James Downey: All the signs are there – Pope Francis could lead Catholic Reformation
When Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council half-a-century ago, he filled liberal Catholics with hope and enthusiasm. They looked forward to the triumph of "aggiornamento" – a bringing up to date, a coming to terms with the modern age, for the church.
Others were less pleased. Archbishop Giovanni Montini feared it would stir up a "hornets' nest". At the time, he was considered a moderniser. But when he became Pope Paul VI, he began what looked like a counter-revolution.
Since then, the Holy Roman Church has grown ever more authoritarian and intolerant, more insistent on obedience to doctrine and more narrow in its style of governance.