This week's INM Irish regional newspapers' column.
On Tuesday October 18 Italian journalist and Vatican watcher Marco Politi gave a talk at the Loyola Institute, Trinity College, Dublin.
Politi is Vatican correspondent for the prestigious Italian newspaper 'La Republica'. He is also the author of 'Pope Francis Among The Wolves: the Inside Story of a Revolution'
In an interview on RTE Radio I he said the 'wolves' in his book referred to the conservatives who don't want to see any change happening in the church.
Politi has been observing Vatican politics for many decades. He is greatly impressed with Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
He pointed out how John Paul II was the first 'global pope' in that he travelled the world. He was succeeded by Pope Benedict, "who was able to hold the rudder". He feels that it is significant that Francis comes from a large metropolis, which has a strong anti-clerical tradition.
The Italian journalist acknowledges that Pope Francis wants to end all semblances of an imperial papacy and that he places great stress on collegiality. For Politi, Pope Francis believes that the Catholic Church can learn from the Orthodox Church when it comes to making the church a less imperial organisation.
He listed a number of areas where Pope Francis is clearly attempting to open a new page in the church. He spoke about his efforts in reforming the curia, his desire to give women roles that will place them in positions where they can make decisions. And to back up this point he noted how Francis is allowing free discussion on the issue of women deacons.
Pope Francis is setting about examining all 18,000 accounts at the Vatican Bank and the Vatican has now signed the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
Politi gave a number of examples how Francis has shown his mettle when it comes to dealing with clerical child sex abuse and he believes Francis also wants to rid the church of sexual obsession.
He sees it as something of a revolution that Pope Francis is going to Sweden to celebrate the Reformation against the advice of Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who is the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Politi concentrated much of his talk on some of the interesting appointments that Pope Francis has made and how in the latest list of new cardinals, archdioceses which would normally expect to have cardinals at the help, did not receive red hats.
During the question and answer session he was asked if he was aware of what life is like in the Irish church. It was pointed out to him that there are those who will say that Pope Francis is all talk and no action.
And the reason given was that the newly appointed bishops in Ireland don't seem to bear any signs of the progressive thinking of Pope Francis. The comment made was that there is no significant inspirational figure among any of the recent episcopal appointments.
Politi acknowledged that the pope is involved in an uphill battle and gave an example of how a senior Opus Dei cleric recorded secret talks at the Vatican. "Could you ever imagine that happening in a Barack Obama or Angela Merkel cabinet? It would be unthinkable. But it happened in the church," he said.
Politics is often a nasty game and listening to Marco Politi in Trinity College, one got the impression that politics is alive and well in the church and the former archbishop of Buenos Aires is a wily old Jesuit, who is willing to fight his corner and take on a conservative brigade, who is scared of change.