In a 2011 interview with a Catholic Argentinian news agency, then-cardinal Bergoglio warned against the temptation of priests to "clericalize the laity" and to "infect them with our own disease" without realizing it. "We cannot fall into that trap – it is a sinful complicity," he said.
This is an idea he has pushed with full force since the beginning of his pontificate. In his first major event after being elected as Successor of Peter in 2013, Pope Francis told a group of Argentine youth during WYD in Rio de Janiero that he hoped "for a mess ... that the Church takes to the streets. That we defend ourselves from comfort, that we defend ourselves from clericalism."
He has consistently spoken out about the issue since, most recently in an April 26, 2016, letter to the Pontifical Commission for Latin America in which he skewered the clerical mentality on the continent as "one of the greatest distortions" facing the local Church.
"We'd do well to recall that the Church is not an elite (group of) priests, of consecrated people, of bishops but all of us make up the faithful and Holy People of God," he said, explaining that it's "illogical and even impossible for us as pastors to believe that we have the monopoly on solutions for the numerous challenges thrown up by contemporary life."
Given his recent appointments, Francis is following through and letting his words become actions by allowing the laity to have more space in decision-making posts in the Vatican.
Coupled with Francis' desire to suppress a clericalist attitude has been his great push to have a stronger, louder lay voice within the Church.
In the same 2011 interview with the Argentine agency, Bergoglio said that the reform that's needed in the Church is "neither to clericalize nor ask to be clericalized," but to encourage laypeople to embrace their role, evangelizing in everyday life within their families, workplaces, schools and neighborhoods.
This idea has been present since the Pope first began his reform by establishing the Council of Cardinals as an advisory body on Church governance and reform. During the council's first round of meetings in October 2013, the topic of the laity came up as one of the most urgent issues to address.
In a press briefing after the conclusion of the meetings, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. said the council planned "to give more specific attention" to the laity, so that so that issues surrounding them could be "properly and effectively recognized and followed by the governance of the Church."
During the October 2015 Synod of Bishops on the Family, Pope Francis announced his decision to establish a new Vatican department dedicated to Laity, Family and Life, set to go into effect Sept. 1, 2016.
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While explaining the structure of the new department, he made it clear that the members would include not only consecrated persons, but also laypeople, both men and women, who work in different fields from around the world.
Though it's not yet certain who will head the new office, the Pope has said on previous occasions that a department dedicated to the topics of family and the laity could be headed by either a married couple or a lay individual.
His decision to put two laypeople in charge of the Holy See Press Office, then, shows that he means what he says, and that as his reform continues to move forward, he won't be shy in breaking away from traditional structural compositions.
This is also evident in Francis' appointment of Daniels, Schächter and Soberón, which, strictly speaking, breaks with the outline that has since 1988 governed the Curial structure. However, while the rules of Pastor Bonus remain intact, a whole new set of guidelines is expected to come out of Pope Francis' reform.
The fact that Garcia Ovejero is the first woman – and a laywoman for that matter – to ever be appointed as deputy spokesperson for the Holy See is a prime example of what Pope Francis has asked for several times in calling for a more "incisive" feminine presence in the Church.