Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pope Francis Roundup

News

  • Pope Francis: the priest of the slums The Telegraph UK. 03/08/12. Peter Stanford, author and former editor of the Catholic Herald, retraces the trip Pope Francis used to take to the outskirts of Buenos Aires to try to understand the man who was known as 'the priest of the slums'.
  • The Pope appoints 8 cardinals and 7 lay people to the new Council for the Economy La Stampa "Vatican Insider" 03/08/14. The Pope has appointed eight cardinals and seven lay people as members of the Vatican Council of the Economy which is to be co-ordinated by the cardinal Archbishop of Munich, Reinhard Marx. Their mandate will last five years. The Secretariat for the Economy, essentially the Vatican “ministry of finance”, was established just a few days ago and Australian cardinal George Pell chosen as its head.
  • Francis Gives an Ignatian Twist to the 2014 Vatican Lenten Retreat, by Edward Pentin. National Catholic Register 03/07/14. Drawing on the spirituality of the founder of his Jesuit order, the Holy Father has moved this year’s retreat to a secluded retreat center near Castel Gandolfo.
  • Francis: I carry crucifix I took from a dead priest, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic Herald UK. 03/06/14.
  • Bergoglio opens Castel Gandolfo gardens to the public La Stampa "Vatican Insider" 03/03/14. As of 1 March tourists will be able to visit the Barberini gardens and admire the natural beauty and archaeological treasures of the surroundings.
  • Pope Francis overhauls Vatican finances, names Australian cardinal George Pell as comptroller Religion News Service. 02/24/14. Pope Francis launched a sweeping reform of the Vatican’s scandal-plagued financial system by naming one of his closest advisers on reform, Australian Cardinal George Pell, to head a powerful new department that will oversee the entire management of the Holy See.
  • http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/english-translation-of-pope-francis-corriere-della-sera-interview ZENIT publishes below the first English translation of Pope Francis’ interview with Ferruccio de Bortoli that appeared today in Corriere della Sera. The text has been published by kind permission of the newspaper's director.
    • Francis: the Pope is “a normal person”, not Superman La Stampa 03/05/14. In an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera, Pope Francis says he is a normal person, not superman, and speaks about the family, child abuse, foreign trips, relations with the Orthodox, China, and how he governs the Church.
    • Pope, in interview, suggests church could tolerate some civil unions, by Francis X. Rocca. Catholic News Service. 03/05/14. "Pope Francis suggested the Catholic Church could tolerate some types of nonmarital civil unions as a practical measure to guarantee property rights and health care. He also said the church would not change its teaching against artificial birth control but should take care to apply it with 'much mercy.'"
    • Italian Editor Calls Interview with Francis 'Extraordinary Privilege' Zenit News Agency. 03/06/14. “A great emotion, an extraordinary privilege.” These were the words Ferruccio de Bortoli, editor in chief of the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, used to describe his recent interview with Pope Francis.
    • Pope Gives New Interview to Secular Newspaper, by Edward Pentin. National Catholic Register 03/05/14:
      This is Pope Francis' sixth interview to the mainstream media. Some in the Vatican have quietly expressed disappointment that the Holy Father has so far only given interviews to the secular press and denied any to his own media outlets such as Vatican Television, Vatican Radio or the semi-official Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. But Benedict XVI and Blessed John Paul II didn’t do so either, most probably as part of a strategy to reach out and evangelize secular society.
  • Pope Francis Lets A Vulgarity Slip During Vatican Address, by Bill Chappell. NPR. 03/03/14. It was a simple slip of the tongue, people say. But when the pope accidentally utters a vulgarity during a public speech, people notice. That's what happened during Sunday's weekly blessing by Pope Francis, sparking a flurry of comments on social media.
  • "Who Am I to Judge? Pope Francis T-Shirt Celebrates Diversity" PR Newswire (via Rorate Caeli). 02/27/14. "'Who am I to judge?' -- This universal message is especially timely with the recent news about Michael Sam and Ellen Page coming out. However, "Who Am I to Judge?" goes beyond the gay, lesbian and LGBT community. It's a global message that applies to communities and Archetypes everywhere."
  • Pope Francis, with retired Pope Benedict present, creates new cardinals, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service. 02/26/14:
    In his homily Pope Francis did not mention the standard point that the cardinals' new red vestments are symbols of the call to serve Christ and his church to the point of shedding their blood if necessary. Rather, he focused on their being called to follow Christ more closely, to build up the unity of the church and to proclaim the Gospel more courageously.

    The Bible, he said, is filled with stories of Jesus walking with his disciples and teaching them as they traveled.

    "This is important," the pope said. "Jesus did not come to teach a philosophy, an ideology, but rather a 'way,' a journey to be undertaken with him, and we learn the way as we go, by walking."

    After listening to a reading of Mark 10:32-45, Pope Francis also spoke about the very human, worldly temptation of "rivalry, jealousy (and) factions" the first disciples faced.

    The reading is a warning to the cardinals and to all Christians to put aside concerns of power and favoritism and "to become ever more of one heart and soul" gathered around the Lord, he said.

  • Pope at audience: Make sure your children are confirmed by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service. 01/29/14:
    Many Catholic parents go to great lengths to ensure their children are baptized, and they must make similar efforts to see that their children are confirmed, Pope Francis said.

    Without confirmation, he said, young people will remain "halfway" on the path of Christian maturity and membership in the church.

  • Francis: “It’s absurd to claim that we love Christ without the Church” La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 01/30/14. Loving Christ but not the Church makes no sense. This was Francis’ message at this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House. The Pope also emphasised the three pillars of belonging to the Church: humility, faithfulness and prayer.

Commemoration: Pope Francis' First Year

  • Virtual Booklet Marks Francis' 1st Year as Pope The Vatican has prepared a virtual book to mark the one-year anniversary of Pope Francis' election. Called "Do We Want to Become Holy? Yes or No?", the 36-page book includes some of the most striking of Francis' messages since he became the Successor of St. Peter last March 13. Zenit News Agency. 03/07/14.
  • Pope Francis - the first year: From atheists to gay marriage, 12 months in his own words Independent.co.uk 03/07/14. "In his first year as pontiff, Pope Francis has enjoyed a very positive media image compared to his predecessors. He is certainly the first pope to have been compared to both a rock star and to Superman."
  • Pope Francis - the first year: Is the rebel too good to be true?, by Paul Vallely. 03/08/14. He is cleaning up the Vatican bank. He thinks the Catholic Church should worry less about homosexuality and more about the poor. He has ruffled feathers - but, asks his biographer Paul Vallelly, is he as radical as he seems?
  • Pope Francis wants you to get over him, by Michelle Boorstein. Washington Post 03/07/14. "If you’ve posted inspiring Pope Francis quotes on Facebook, if you’ve devoured every article about him, if you’re banking on him to revolutionize a tradition-heavy, 2,000-year-old institution by force of personality, Francis has a message for you."

Commentary

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pope Francis Roundup

News

  • Feathers fly at the Vatican after Pope's doves attacked by gull and crow Slate 01/26/14. (Associated Press reports: "Fate of white doves unclear").
  • Francis thanks the many holy priests who give their lives in the anonymity of their daily service La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 01/27/14:
    At this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House, Francis asked: “do the papers carry news of what great charity so many priests, so many priests in so many parishes of the city and the countryside, perform? Of the great work they do in carrying their people forward? No? This is not news.”
  • Pope Francis Prays (and Tweets) for March for Life. Catholic News Agency / EWTN News. 01/22/14:
    Pope Francis sent a tweet offering support for the annual March for Life in Washington, praying that all human life would be valued.

    I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable,” he told his 3.5 million English-speaking Twitter followers Jan. 22.

    The Pope sent the same message in Spanish to his Spanish-speaking Twitter followers, who number more than 4.5 million.

    (See also: Not Part of the Script—Pope Francis' Critique of Abortion Ignored, Spun by Media, by Joanne Frawley Desmond. 01/15/14).
  • Pope's Message to World Economic Forum - Full Text National Catholic Register 01/21/14:
    Pope Francis has sent a message to the World Economic Forum in Davos, delivered by Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, on Jan. 21.
  • Pope Francis Visits Parish Serving Homeless, Poor in Rome’s Center National Catholic Register 01/21/14.
  • Pope invites Christian and Muslim refugees to share each others suffering and faith La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 01/20/14:
    The Pope asked young people to “cause a stir” on Church reform during the course of a closed-door meeting with youth from the parish of the Basilica dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Castro Pretorio, near Rome’s termini railway station. Francis went on a four-hour visit of the parish yesterday afternoon. During today’s meeting Francis confided that he also felt “suffering” and invited those among them who were Christians who read the Bible and those of them who were Muslims and read the Koran to share their suffering and faith because there is one single God, one same God.
  • Pope to moms: It's OK to breast-feed in public, even in Sistine Chapel, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service. 01/13/14:
    No chorus is as wonderful as the squeaks, squeals and banter of children, the pope said during a Mass in which he baptized 32 babies on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Jan. 12.
  • Pope names 16 new cardinal-electors, from 12 countries and all continents La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 01/12/14. Francis will create 16 new cardinal electors on February 22, and give red hats to 3 who are over the age of 80 that cannot vote in a conclave. Five are from “the peripheries”. His first consistory shows he is beginning a process to limit significantly the number of electors from Europe and the Roman Curia.
  • Pope orders new rules on relations between bishops, religious orders, by Francis X. Rocca. Catholic News Service. 01/02/14:
    Pope Francis referred to "Mutuae Relationes," a set of directives issued jointly by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for Religious in 1978. The document said that religious orders are part of the local church, though with their own internal organization, and that their "right to autonomy" should never be considered as independence from the local church.

    "That document was useful at the time but is now outdated," the pope said. "The charisms of the various institutes need to be respected and fostered because they are needed in dioceses."

  • Pope Francis makes visit to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for Christmas Telegraph UK. 12/24/13:
    ... “It is a pleasure to see you looking so well,” Pope Francis told his 86-year-old predecessor, who met him at the door of the ex-convent where he has been living in isolation.

    Pope Francis was accompanied by his person secretaries and also greeted members of Pope Benedict’s “pontifical family,” which include Archbishop George Gaenswein, prefect of the Pontifical Household and Benedict's personal secretary, as well as the “Memores Domini,” a small group of consecrated women who help him.

    The two walked to a nearby chapel to pray, Pope Benedict with the aid of an ivory-handled wooden cane.

    They then held private talks for a half hour. Photos showed the two popes in white robes chatting in one of Pope Benedict’s sitting rooms, its all-white interior decorated with religious art and a Christmas wreath with red candles flickering on the coffee table.

    It is the first time the inside of Benedict’s retirement residence has been shown. When the two parted, Pope Francis said “Merry Christmas, pray for me,” to which Benedict replied “Always, always, always.”

Commentary

  • Is Francis Building Benedict’s Church?, by Timothy Kirchoff. Ethika Politika 01/13/14:
    It does not take much imagination to see the connection between the poisonous spirituality of the scribes and pharisees and the appearance-focused spiritualities that Francis has recognized as obstacles to the realization of the Church’s vocation in the world. Francis and Benedict, in presenting their shared prescription for the modern Church, are not merely showing continuity with each other, but with Christ.
  • How popes, baptism, marriage, and form, all come together by Dr. Ed Peters:(In the Light of the Law 1/12/14):
    if the pope’s action today was as reported (again, we don’t know that yet), pastors who delay a baby’s baptism in order to help reactivate the Faith in the baby’s parents are going to have a harder time doing that as word gets out about the pope’s (apparently) different approach to the rite. Whether that was the message Francis intended to send is irrelevant to whether that is the message that he seems to have sent.

    But, I suggest, the whole question of whether to baptize the baby of these parents surfaces a yet deeper question. ... [W]hether canonical form—a remedy that nearly all would agree has outlived the disease it was designed to cure (clandestine marriage)—should be still be required for Catholics or whether the price of demanding the observance of canonical form has become too high for the pastoral good it might serve.

    [See also: "Cdl. Bergoglio’s comments on baptism are being misapplied by folks debating Pope Francis’ baptismal actions" -- response to John Allen, Jr.].
  • Capitalism and the Pope, by Guy Sorman. City Journal. Winter 2014. "Francis’s criticisms of the free market ignore its usefulness."
  • Francis gives priest a ride on the Popemobile: “Come! Hop in!” La Stampa 01/09/14. Vatican Insider interviews Fabián Báez, the Argentinean priest Francis spotted among the crowd in St. Peter’s Square at yesterday’s General Audience, offering him a ride on the Popemobile.
  • Pope Francis, Economics, and Poverty, by James V. Schall, SJ. Comments made by Cardinal Bergoglio in 2010 shed light on his understanding of capitalism, work, and the poor. Catholic World Report January 6, 2014.
  • Who am I to judge? - A Radical Pope's First Year, by James Carroll. New Yorker 12/23/13. A characteristically progressive assessment of Francis' first year:
    "Who am I to judge?" With those five words, spoken in late July in reply to a reporter’s question about the status of gay priests in the Church, Pope Francis stepped away from the disapproving tone, the explicit moralizing typical of Popes and bishops. This gesture of openness, which startled the Catholic world, would prove not to be an isolated event. In a series of interviews and speeches in the first few months after his election, in March, the Pope unilaterally declared a kind of truce in the culture wars that have divided the Vatican and much of the world. Repeatedly, he argued that the Church’s purpose was more to proclaim God’s merciful love for all people than to condemn sinners for having fallen short of strictures, especially those having to do with gender and sexual orientation. His break from his immediate predecessors—John Paul II, who died in 2005, and Benedict XVI, the traditionalist German theologian who stepped down from the papacy in February—is less ideological than intuitive, an inclusive vision of the Church centered on an identification with the poor. From this vision, theological and organizational innovations flow. The move from rule by non-negotiable imperatives to leadership by invitation and welcome is as fundamental to the meaning of the faith as any dogma.
  • On the pope’s selection as Person of the Year...by the LGBT community, by Dr. Jeff Mirus. CatholicCulture.org. 12/17/13.
  • Snippets From an Exhortation: The Anti-Modernism of Pope Francis, by John Medaille. Catholic Lane. 12/16/13.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Pope Francis Roundup

News
  • Pope proclaims sainthood of Jesuit companion of St. Ignatius Catholic News Service. 12/17/13. Pope Francis issued a decree declaring one of his favorite Jesuits, Blessed Peter Faber, a saint.
  • Happy Birthday Holy Father! - Pope Francis invited four homeless people to celebrate his 77th birthday at the Vatican. National Catholic Register 12/17/13.
  • Pope Francis makes significant changes in the Congregation for Bishops (La Stampa); Francis Dumps U.S. Cardinal Who Is Outspoken Critic Of Abortion, Gay Marriage (Associated Press); Reality Check: Burke's star will shine on, by Thomas Peters (CatholicVote.com) 12/17/13:
    The knives are out for Cardinal Burke this morning. He’s on the next plane out of Rome after Pope Francis sacked him and summarily ended all of his duties this morning. . . . Oh wait, that’s not what happened.
  • Pope Francis’ Christmas Gift to Rome’s Poor: Phone Cards and Metro Tickets, by Kathy Schiffer. Seasons of Grace 12/16/13. On his first Christmas as Pope, the Holy Father is giving 2,000 prepaid telephone cards and 4,000 day tickets for the Metro, Rome’s underground rail system, to Rome’s poorest and most marginalized citizens.
  • Padua prison inmates send Francis Italian panettoni for Christmas La Stampa 12/07/13:
    Benedict XVI was the first Pope to place an order in for 250 Christmas treats produced by Giotto’s prisoner workforce. Given that it’s Vatican spending review time, it was thought that the Pope would not be placing an order this year. But Francis decided to continue the tradition and will be offering a number of home made Christmas sweets, prepared by the prisoners. Bergoglio’s fondness for the prisoners is no secret: every eleven days, on a Sunday, he calls up a group of them who are being held in an Argentinean establishment. “When I telephone the prisoners I ask myself: “Why not me? … Why did he fall and I didn’t? Because we have the same weaknesses and for me it is a mystery that makes me pray and brings me closer to the,” Francis told the prison chaplains.

    “We are so grateful to Francis for continuing this tradition. It means so much to our inmates. The cooperative employs 120 prisoners, 15 of them externally. A part from the pastry lab there is also a catering service that employs another 25 prisoners,” Mr. Boscoletto stated.

  • Pope Francis Creates Commission on Sexual Abuse National Catholic Register 12/06/13. Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, a member of the council, told reporters this afternoon that the creation of the commission continues “decisively along the lines undertaken by Pope Benedict XVI.”
  • Pope, cardinal council begin work on reorganizing Roman Curia Catholic News Service. 12/4/13. Pope Francis and the eight members of his international Council of Cardinals have begun their discussions on specific ways to reorganize the Roman Curia with the aim of "a renewal that will truly be a service to the universal church," the Vatican spokesman said.
  • Pope ramps up charity office to be near poor, sick Associated Press. 11/29/13:
    As Americans gathered for Thanksgiving on Thursday, Krajewski described how Francis has redefined the little known office of papal almoner and explained the true meaning of giving during a chat with journalists over coffee and pastries a few steps from the Vatican gates.

    "The Holy Father told me at the beginning: 'You can sell your desk. You don't need it. You need to get out of the Vatican. Don't wait for people to come ringing. You need to go out and look for the poor,'" Krajewski said.

    Krajewski gets his marching orders each morning: A Vatican gendarme goes from the Vatican hotel where Francis lives to Krajewski's office across the Vatican gardens, bringing a bundle of letters that the pope has received from the faithful asking for help. On the top of each letter, Francis might write "You know what to do" or "Go find them" or "Go talk to them."

  • Pope Dedicates 2015 to "Year of Consecrated Life" Zenit. 11/29/13.
  • Pope Names Personal Secretary to Oversee Financial Reforms Zenit 11/28/13. Msgr. Alfred Xuereb will inform the Pope on the working procedures of the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) -- colloquially known as the Vatican Bank -- as well as Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organisation of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See.
  • Pope Francis, the comic book hero Argentine pope features as a cartoon character in a children's comic that has gone on sale across Italy. Telegraph UK. 11/28/13.
  • Argentina weighs putting Pope Francis' face on a coin CNN. 11/27/13.
  • Study finds massive 'Francis effect' in Italy, by John Allen Jr. National Catholic Reporter 11/11/13. One of Italy’s best known sociologists of religion says more than half the country’s pastors report an increase in attendance at Mass and the sacrament of reconciliation that they attribute to a “Francis effect,” and that “hundreds of thousands” of Italians have returned to the practice of the faith because of the new pope.

Commentary

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pope Francis' Evangelii Gaudium

Please note - this is an ongoing compilation of reactions to, and reflections on, Pope Francis' Evangelii Gaudium. This post will be updated with further content.

Full Text of Evangelii Gaudium


News Coverage

A survey of reactions from all quarters, political and religious

On Economic Matters

Because while the exhortation contains much, much more -- progressives and conservatives alike will harp on this topic. The former believing themselves vindicated by the Pope's remarks, the latter finding cause to critique.
  • Agreeing with Pope Francis, by Michael Novak. National Review 12/07/13. The exhortation looks very different read through the lens of Argentine experience.
  • Evangelii Gaudium and Acton. Opus Publicum addressing the questions that Fr. Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute put to Francis in his response to EG.
  • Morality and economics, Pope Francis, and Rush Limbaugh, by Matt C. Abbot. Renew America. Father John Trigilio Jr., Ph.D., Th.D., president of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, responds to Rush Limbaugh's "scorching" reaction to Evangelii Gaudium ("pure Marxism coming from the mouth of the Pope").
  • Finances in Light of the Call for a Poor Church, by R. Jared Staudt. Crisis 11/29/13:
    The Gospel and the ministry of Pope Francis invite us to “create a prophetic, counter-cultural resistance to the self-centered hedonism of paganism,” a paganism that is beginning to dominate our culture more and more (§193). Evangelical poverty, putting our finances at the service of God and others, is a crucial way to withstand this paganism. Pope Francis issues this invitation to follow Christ: “God asks everything of us, yet at the same time he offers everything to us” (§12). This is another way of saying: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all else will be added unto you.”
  • A key error in translation of Evangelii Gaudium [on Section 54 referencing "trickle-down theories"], by Phil Lawler. CatholicCulture.com. 11/28/13. ("In passing let me ask rhetorically why the translation errors always seem to tilt in the same ideological direction. Almost makes you think they aren’t really "errors.'")
  • The Joy of the Gospel, by Daniel Nichols. (Caelum Et Terra) 11/27/13:
    I just read Pope Francis’ new Apostolic Exhortation. Wow, Just wow. There is absolutely no room for the neocons or libertarians to spin this letter. None. While papal teaching has always been inherently radical – the principle of solidarity, of the primacy of labor over capital, of the preferential option for the poor, etc etc – it often has been cloaked in scholarly prose, in deliberately moderate tones, and even sometimes in ambiguity. Not Francis. Plain-spoken, direct, the pope of the poor and of the people. There is no way that this can be spun. ... Sorry if I seem to be gloating; this feels like victory after a long (since ’79, when I returned to the Catholic Church) war.
  • Pope Francis hates trickle-down economics, but he isn't a liberal, by Peter Weber. The Week 11/27/13. The pope's first manifesto, Evangelii Gaudium, confirms a pontiff at home with Occupy Wall Street. With some big caveats.
  • Let’s Listen to Pope Francis on Economics, by Pascal-Emmanual Gobry. First Things "On The Square" 11/27/13. "When Pope Francis describes inequality and exclusion as very grave moral sins, we must let ourselves be challenged, and we must open our hearts."
  • The New Pope Doesn’t Heart the Free Market, by Todd Zywicki. The Volokh Conspiracy 11/26/13:
    Ever since the Galileo incident, the Catholic Church has generally tried to be careful to get its science right before it opines on ethical matters related to science. It takes seriously questions of bioethics and has developed internal expertise on those issues. Yet when it comes to economics, the Church seems to have no qualms about opining on issues of economics without even the slightest idea of what it is talking about.
  • When Economic Moralism Clashes with Reality, by Kishore Jayabalan. Acton Institute. 11/27/13.
  • Pope Francis's Theory of Economics, by Heather Horn. The Atlantic 11/26/13. A case for the pontiff's debt not to Karl Marx but to Karl Polanyi.
  • Pope Francis and Poverty, by Dr. Samuel Gregg. National Review 11/26/13:
    ... it is difficult not to come away from reading Evangelii Gaudium thinking that there are just too many unexamined assumptions about the economy that have made their way into this document. Indeed, towards the end of his more direct economic observations, the pope seems to indicate his awareness that some of his thoughts about poverty and economics will generate criticism. “If anyone feels offended by my words,” he says, “I would respond that I speak them with affection and with the best of intentions, quite apart from any personal interest or political ideology” (208). Instead, Francis writes, he is concerned with ensuring that people don’t succumb to the type of self-enclosed individualism that produces injustice and ultimately kills the soul.

    I myself take no offense from Evangelii Gaudium’s observations about poverty and the economy. In fact I admire Francis’s determination to ensure that we don’t lose sight of the material misery in which far too many people continue to live. His words are also a powerful reminder that Christ’s commandment to love the poor is truly non-negotiable for any serious Christian.

    Nevertheless, as Francis himself writes, “Ideas disconnected from realities give rise to ineffectual forms of idealism” (232). And attention to particular realities about economic life is precisely what’s missing from parts of Evangelii Gaudium’s analysis of wealth and poverty. If we want “the dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good” to be more than what the pope calls a “mere addendum” to the pursuit of “true and integral development” (203), then engaging more seriously the economic part of the truth that sets us free would be a good start.

  • Beware the hobbyhorse. Evangelii Gaudium is not about economics, by Phil Lawler. Catholic Culture. 11/27/13:
    If you read Evangelii Gaudium as primarily an indictment of free-market economics, you read it all wrong. The Pope did have a good deal to say about economic matters (more on that later), but this is not an apostolic exhortation about economics.

    If you thought the big news was that the Pope reaffirmed that women cannot be ordained, or that he strongly condemned abortion, that’s wrong, too.

    Evangelii Gaudium is about the urgent need to tell the world the good news of God’s love, the joy of salvation through Jesus Christ. It’s flat-out impossible for any reasonably objective person to read the document and come away with any other idea about its central theme.



... On Everything Else

  • Snippets From an Exhortation: The Anti-Modernism of Pope Francis, by John Medaille. Catholic Lane. 12/16/13:
    I would like to suggest that when one moves beyond these snippets, a totally different picture emerges, one in which traditionalists can take heart and one which must drive liberals—and especially economic liberals—to despair. For when we look at the exhortation in toto, what emerges is an attack on the entire Enlightenment project: an attack on secularism, rationalism, relativism, invidualism, economic liberalism, coupled with a defense of the family, popular piety, and Christian culture. And even in the attack on traditionalists, what is being questioned is not the commitment to the Tradition itself, but a certain form of traditional-ism, the conversion of the tradition into an ideology with a political agenda; it is a critique that Traditionalists would do well to take to heart in an act of self-examination. Overall, it is a document which Traditionalists should welcome, one which validates the concerns they have expressed since the beginning of the modern era. It is a document which refuses to accept the basic tenant of liberalism, the one that marginalizes the Church as an institution which should confine itself to the otherworldly and leave this world to the social scientist, the businessman, the politician, and the bureaucrat.
  • "Modern Prometheuses" Disputations 12/09/13:
    The modern Prometheus claims to be able to define his own nature and to create his own good, and in doing so he creates a monster. He doesn't just fail to do God's will, he fails to do his own will, because man isn't able to define his own nature and create his own good. ...

    The neopelagianism comes in, I suppose, in the de facto reliance on human actions -- the right prayers, said on the right day in the right language -- for salvation, rather than on Divine mercy. This reliance on human actions may perhaps be more clearly be seen in attitudes towards those who don't follow their prescribed orthopraxis. (As an extreme example, I once came across a condemnation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet as a ruse of the devil to trick Catholics into not praying the Rosary.)

    I'll go so far as to suggest the possibility of a neopelagian orthodoxy -- placing one's hope for salvation in believing the right doctrines, according to the right formulas, rather than in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit promised to those who live according to those doctrines, and Whose presence is a guarantee of salvific grace.

  • Evangelii Gaudium something to offend just about everybody, by Michael Liccione. Sacramentum Vitae 12/2/13. If Pope John Paul II liked to repeat Duc in altum!--"Go out into the deep"--Francis is reminding us that what we need to go out from is ourselves--especially our churchy selves.
  • Pope Francis the Revolutionary, by George Weigel. Wall Street Journal 11/28/13:
    The first nine months of the pontificate of Pope Francis have often resembled a gigantic Rorschach test in which various commentators inside and outside the Catholic Church have "seen" their dreams and fears realized. Alas, what has been "seen" has often had little to do with the record of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as priest and bishop or with his most consequential decisions as pope.

    Those projections reached fever pitch with the publication on Tuesday of Francis' first apostolic exhortation, "Evangelii Gaudium" (The Joy of the Gospel), which was celebrated, or lamented, as if it were an Occupy Whatever position paper for a G-8 summit. Instead, the papal document should be read and appreciated for what it manifestly is: a clarion call for a decisive shift in the Catholic Church's self-understanding, in full continuity with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

  • Evangelii Gaudium: grief for the faithful. Fr. Franz Schmidberger, Rector of the SSPX seminary in Germany presents an short analysis of the Holy Father's Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. 11/24/13.
  • From Jeff Cullbreath (of the traditional Catholic blog New Sherwood): Did I read that right? (regarding the phrase "God’s saving love ... precedes any moral and religious obligation on our part"); Pope Francis, Holy Orders, the Council of Trent, and St. John Vianney; Pope Francis and non-Catholics -- as well as passages hinting at on what the Pope Francis' might propose at next year's Synod on the Family.
  • Evangelii gaudium and the liturgy: First thoughts, by Fr. Christopher Smith (Chant Cafe):
    One of the things I find fascinating here is that nowhere is the liturgy seen as a source of evangelization itself, nor is it seen as an end towards which evangelization should strive. Am I to conclude from this that the Bishops at the Synod and/or Pope Francis do not consider the liturgy to be even a part, much less central, to the New Evangelization? [...]

    If the objective of the New Evangelization were merely to introduce the non-believer to the person of Jesus to begin some form of relationship with Him, it would be hard to find the difference between it and the admirable forms of evangelization already done by our Protestant brethren. But if its objective is full communion with the Catholic Church, it is hard to see how the New Evangelization can ignore the fact that the liturgy is not tangential to it, but part and parcel of it. [...]

    Although I doubt that a Church made in the image and likeness of Evangelii gaudium would ever dispense with the Sacred Liturgy, it is clear that the perspective of the document indicates a different one than that outlined in Sacrosanctum Concilium. It is also hard to see how EG’s liturgical thought is in continuity with the broader aims of the classical or the new liturgical movements, or the liturgical theology of Pope Benedict XVI, even if EG, in many other areas, is most definitely in continuity with many insights of Ratzinger and the broader theological movements of the last century and today. In some way, EG’s liturgical theology could be said to be the triumph of an unintended by-product of the Catholic Reformation: an ecclesial culture where liturgy is merely what one has to go through to confect the Eucharistic species, and what is often set aside so people can go about the devotions of their own devising. Liturgy in EG appears far from being fons et culmen. Pope Benedict XVI’s assertion that the liturgy is a powerful element of the New Evangelization has been only weakly, if at all, carried over into the charter of that New Evangelization for our time. But that it has not, does not negate the truth of what the liturgy is in itself and its power to evangelize and equip disciples.

  • Pope Francis and the Gospel of Joy, by William L. Patenaude. Catholic World Report 11/27/13. The Pontiff’s apostolic exhortation is filled with warnings, encouragement, explanations, and challenges, all rooted in a pastor's love for the flock.
  • Francis and a church that breathes with both lungs, by John Allen Jr. National Catholic Reporter 11/27/13:
    At the big-picture level, Francis says he wants a more missionary and more merciful church, one less afraid of change than of "remaining shut up with structures which give us a false sense of security," "rules which make us harsh judges," and "habits which make us feel safe."

    At the level of detail, Francis hints at reform in numerous arenas, including a blunt call for a "conversion of the papacy" toward a "sound decentralization." That includes at least one seemingly clear reversal of previous policy: assigning teaching authority to bishops' conferences, as opposed to a 1998 ruling under John Paul II denying them precisely that role.

    Yet there's a deeper sense in which "The Joy of the Gospel" stands in clear continuity with Francis' immediate predecessor, Benedict XVI, and in particular his 2009 social encyclical Caritas in Veritate.

    In effect, both documents amount to full-frontal assaults not on Catholic doctrine or discipline, but on contemporary Catholic sociology.

  • Preaching Law and Gospel – the Catholic Version, by David Schütz (Sentire Cum Ecclesia) 11/27/13.
  • Francis has succeeded in doing what no Pope has ever done: divide the ‘c’atholic Left, by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf. 11/27/13:
    Liberals are so happy that the Pope seems to be bashing conservatives, that they are ready and willing to accept that women will never ever be ordained.

    The “Joy of their Gospel” is to see conservatives get whacked. They are so overjoyed, as a matter of that, that they are willing to sacrifice their flagship.

    Yes, you will find a few waayyyy out on the even leftier fringe of their fleet – you know, the Gray Panthers – for whom Francis denial of women’s ordination this is still a problem. But, for the most part, Francis hit their liberal sweet spot so perfectly that they are taking the bitter hit amidships.

    “Trads to the WALL!” To them, it’s worth it.

    Make no mistake. The Big Issue for liberals is women’s ordination. Francis, the fluffiest and most wonderfullest Pope since Peter has now taken the issue away from them.

  • Pope Francis on the Joy of the Gospel, by Robert P. George. First Things 11/26/13.
  • Pope Francis' document delivers wake-up call on evangelization, by John Thavis. 11/26/13.
  • The New Apostolic Exhortation: Bothersome in more ways than one!, by Dr. Jeff Mirus. Catholic Culture. 11/26/13:
    There is only so much one can say about Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), before we come up against the fact that this is a post-synodal text from which only a relatively few people are going to benefit. As with the other exhortations of this type over the years, the vast bulk of it is occupied with putting in some sort of order nearly every insight offered at the Synod of Bishops which occasioned the document. For this reason, it often seems that the main benefit is going to be for each individual participant who scans through the document until his eyes eagerly alight on the little point that can be attributed to himself.
  • Pope Francis and the Old Covenant, by John Vennari. Catholic Family News, indicting Francis and his predecessors: "Pope Francis effectively continues the program initiative by the Council, and brought to fruition by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI that the Old Covenant has not been superseded by the New."
  • Evangelii Gaudium: First Impressions (11/26/13) | Second Impressions (11/27/13) | Additional Impressions (11/29/13), by Michael Sean Winters. National Catholic Reporter:
    Evangelii Gaudium is remarkable the way Pope Francis is remarkable. He has set forth a bold vision for the Church, in this text and in the past nine months. The "sourpusses" are grumbling but we can hope that they, too, will catch the Francis Fever and see that it is not Francis' fever at all; it is the zeal of the Gospels, a Gospel that is credible when grasped and preached as attractive, not scolding, welcoming and not exclusionary.

    * * *

    There are not enough gold and red pens in the world for George Weigel to parse the clamant social justice sections out of Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation released yesterday. ... it is vital to keep in mind that the pope’s treatment of social justice is placed within the context of evangelization: The Pope is calling the Church to be a missionary Church, an evangelizing Church, and the privileged path of fidelity to the Gospel is service to the poor.

  • A New Vision for the Church, by James Martin, SJ. America 11/26/13. "In all my years as a Catholic, I cannot remember a papal document that was so thought-provoking, surprising and invigorating. Frankly, reading it thrilled me."
  • 'Evangelii Gaudium' amounts to Francis' 'I Have a Dream' speech, by John Allen Jr. National Catholic Reporter 11/26/13:
    Dreams can be powerful things, especially when articulated by leaders with the realistic capacity to translate them into action. That was the case 50 years ago with Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech, and it also seems to be the ambition of Pope Francis' bold new apostolic exhortation, "The Joy of the Gospel."

    In effect, the 224-page document, titled in Latin Evangelii Gaudium and released by the Vatican Tuesday, is a vision statement about the kind of community Francis wants Catholicism to be: more missionary, more merciful, and with the courage to change.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pope Francis Roundup

Commentary

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pope Francis Roundup

News

  • Pope calls for children to be baptised as early on as possible, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa 11/8/13:
    During Wednesday’s Audience, Pope Francis spoke about the power of the sacraments, emphasising and explaining certain points to breathe new life into the prepared text. He said the sacraments are not rites; they are the strength of Christ. Jesus Christ is in the sacraments. When we celebrate mass, the living Jesus himself is there in the Eucharist. He brings us together as a community, to worship the Father.

    Bergoglio then stressed that “every encounter with Christ which in the sacraments gives us salvation, invites us to 'go' and communicate to others a salvation that we can see, touch, encounter, receive, and that is really credible because it is love.” “In this way, the sacraments lead us to be missionaries, and apostolic commitment urges us to bring the Gospel to every sphere of life, even in the most hostile, is the most authentic fruit of an assiduous sacramental life, that as is participation in the salvific of God, who wants to gift salvation to all.”

    “And so it is important to take communion,” the Pope said in an off-the-cuff comment. “It is important that children be baptized soon , it is important that they are confirmed members . Why, because this is the presence of Jesus Christ in us, who helps us. It is important that, when we feel we have sinned, we go to the sacrament of reconciliation. 'No, Father, I am afraid, because the priest will give out to me ! .' No, he will not give out to you, the priest. Do you know who you will meet in the sacrament of reconciliation? Jesus, Jesus forgives you. Jesus is waiting for you there, and this is a sacrament. It makes the whole Church.”

    The Pope chooses the Beatitudes as the theme for the next World Youth Day Vatican Information Service. 11/7/13. The Holy Father has decided on the themes for the next three World Youth Days, which will mark a three-year itinerary of spiritual preparation that will culminate with the international World Youth Day with the Successor of Peter scheduled to be held in Krakow, Poland in July 2016.
  • Pope Francis has a new "ghost writer" La Stampa 11/6/13. Paolo Braida has replaced Giampiero Gloder, now Bishop and President of the Ecclesiastical Academy. Braida will coordinate the work of those who help Francis prepare his speeches.
  • Pope Names Alice von Hildebrand to Prestigious Order National Catholic Register 11/8/13:
    Pope Francis has declared Catholic philosopher, author and teacher Alice von Hildebrand a Dame Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of St. Gregory in recognition of her work, witness and service to the Church.

    Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, formally invested her in the chivalric order Oct. 30 at a gala dinner in New York celebrating her 90th birthday.

    Cardinal Burke said that Pope Francis conferred the honor to recognize her “outstanding and faithful service” and “in public recognition of the esteem in which she is held in the Church.”

  • Illinois lawmakers approve gay marriage in historic vote [Catholic legislators explicitly cite Pope Francis as inspiration] Chicago Tribune 11/6/13:
    Advocates soon received additional help from Pope Francis, who warned that the Catholic Church could lose its way by focusing too much on social stances, including opposition to homosexuality.

    "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?" Francis said in July.

    The comments sparked a wave of soul-searching by several Catholic lawmakers who had battled to reconcile their religious beliefs with their sworn duty to represent their constituents who were increasingly supportive of gay rights even as Cardinal Francis George remained opposed.

    "As a Catholic follower of Jesus and the pope, Pope Francis, I am clear that our Catholic religious doctrine has at its core love, compassion and justice for all people," said Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, a Democrat from Aurora who voted for the bill after spending much of the summer undecided.

    House Speaker Michael Madigan also cited the pope's comments in explaining his support for the measure.

    "For those that just happen to be gay — living in a very harmonious, productive relationship but illegal — who am I to judge that they should be illegal?" the speaker said.

  • Pope Francis Kisses Severely Disfigured Man UCatholic. 11/6/13. Pope Francis’ humanity shone through again as he kissed a man’s disfigured face in St.Peter’s Square.
  • Vatican focuses on human trafficking, modern slavery, at Pope's request La Stampa 11/2/13. An international workshop on human trafficking, modern slavery, held at the Vatican this weekend, examines the real dimensions of this criminal activity, with a view to better combating it.
  • Francis turns towards God! Rorate Caeli 10/31/13. In a Paul VI mass celebrated on the tomb of John Paul II this Thursday, the Pope celebrated versus Deum, apparently for the first time in this pontificate:

  • Pope Francis Hits 10 Million Twitter Followers National Catholic Register 10/30/13.
  • Boy Wanders Onto Stage To Hang Out With Pope Francis BuzzFeed.com. 10/29/13.




  • Pope Francis thanks his predecessor for his Jesus of Nazareth Trilogy, and awards the Ratzinger Prize for Theology Vatican Information Service. 10/27/13:
    This morning in the Sala Clementina of the Vatican Apostolic Palace Pope Francis awarded the Ratzinger Prize, granted by the Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI, to the Rev. Richard Burridge, Anglican minister and deacon of King's College, London, and to the German theologian Christian Schaller, layperson, lecturer in dogmatic theology and vice director of the Benedict XVI Institute in Regensburg, Germany, which is publishing critical editions of Joseph Ratzinger's full works.
    Full text of papal remarks to the winners of the Ratzinger Prize. (Zenit News Service).
  • Pope: Sacrament of Confession Isn’t a ‘Torture Chamber’ National Catholic Register 10/25/13:
    During his daily Mass, Pope Francis centered his homily on the sacrament of reconciliation, stressing that sin is an everyday struggle that requires accountability through “face-to-face” contact.

    “Confessing our sins is not going to a psychiatrist or to a torture chamber: It’s saying to the Lord, ‘Lord, I am a sinner,’ but saying it through the brother [a priest], because this says it concretely. ‘I am sinner because of this, that and the other thing.’”

  • Pope authorizes leave of absence for German 'luxury bishop' Catholic News Service. 10/22/13. Pope Francis has authorized a leave of absence "effective immediately" for a German bishop at the center of controversy over expenditures -- estimated to be over 40 million -- for his residence and diocesan center. (See also: Pope Francis Suspends 'Bishop of Bling' ABC News. 10/23/13 for further details.
  • Bergoglio wins over Florida’s Hispanics, by Giacomo Galleazzi. La Stampa. 10/22/13. A trip through the U.S. diocese which has the highest Hispanic membership in the country: from the boom in courses for adults who want to receive the sacraments to a rise in churchgoing.
  • Pope calls for “mutual forgiveness between Catholics and Lutherans”, by Domenico Agasso Jr. La Stampa 10/21/13:
    “Catholics and Lutherans can ask forgiveness for the harm they have caused one another and for their offenses committed in the sight of God,” Francis said during this morning’s audience with the delegation of the Lutheran World Federation and representatives of the Lutheran-Catholic Commission on Unity.
    See also: Lutherans and Catholics: From Conflict to Communion for more papal remarks. (Vatican Information Service)

Why does Pope Francis keep saying things that make it sound like the Catholic Church doesn't teach what the Catholic Church teaches? Because, dude, like, mellow out, man." -- A touch of satire from our Lutheran brethren.

Commentary

  • Pope Francis: Breaking New Ground in Jewish-Catholic Relations National Catholic Register 11/8/13. The Holy Father’s friendships and strong tradition of dialogue with Jewish leaders are already having an impact, building on the foundation provided by previous popes.
  • Conservative U.S. Catholics Feel Left Out of the Pope’s Embrace, by Laurie Goodstein. New York Times 11/9/13.
  • Why the media keep getting Pope Francis all wrong, by Phil Lawler. Catholic Culture. 11/7/13. "The quality of reporting on the Vatican by the secular news media—never high—has plummeted to an all-time low."
  • Cardinal Pell defends Pope Francis, criticizes Bp. Fellay and SSPX Catholic World Report 11/6/13. "In actual fact, the Lefebvrists – many of them - have misread the situation for decades."
  • The Smoke of Satan Returns, by William Doino Jr. First Things "On The Square" 10/28/13:
    Within twenty-four hours of being elected, the new pope declared: “When one does not profess Jesus Christ—I recall the phrase of Leon Bloy—‘Whoever does not pray to God, prays to the devil.’” The following day, Francis continued: “Let us never give in to pessimism, to that bitterness that the devil tempts us with every day.” In his homily for Palm Sunday, he spoke of problems which appear insurmountable: “In this moment the enemy, the devil, comes, often disguised as an angel, and slyly speaks his word to us. Do not listen to him!”

    In July, Francis consecrated Vatican City State to St. Michael, the Archangel, who “defends the People of God from their enemies, and above all from the arch-enemy par excellence, the devil.” And in early October, Francis powerfully rebuked those who deny the existence of Satan, warning against relativism, deceit, and “the seduction of evil.”

    Striking as his words are, they are not surprising. ...

  • "Forgiven Sinner: Francis & the Character of Christian Truth", by Dennis O'Brien. Commonweal (A response to Germain Grisez' criticism of Pope Francis.
  • The Rabbi and Pope Francis National Catholic Register National Catholic Register 10/31/13. In an exclusive Register interview, Rabbi Abraham Skorka shares his friendship with Pope Francis that is ushering in a new chapter in Jewish-Catholic relations:
    What is the next step in your dialogue with Pope Francis?

    The next step is the question of how Catholics are related to the Jewish people.

    You mean clarifying the relationship of Catholics to the Jews, the people of Israel?

    Yes, what we have to do in the next step is exactly what you are saying: We must clarify what the Jew means for Catholics (or Christians at large) and what a Christian means to a Jew. How are we related? What, really, does one mean to the other: the Jew for the Catholic and the Catholic for the Jew? That is the point we are working on. Now, I asked [Pope Francis] about this. I told him that, when I’m in the United States, they’re going to ask me about the next step in our dialogue. So he very clearly and directly told me, “Our next step must be a theological one.”

  • Pope Francis the Mentor, Minister to the Poor, by Edward Pentin. National Catholic Register 10/29/13. Jesuit Father Renzo De Luca, a missionary in Japan, tells L’Osservatore Romano how Father Jorge Bergoglio transformed a neighborhood — and a young seminarian's life.
  • Catholic parishioners are moved to extend a hand, not judgment, by Michael O'Connor and Joseph Morton. Omaha World-Herald on the "Francis Effect." 10/27/13.
  • Archbishop Ganswein talks about serving two popes, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service. 10/22/13:
    Pope Francis has said and done things that have surprised the world -- and surprised those who work closest to him -- but calling what he is doing a "revolution" is a "frivolous slogan," said Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the papal household and personal secretary to retired Pope Benedict XVI.
  • Argentinian Theologian Reflects on Francis' Style. Zenit. 10/22/13. "Enough of Priests Who Live in Luxury, I Will Explain to You Francis' Revolution," was the title in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, which this week published a one-page interview with Archbishop Victor Fernandez, director of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, and a theologian very close to the Holy Father.
  • A Papal Canonization Doubleheader, by George Weigel. First Things "On The Square" 10/16/13. On "why it’s entirely appropriate for him to canonize John XXIII and John Paul II the same day."
  • On the Critics of Pope Francis’ Consecration to the Immaculate Heart, by Dr. Jeff Mirus. Catholic Culture. 10/15/13. "When Pope Francis consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on October 13th, he followed a tradition of pontifical consecrations established by Pope Pius XII and continued by Pope John Paul II."
  • In Defense of Pope Francis, by William Doino, Jr. First Things "On The Square". 10/14/13. "In recent days, more and more people have taken aim at Francis, saying they feel compelled to do so, to uphold the honor of the Church. It is time for those of us who admire Francis, and believe in his integrity, to vigorously defend him."
  • Francis' 'older son' problem; red herrings; and pingpong on financial reform, by John Allen Jr. National Catholic Reporter 10/11/13.

Pope Francis on the genuine spirit of St. Francis ("just make sure you watch to the end of the video before wondering what CNS is doing with this. For those of you who gave up before the 4:16 mark, I would encourage you to persevere!" -- Pertinacious Papist)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pope Francis Roundup

News

  • Who Advises the Pope?, by Marco Tosatti. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 10/18/13. "Here are the portraits of the cardinals, bishops, priests and one woman – Francesca Immacolata Chaoqui –whom the Pope talks and listens to."
  • Pope Francis Tells Almoner to Make It Personal in Charities Office Reform. EWTN News / National Catholic Register 10/17/13:
    Traditionally, the papal almoner sends parchments with the papal blessing to those who request them, and with the proceeds, as well as with other offerings, he sends a “modest donation” to those in need. The papal almoner also accompanies the Pope at official appearances and during international trips.

    But under Pope Francis, Archbishop Krajewski's role is about to change. Since both Archbishop Krajewski and Msgr. Ravelli have been part of the office of the papal master of ceremonies, it appears that Pope Francis wishes to mark his pontificate with a sort of “liturgy of the poor.”

    Archbishop Krajewski recounted to L'Osservatore Romano Oct. 4 that Pope Francis immediately explained to him the way he wanted to re-design his office.

    “You will not stay behind a desk signing parchments,” the Holy Father told the archbishop. “I want you always among the people. In Buenos Aires, I often went out in the evening to go find the poor. Now, I no longer can: It is difficult for me to leave the Vatican. You will do it for me.”

  • Pope to Auction Harley Davidson Motorcycle to Benefit Homeless National Catholic Register 10/16/13. The sale of the motorcycle will fund the renovation of Caritas’ Don Luigi di Liegro Hostel and Soup Kitchen at Rome’s Termini station.
  • Outgoing Vatican secretary of state stresses continuity between popes, by Francis X. Rocca. Catholic News Service. 10/15/13:
    ...In his remarks, Cardinal Bertone paid tribute to Pope Benedict, whom he served for more than six years as secretary of state, and for more than seven years at the Vatican's doctrinal office under then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

    "What stirred our passion with Pope Benedict XVI was to see the church understand itself deeply as a communion, and at the same time speak to the world, to the heart and to the intelligence of all with clarity of doctrine and a high level of thought," the cardinal said.

    The retired pope "suffered greatly on account of the ills that plagued the church, and for this reason he gave her new legislation in order to strike out decisively the shameful phenomenon of pedophilia among the clergy, without forgetting the initiation of new rules in economic and administrative matters," he said.

    "I see today in Pope Francis not so much a revolution but a continuity with Pope Benedict XVI even with their differences in style and personal life," the cardinal said, noting in particular the strong devotion to Mary -- and particularly Our Lady of Fatima -- that he said united the two pontiffs.

  • Francis' Message for Beatification of Spanish Martyrs: "There is no such thing as love in parts, in portions. Love is total: and when one loves, one loves to the end" Zenit. 10/15/13. Here is a translation of the text of Francis’ video-message transmitted at the beginning of the beatification ceremony of 522 Spanish martyrs of the 20thcentury, which took place Sunday at Tarragona, Spain.
  • Francis appoints a Brazilian to the “bishop factory”, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 10/12/13. The Pope has chosen a new Secretary for the Congregation for Bishops: Monsignor Ilson De Jesus Montanari who up until now has been the Congregation’s minute taker.
  • Francis: “The devil exists, let’s not confuse it with a mental illness”, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 10/11/13:
    Pope Francis spoke again of the devil at today’s mass in St. Martha’s House, inviting faithful to take the Scriptures that mention the devil, seriously. The text Francis commented on today was a passage from Luke’s Gospel, which says that Jesus casts out demons but is not understood by the people.

    “There are some priests who, when they read this Gospel passage, this and others say: ‘But, Jesus healed a person with a mental illness’. They do not read this, no? It is true that at that time, they could confuse epilepsy with demonic possession; but it is also true that there was the devil! And we do not have the right to simplify the matter, as if to say: ‘All of these (people) were not possessed; they were mentally ill’. No! The presence of the devil is on the first page of the Bible, and the Bible ends as well with the presence of the devil, with the victory of God over the devil,” Francis said.

Pope Francis in Assisi

Commentary

  • Fellay and Francis, by Modestinus. Opus Publicum 10/18/13:
    There are several ways to interpret Bishop Fellay’s remarks on Francis. At one level they’re not particularly exciting, at least to the extent that they largely repeat well-word traditionalist criticisms of not just Francis, but several of the post-Vatican II popes. At another, though, they are downright shocking insofar as Fellay, for the first time that I am aware, has ever referred to any pope as “a genuine modernist.” Keep in mind that from the Society’s point of view, “modernism” is not just some rhetorical jab; it is an accusation of heresy. As St. Pius X stated in Pascendi, modernism is “the synthesis of all heresies.” This is why Pius X, along with several subsequent pontiffs, required Catholic bishops and priests to take an Oath Against Modernism. Though the “modernist” label was discarded after Vatican II, it remains, in the eyes of the Society and most traditional Catholics, a heresy no less malicious than Arianism, Nestorianism, Sabellianism, etc. Fellay, it seems, has called the present Pope “a genuine heretic,” a charge which not even the indefatigable Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais leveled against Pope Benedict XVI when the former penned a book attacking B16’s (Joseph Ratzinger) alleged heretical writings. (When questioned, Tissier de Mallerais backed off from calling the former pontiff a heretic, though he remained steadfast that some of Ratzinger’s writings contain heretical statements.)
  • Pope Francis Against Modernity?, by Andrew M. Haines. Ethika Politika 10/8/13:
    ... There is reason to believe, however, that far from being an evangelist of modernity, Francis is precisely one of its greatest critics. And that by wooing its strongest proponents, Francis is knee deep in a campaign to root out errors, identified by previous popes, at their core.