Just last week, in a meeting with Sicilian clergy, Francis told the priests that it wasn't always appropriate to use “grandma's lace” in their vestments and to update their liturgical garb to be in touch with current times and follow in the spirit of Vatican II.
“It is also true that it takes a century for a council to take root. We still have forty years to make it take root, then!” he told the editors.
Speaking about the church in Germany, Francis also warned that he still had an offer of resignation in hand for the archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, who faced strong criticism for his handling of the church’s sexual abuse scandal.
Francis gave Woelki a “time out” of several months last September, but still hasn’t definitively ruled on his future. That has kept the situation in Cologne uncertain and frustrated the head of the German bishops’ conference, who has pressed for a decision one way or the other.
“When the situation was very turbulent, I asked the archbishop to go away for six months, so that things would calm down and I could see clearly,” Francis said. “When he came back, I asked him to write a resignation letter. He did and gave it to me. And he wrote an apology letter to the diocese. I left him in his place to see what would happen, but I have his resignation in hand.”