Today is the second anniversary of the election of the Pope.
As regular readers will be aware I do not often comment on current Papal policies and the speculation about what they mean, largely because I am not sure what to make of it all. Indeed I am not sure what to make of the Pope.
Some friends think he is wonderful ( but usually without specifying why ), others are very critical of everything that emanates from the Vatican - and that is true not least also in much of the coverage in the blogosphere. Others say little but clearly have strong views and opinions, and concomitant concerns, about the direction or directions in which the Church appears to be heading. A recent example is Fr Blake's recent post The Great Divide.
Pope Francis clearly resonates with many, reaching out to the poor and the Third World, open to many contemporary issues and concerns. Nevertheless there is a sense of drift and uncertainty. Some voices who know or visit Rome speak of a lack of direction, and that that is how the Vatican officials see the situation.
The continuing saga of the Franciscans of Immaculate, and the rumours and theories that abound about that situation, is indicative for many of what is amiss these days.
This is, perhaps more even than seems to be usual these days, a Pontificate of rumours and theories - conspiracy theories abound, and, however ridiculous they may be, do no good to the image and work of the Papacy or the Church.
The Pope represents a strong contrast in the liturgy and in his Pontifical style to his predecessor. With Pope Benedict - Pope of surprises that he was on occasion - you still felt you knew where you were and what his fundamental message and aims were. With Pope Francis that is far less clear.
The meeting of the Synod last autumn summed up many of these issues - the possibility of change, genuine disquiet at that prospect - and plenty of speculation and rumour. It ended with the sense of two factions lining up for the next conclave, which may be very interesting, but how good it all is for the Church may be another matter.