Pope Francis, a pontificate that (also) looks backward


Pope Francis has often warned against ”indietrism” in this last period of his pontificate. It is an unwieldy term in English, but there’s nothing arcane about it. The word comes from the Italian, indietro – “backward” – and could be rendered “backwardism” without too much trouble.

He has repeatedly warned that attending to the history of the Church does not mean looking backward; that tradition is not the preservation of ashes. He’s not wrong about any of that, but he has used the rhetorical trope – an effective homiletic – to justify some acts of his Church governance.

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