I think the MSM’s focus, and this has become an increasingly used sledgehammer AGAINST the Catholic Church, is the issue of sexual abuses by the clergy. No doubt some has occurred, but the MSM likes to portray that all members of the Catholic clergy are pervs, and that their bishops are engaged in massive coverups. As I just said, there is no question that these things have occurred, but I don’t think it is as widespread as the MSM portrays in their hysterical hype.
That’s what the MSM means by “reform” (exposing this “conspiracy” and taking action that THEY deem appropriate), and it is a very narrow meaning. There is a much larger meaning of “reform”, but this very narrow issue is brought out every time the Church attempts to move, and used as though it were a valid way to cast doubt on other efforts the Church makes.
“Yeah, BUT your priests blah, blah, blah . . ., so how can you blah, blah, blah . . .”
It’s like when a child gets caught smoking, and attempts to divert attention by saying “Well, Johnny’s parents let him . . .”
There are two elements to a Pope’s impact on the man in the street.
First, there is the management element. The sexual abuse issue is a part of that, but other than that, management, good or bad, has very little DIRECT impact on the man in the street. It (the management element) is primarily the Pontif’s ability to control the Roman Curia, a group of Italian Cardinals who jealously guard their running of the Vatican and complicate things with turf wars.
In the recent past, Popes haven’t really been focused on managing the Vatican, rather they have been focused on being “holy men”, and hence being regarded by the masses as such. Ratzinger was good at neither.
But that’s the second element of a Pope’s role . . . his “holiness” and his ability to communicate with the masses. And in that regard, John Paul II (Karol Józef Wojtyła) was eminently qualified, did an extraordinary job, and set the standard for all modern Popes. Whether J.P.II was a good manager, I have no idea . . . but my sense is that his subordinates were swayed by his holiness rather than any stern management directives (hard to imagine him doing that kind of thing anyway.) Whether he controlled the Curia, again I have no idea.
So, the ideal Pope would be one that both gave the aura of holiness and was an efficient manager. Whether Francis is going to be able to fill both those roles, I don’t know.