Taken together, these developments suggest not only that Pope Francis is pressing ahead, but that his example is emboldening others.
Under ordinary circumstances, a religious order's general chapter is nobody's idea of a news event. Basically a business meeting for representatives of the order from around the world, a general chapter typically is consumed by minutiae and insider baseball, and elections for new leaders are often of interest only to the candidates themselves -- sometimes, honestly, not much even to them.
For the embattled Legionaries of Christ, however, the circumstances are anything but ordinary.
NCR Today: In his choice of new cardinals, Pope Francis both respected tradition and broke from it.
For his first crop of new cardinals, Pope Francis seems to be using red hats to teach, offering a lesson in the realities of life in a global church.
Since publication of my article "Who are going to be the new cardinals?", I have received numerous emails complaining that their archbishop was not listed among the 23 most likely to be cardinals. Since comments have been temporarily suspended, I will give voice to these readers here.
Pope Francis so far has been mostly mum on the topic of abortion, choosing instead to center the issue around the bigger picture of social justice.
"When he invited me [onto the popemobile], he invited all priests to be near the people," Fr. Fabian Baez said.
As the Legionaries of Christ started their extraordinary general chapter, the cardinal overseeing the troubled congregation said scandal had taken a toll on its finances, but that members had made progress in overcoming the moral and administrative legacy of their disgraced founder.
Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, the papal delegate to the Legionaries, spoke in an interview with Vatican Radio broadcast Thursday, the chapter's first working day. The cardinal had formally opened the gathering by concelebrating Mass with members of the congregation the previous evening.
One list of those who have a "better chance" of being appointed cardinal based on historical experience contains 23 names. The trouble is there are only 14 vacancies.
Analysis: Pope Francis is generating the kind of Internet buzz brand managers dream of. But is he a victim of his own good press?