We have just celebrated the fifth anniversary of the election of Pope Francis. The question journalists are trying to respond to, gathering analyses and opinions, seems to be: How has the Church changed over the last five years? But this question risks overlooking a significant fact: the Church is always changing, for it walks the path of history with humanity. And every pontiff has influenced his times and has contributed in one way or another to the journey of the Church in the world. Like all pontiffs, Francis has felt called to express his vision on the world and the Church.
The way of Pope Francis is prophetic: it is taken by someone who knows how to confer on the movement of history its true relationship with the design of God. Francis is a pope of the Second Vatican Council, not because he promotes it or defends it constantly, but because he has grasped the intimate value of a rereading of the Gospel in the light of contemporary experience. In particular, we recall that Paul VI, in his closing address to the Fourth Session of the Council, had defined charity as “the religion of our Council,” recalling “the old story of the Good Samaritan.” And for Francis this is what the Church has to be: a “Samaritan Church,” a “field hospital” – as he described it in the interview he granted to La Civiltà Cattolica in August 2013 – a Church that is a “home for all,” something he has repeated many times.