By Juan M.C. Oliver 

Juan Oliver

Juan Oliver

On March 13, as Cardinal Tauran named the new pope, I posted on Facebook, “It´s Bergoglio!” An old friend and wag immediately posted back, “Is that a wine or an olive oil?”

With everyone else I started trying to find out more about the new pope. Yet the image of wine and oil stayed with me since, for one thing, wine and oil are featured in the biblical story of the Good Samaritan — of how an outsider was the only one to care for a wounded man left on the street, pouring wine and oil on his wounds, not his priest, not his deacon, not his compatriots.

The Roman Catholic Church lies wounded by the side of the street. For too long its Curia, the Roman bureaucratic administration has passed by it and looked the other way, living in a culture of closets, secrecy and intrigue, sworn to omertá — the mafia’s code of silence. It’s a very sick puppy.

The outsiders who might come to the help of a wounded church are kept at bay systematically. In the last 30 years over 150 top notch theologians have been silenced, nuns are kept in their place, when not investigated, and Dignity, the association of Catholic LGBT people, can no longer meet in Catholic churches.

Can we expect the new pope to be the Samaritan? Will Francis be a bracing, cleansing wine, washing the filthy wounds? Will he be the oil that softens tissues and prevents scars? Read More…