Friday, December 20, 2013

Pope Francis Roundup

  • 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 ( 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.


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. 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


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pope Francis Roundup


  • 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 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.


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pope Francis Roundup


  • Pope meets Rome Jews, commemorates deportations to Auschwitz Catholic News Service. 10/11/13:
    At a meeting with members of Rome's Jewish community, Pope Francis denounced anti-Semitism and recalled the 1943 deportation of more than 1,000 of the city's Jews to the most notorious Nazi death camp -- an incident that has proven a major source of tension between the papacy and Jewish leaders.

    "It's a contradiction for a Christian to be anti-Semitic, his roots are in part Jewish," the pope said Oct 11. "May anti-Semitism be banished from the heart and the life of every man and woman."

  • Pope Francis Convenes Extraordinary Synod on the Family for October 2014 10/8/13:
    The Holy See Press Office today announced that Holy Father Francis has convened the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in the Vatican from 5 to 19 October 2014, on the theme “The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation”.
    Via Edward Pentin (National Catholic Register):
    Reform of the Synod of Bishops was also a topic for discussion during the “G8” Council of Cardinals which met at the Vatican last week.

    According to the Vatican, the Holy Father said at last week’s meeting that prominent themes such as family and matrimonial pastoral duties “will be the order of the day in the activity of the Church in the near future.” This is likely to include an examination of the Church’s pastoral approach to divorced and remarried Catholics in the Church — a subject often raised by Francis and Benedict XVI in the recent past.

    Today’s announcement came after a two-day meeting of the synod council which ended today. Pope Francis surprised participants by taking part in some of the meeting.

  • Pope, in Assisi, calls on church to renounce 'spirit of the world' Catholic News Service. 10/04/13:
    Making his first pilgrimage as pope to the birthplace of his papal namesake, Pope Francis called on the whole church to imitate St. Francis of Assisi, embracing poverty and stripping itself of the "spirit of world."

    "A Christian cannot coexist with the spirit of the world," he said. Worldliness "leads us to vanity, arrogance, pride. And this is an idol, it is not of God."

    The pope spoke Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis, in the "stripping room" of the Assisi archbishop's residence, where the saint shed himself of his rich clothes and embraced a life of poverty.

    "This is a good occasion for inviting the church to strip itself," the pope said, adding that he directed his invitation not merely to the hierarchy but all the church's members, and that he sought renunciation of spiritual complacency as well as material riches.

    "It is so sad to find a worldly Christian, who thinks he enjoys the security of the faith and of the world. One can't have it both ways."

  • Pope, cardinal advisers looking at major overhaul of Roman Curia, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service. 10/3/13:
    Pope Francis and his international Council of Cardinals are laying out plans to completely overhaul the Roman Curia, underlining its role of "service to the universal church and the local churches," the Vatican spokesman said.

    As the pope and the eight cardinals he named to advise him were about to begin the final session of their Oct. 1-3 meeting, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the spokesman, said the role and responsibilities of the Vatican secretary of state, the revamping of the world Synod of Bishops, and the Vatican's attention to the role and responsibility of laity also were major themes of discussion.

  • In interviews, Pope Francis crafts a new genre of papal language, by Francis X. Rocca. Catholic News Service. 10/3/13:
    "This is a genre to which we were not accustomed," Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Oct. 2, the day after Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari published his account of a conversation with the pope. "Let's take it for what it is, seeking to interpret it correctly." ...

    Pope Francis' addition to the magisterial, canonical and pastoral forms of papal communication, Father Lombardi said, is a genre that might be termed "conversational," comprising not only the pope's interviews with journalists but also his off-the-cuff homilies at daily morning Masses, of which the Vatican publishes only summaries with verbatim excerpts.

    When the pope speaks spontaneously, his words should carry correspondingly less weight than in more traditional forms and contexts, Father Lombardi said.

  • Francis' teacher says Pope never supported Marxist theology Catholic News Agency. 09/13/13:
    One of Pope Francis' former teachers says in a new book that the Holy Father has never supported a Marxist-based liberation theology.

    “In the Argentinean Liberation Theology, social Marxist analysis is not used, but rather a historical-cultural analysis, not based on class warfare as a determining principle for the interpretation of society and history,” said Argentinean Jesuit priest Fr. Juan Carlos Scannone.

    “I think that the pastoral work of Bergoglio is understood in this context.”

  • Francis officially establishes “Council of Cardinals” to advise on Church government and Curia reform La Stampa 09/30/13. Francis has issued a chirograph officially establishing the eight-member Council of Cardinals to help him govern the Church and reform the Roman Curia.
  • Pope to canonize Blessed John XXIII, John Paul II April 27 Catholic News Service. 09/10/13. Recognizing that Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II have widespread reputations for holiness and that years of studying their lives and actions have proven their exceptional virtue, Pope Francis announced he would declare his two predecessors saints at a single ceremony April 27.
  • Pope Francis and Rabbi Skorka make history in the Vatican La Stampa 09/29/13:
    Never before in the history of Christian-Jewish relations have a Pope and a Rabbi celebrated their friendship by living in the Vatican together for several days, sharing all meals, including on two Jewish festivals and the Sabbath at which the Rabbi said prayers in Hebrew, and discussing what more they can do together to promote dialogue and peace in the world.

    That is what actually happened over the past four days at the Vatican guesthouse (Santa Marta) where Pope Francis lives and where his friend from Buenos Aires, Rabbi Abraham Skorka, has been his guest from September 25 to this day.

  • Francis makes key new appointments La Stampa. 09/20/13. Francis has started building his team of trusted collaborators. Cardinal Mauro Piacenza is being transferred to the Apostolic Penitentiary.


  • Finding a home in the confessional thanks to Pope Francis, by Renee Schafer Horton. National Catholic Reporter 10/10/13:
    I went to confession on Saturday. I think the last time I celebrated the sacrament in a traditional Saturday afternoon setting was more than a decade ago. When someone asked me why I was going, the answer was simple: I was compelled to go because of the pope.

    Not because Pope Francis has asked Catholics to get back in the confessional, but because his recent interviews and heartfelt actions as pastor in chief have made me want to be a better person and a more fulfilled, better practicing Catholic. I've felt like I've not only been given hope for the church, but a challenge for myself. ...

    Every day, I hear from Catholics who, like me, are reconsidering their lives, their actions, their faith practice, all because of an Argentine priest who proclaims, "I am a sinner." The pope isn't getting this reaction by outlining a list of do's and don'ts. Instead, the world's parish priest proclaims the message of God's mercy in such human terms one cannot help but listen. He lives a life so obviously influenced by Jesus that one cannot remain unaffected. It is almost as though, if you listen close enough, you can hear him say, without uttering a word, "Try this again; it will lead you to Jesus."

    This weekend, I did try it again, walking into a dimly lit confessional, getting on my knees and saying, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned." And for the first time in a long time, it felt like home.

  • Lapsed, but Listening, by Timothy Egan. New York Times 10/10/13:
    Pope Francis has shown himself to be a free spirit and a free thinker. He loves the music of Mozart, the paintings of Chagall, the films of Fellini. He tweets. He talks to atheists. He stays out of politics. He calls for the faithful to “mess up the church.” He doesn’t moralize or sermonize, and famously said, when asked about gays, “Who am I to judge?” Is this pope Catholic?

    Francis has befuddled the guardians of dogma and medieval sexual doctrines who have long kept sunlight out of the Vatican. He is — gasp — a liberal. Or at the least, as he said, “I have never been a right winger.” But to put him in those restrictive political terms does a disservice to the quiet revolution of Pope Francis.

    It’s long been known that most North American and European Catholics ignore church teachings on gays, contraception and abortion. These teachings range from absurd to unscientific to outright hateful. Without specifically changing the official line, Francis prompted millions of Catholics to give the church a second look when he criticized the hierarchy for being “obsessed” with those issues. Amen, said nearly 70 percent American Catholics who agreed with him in a Quinnipiac poll.

    [Not sure if this the message Francis intended to convey? -- Editor]
  • And where from here?, by Dale Price. Dyspeptic Mutterings 10/7/13. "I've come to the conclusion that, regardless of the actual temporal length (and may God grant Pope Francis many healthy years), this is going to be a loooooong papacy."
  • Francis' 'older son' problem; red herrings; and pingpong on financial reform National Catholic Reporter 10/11/13. |
  • Council of Cardinals; pope interviews; Assisi; Francis the mystic; and war on Christians, by John Allen Jr. National Catholic Reporter 10/04/13. "I've been covering the Vatican for almost 20 years, and aside from the two conclaves during that span, I'd be hard-pressed to recall many weeks with more breaking news than what we experienced the last seven days."
  • Pope Francis, Catechist in Action, by James V. Schall, SJ. Catholic World Report 09/30/13. Thoughts on the Holy Father's recent address about "one of the most beautiful educational adventures".
  • Pope Francis Calls For A Work, Not A Welfare, Culture Wheat and Weeds 09/28/13.
  • Eco: “Francis is the Pope of the world of globalization” The famous Italian semiotician, philosopher and writer, Umberto Eco, shares his views on Pope Francis in an exclusive interview with Argentina’s daily newspaper, La Nacion. 09/28/13.
  • The Danger of Good Popes, by Brantley Millegan. First Things "On The Square" 09/27/13:
    A number of Catholic authors have endeavored to defend Pope Francis from criticism, particularly stemming from his recent interview. They have tried to defend him not only from misinterpretation, but also from criticisms of what he actually did say, his style, his choice of what to emphasize, etc. Their goal is admirable, and I largely agree with their sentiments, but in an effort to defend Pope Francis, Catholics must be sure to not overstate the role, powers, and privileges of the papacy.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pope Francis: The Second Interview (Eugenio Scalfari, La Repubblica)

The Interview

As reported by the MSM

The Commentary

  • Pope Francis –What Did You Mean Exactly?, by Dr. Monica M. Miller. (Guest-post to The Pertinacious Papist) A helpful compilation of the most troubling quotes within the second interview which are "ambiguous and thus subject to exploitation and misuse by those who do not accept the teaching of Christ."
  • The Pope's Chat With An Atheist, by Fr. James V. Schall. Catholic World Report 10/4/13. The recent "La Repubblica" interview with Francis touches on many topics, not always with clarity or precision.
  • Catholic is as Catholic does, by Elliot Bougis. 10/4/13:
    Hence, the most persistently stinging “vulnus” that I have received from the Pope’s words and actions of late–and please keep in mind that I am writing with a genuinely wounded, baffled, confused, and prayerful heart–is precisely the slow fade from the Catholic Thing towards a More Englightened And Inviting Catholicesque Thingamabob that he has legitimized in countless subtle ways. For example, Pope Francis has openly said he does not believe in “a Catholic God”–silly proselytizer, there’s no such thing as the “Catholic God”! This thunderbolt of a claim, of course, entails that he does not believe in “the Catholic Church,” either. For, insofar as there is no “Catholic God,” there is no “Catholic Church;” there is just the unqualified People of the unknown God and every individual’s conscience. All effects are (pre-)contained in their cause; no cause can give what it does not first possess. If, then, there is no Catholic God, and if God is the One who calls the Church into being, then there can be no Catholic Church as, precisely, that communion called by the God known in Catholic teaching.

    I don’t understand why this statement of his has not received more attention. Oh, I realize that the most charitable way to interpret his point, entirely uncontroversial in its own right, is that the God he believes in is not a God for Catholics only. Unfortunately, I think his meaning goes much farther than the most charitable reading can sustain. And if his meaning is not simply that “God is for everybody,” then it gets to the root of my discomfort with this Pope. ...

  • The Pope They’ve Been Waiting For, by George Neumayr. The American Spectator 10/2/13:
    "This is not an Onion parody. This is the Catholic Church, circa 2013, under the hope-and-change pontificate of Francis — the one Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, and Jane Fonda have been waiting for. … Were St. Ignatius of Loyola alive today, he wouldn’t recognize Francis as a Jesuit. He might not even recognize him as a Catholic. For all of his chirpy talk about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Francis speaks like a subjectivist, for whom religion is not something received from the triune God but something created from within, which is the hallmark of modernism, from which the spirit of Vatican II sprung.
  • It Doesn’t Take a Rigorist: Why All Catholics Should Be Concerned About Pope Francis, by Steve Skojec. 10/3/13:
    I don’t have any ill-will for Catholics defending the pope, but I do wish they would stop already. He is doing a lot of damage. He is muddying the already unclear theological waters and making it very, very easy for a world hell bent on seeing Catholics as the bad guys to misinterpret things until we have no chance of having an honest conversation about anything anymore. They’re already using “but the pope said” arguments against people out there defending the unborn and arguing against gay marriage. It isn’t going to stop. So while there may not be malice at work, I think these papal apologists need to step back and ask themselves if they’re maybe, just maybe, being a bit willfully obtuse.
  • Proselytize NO, Evangelize YES, Said Pope Francis. Kathy Schiffer looks back to Francis' remarks at morning Mass in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence on Wednesday, May 8 to discern the meaning of his interview:
    “Evangelization is not proselytizing,” he said. This was the focus of Pope Francis’ remarks to faithful gathered for Mass on Wednesday morning in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence in the Vatican. The Pope reiterated that the Christian who wants to proclaim the Gospel must dialogue with everyone, knowing that no one owns the truth, because the truth is received by the encounter with Jesus. Radio Vatican published the full remarks:
    “A Christian,” said Pope Francis, “must proclaim Jesus Christ in such a way that He be accepted: received, not refused – and Paul knows that he has to sow the Gospel message. He knows that the proclamation of Jesus Christ is not easy, but that it does not depend on him. He must do everything possible, but the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the proclamation of the truth, depends on the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel: ‘When He shall come, the Spirit of truth, shall guide you into all the truth.’ Paul does not say to the Athenians: ‘This is the encyclopedia of truth. Study this and you have the truth, the truth.’ No! The truth does not enter into an encyclopedia. The truth is an encounter – it is a meeting with Supreme Truth: Jesus, the great truth. No one owns the truth. We receive the truth when we meet [it].

    But why did Paul act as he did? First, the Pope said, because “this is the way” of Jesus who “spoke with everyone” with sinners, publicans, teachers of the law. Paul, therefore, “follows the attitude of Jesus”:

    “The Christian who would bring the Gospel must go down this road: [must] listen to everyone! But now is a good time in the life of the Church: the last 50 or 60 years have been a good time – for I remember when as a child one would hear in Catholic families, in my family, ‘No, we cannot go to their house, because they are not married in the Church, eh!’. It was as an exclusion. No, you could not go! Neither could we go to [the houses of] socialists or atheists. Now, thank God, people do not says such things, right? [Such an attitude] was a defense of the faith, but it was one of walls: the LORD made bridges. First: Paul has this attitude, because it was the attitude of Jesus. Second, Paul is aware that he must evangelize, not proselytize.

    So clearly, in the Pope’s mind, evangelization is not proselytizing.

  • Francis in Dialogue with the World, by Nathaniel Peters. First Things "On The Square" 10/02/13:
    ... Francis sees himself as pursuing the truth together in conversation with Scalfari. They are not out simply to convert each other, but to build a friendship. And throughout Francis shows by example the willingness to look for the movements of God even in souls that seem closed to him.
  • Francis Interview #2: UPDATED WITH CORRECTION -- in which we are told that the certain passages within the interview are poorly translated and it is helpful to know Italian.
    Take the rest of the interview with a grain of salt--and with the Catechism at hand, knowing--as Pope Francis told Father Spadaro-- that he is a "son of the Church" and that everything he says should be interpreted in the light of Church teachings. I am sure that other commenters will be providing more of a blow-by-blow, but I wanted to get this out fast.
  • "Tradduttore, traditore", by Elliot Bougis:
    Heaven forbid the Pope should think to forestall grave theological errors when talking with an atheist in an interview he well knows is going to impact the entire world. I also understand and accept that we can’t “leave everything up to the Pope,” and that we lay persons must exert ourselves in proclaiming the Church’s teaching. Nonetheless, why are so many of the laity’s exertions lately being wasted on menial tasks like couching the Pope’s words in a sophisticated theological context when the Pope himself consistently sees unfit to do so on his own? Being “a son of the Church” does not give you carte blanche to ramble off anything you think sounds nice and adequately orthodoxoid.
  • Did Pope Francis just say that evangelization is “nonsense”? 8 things to know and share, by Jimmy Akin. National Catholic Register 10/01/13.
  • Reading Francis: The Furor Continues, by Dr. Jeff Mirus. Catholic Culture. 10/02/13. "We ought therefore to put on our “conversation-with-an-estranged-friend” glasses when we read this interview. ..."
  • What Did The Pope Really Say? 2 – Proselytism, by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf. Reading Francis Through Benedict 10/03/13.
  • Reading Francis Through Leo XIII?, by Kevin Tierney. 10/2/13. "People won’t look to an eternal home when they don’t have much a chance of surviving in the present."
  • Fr. John Zuhlsdorf: Andrea Tornielli has a piece today at Sacri Palazzi wherein he calls into question the veracity of Scalfari’s account of the interview with Pope Francis.