of us the dignity of every man, woman and child, and the value of human life, All these matters which concern justice and peace will be, I would think, high on his agenda. I have no "inside information", and he will, without doubt, establish his own agenda and arrange his own priorities.
What do you hope to see happening on the ecumenical front now?
CARDINAL HUME: I have felt for a long time now that some new initiative needs to be taken to bring the Churches closer together. I am by no means certain what it should be. It is really encouraging to know that many share the same view.
I believe that Christ has offered and is offering the gift of unity; we probably need more time, more prayer and more work to see the way forward. The Holy Father is well aware of the importance of ecumenical work. It has his support and that is very important.
Do you think there is a danger of a Pope being made a cult figure, a superhuman saint who is expected to change the world? How can this be guarded against?
CARDINAL HUME: When I stood on one of the balconies — on two occasions now — and watched the vast crowd in St Peter's Square, I could not but think of the Parable of the Lost Sheep, but the other way round. The sheep were looking for their shepherd.
Clearly, the crowd took both Pope John Paul I and his successor to their hearts at once. But they were expressing, too, their need for a leader. They — and that means we — were look ing for a shepherd, for one who would strengthen and confirm them in the faith and to whom they keys would be given.
The allusions to the texts in John, Luke and Matthew, will be obvious, and they are the texts in Scripture upon which Peter's mandate rested. That mandate has now been given to John Paul II. The crowd was waiting for a Pope; it was delighted to get John Paul 11, the brave son of a great Catholic country, now the spiritual father of us all.