Sobre aquello de trabajar en la Curia Vaticana…

Desde dentro ves la importancia y el gran servicio que presta la Curia romana a las Iglesias particulares, el trabajo ingente y silencioso que se lleva a cabo, el sumo cuidado que se tiene en atender a sus demandas y necesidades, la labor enorme que se despliega en su conjunto… La Curia es necesaria, y hasta imprescindible, diría, como servicio de comunión y de aliento. Seguramente se podrían y se deberían renovar cosas para hacerla más ágil, rápida, “pastoral” y de mayor interacción y de mayor fecundación mutua entre sus diversos dicasterios y entre los que en ella trabajamos; tal vez, piensan algunos, se requeriría que fuese más dinamizadora y animadora, en cierto modo, como el gran motor de la Iglesia; creo que lo es y puede y debe serlo aún más, sin ahogar nada. Todo eso es posible; depende de todos.

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Arab democracy and the return of the Mediterranean world

With the toppling of autocratic regimes in Egypt and Tunisia – and other Arab dictators, such as Libya’s, on the ropes – some have euphorically announced the arrival of democracy in the Middle East. But something more subtle may develop. The regimes that emerge may call themselves democracies and the world may go along with the lie, but the test of a system is how the power relationships work behind the scenes.

In states with relatively strong institutional traditions, such as Tunisia and Egypt, a form of democracy may in fact develop. But places that are less states than geographical expressions, such as Libya and Yemen, are more likely to produce hybrid regimes. Within such systems – with which history is very familiar – militaries, internal security services, tribes and inexperienced political parties compete for influence. The process produces incoherence and instability even as it combines attributes of authoritarianism and democracy. This is not anarchy so much as a groping toward true modernity.

Another obstacle to full-bore democracies emerging quickly across the Middle East is simply that young people, while savvy in the ways of social media and willing to defy bullets, can bring down a system, but they cannot necessarily govern. Hierarchical organizations are required to govern. And as those develop we will see various mixed systems – various grays instead of democracy vs. dictatorship in black-and-white terms.

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