Some say the new Pope is a “conservative”, others call him a “progressivist”: How do you explain these divergent opinions?
“I wouldn’t say these two adjectives are in a strict sense negative. A priest may sometimes be called a “progressivist” because of bold steps taken in his pastoral ministry, while on other occasions, prudence drives him to be “conservative”, that is to take the same line others have taken, as change is unnecessary. So both are adequate descriptions of Bergoglio.
The more conservative currents within the Church expected a stronger and more determined response to certain questions, such as his relations with the Argentinean government, some moral issues, the liturgy and tougher punishment for potential misbehaviour by priests. Hence they labelled him as a “progressivist”. At the same time, “progressivists” wanted more radical actions and speeches from him, but he preferred to exercise caution and avoid such gestures.
So I think everything links back to the expectations one has of a bishop and the areas one sees as important. However, I can assure you that it is difficult to sum Bergoglio up in just one word. This is the reason he has sometimes been accused of being ambiguous and why it often appears that his gestures and words need to be interpreted. His style is, in actual fact, “evangelical”, given that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a reference to the old but is open to the new as well. Even preaching the Gospel triggered tensions and opposition…and a bit of mystery.”
Link (here) to the full interview with Fr. Martin Garcia Aguirre, S.J. at Vatican Insider