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Former seminary teacher, colleague reflects on leadership of Pope Francis

March 06, 2014

A Jesuit seminary instructor who once taught Pope Francis says that the Pontiff is leading a “revolution of tenderness.”

Father Juan Carlos Scannone, a veteran instructor at the San Miguel seminary in Argentina, knew Jorge Bergoglio first as a student and later as a faculty colleague and a bishop. He told the ANSA news service that the future Pontiff urged him to be careful during the years of military rule, and defended him against charges that he was a Marxist sympathizer. Father Scannone—who is sometimes identified with the liberation-theology movement, but always carefully distanced himself from Marxists—said that the future Pope “defended me, saying I was orthodox and trustworthy.”

Reflecting on his former student’s ascent to the papacy, Father Sannone said that the Pontiff is “able to switch into a new role; he knows how to embrace a new mission.” He added: “He has a lot of experience and is able to adapt, always remaining faithful to who he is.”


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