Former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Ray Flynn said the selection of Argentina’s Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to become the spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics may be indicative of the Church’s desire to clean house.
“Don’t underestimate what a man in his 70s can do,” Flynn told Fox News on Wednesday. “I walk eight miles a day.”
Flynn, the former mayor of Boston, had predicted that the Cardinals might consider a Latin American to replace Pope Benedict XVI, who stunned the world when he announced his retirement in February.
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Unlike other Popes, Francis I does not appear to be beholden to the Vatican Curia, which has been rocked by scandals.
“You have to act independently and do what’s in the best interest of the common good,” said Flynn. “I think that’s what Francis the First has because he’s coming from a place that is not part of the European tradition. It’s not part of the Italian tradition.”
Flynn believes Cardinal Bergoglio’s independence was his source of appeal.
“I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that’s what the College of Cardinals were thinking, bringing in an outsider,” he said.
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