- Pope Stresses Selfless Service to Youth at Holy Thursday Mass, by Edward Pentin. National Catholic Register 03/28/13. The Holy Father opened the Triduum by spending it with young men and women at Casal del Marmo, a youth detention center in Rome -- from Salt & Light, the full text of Pope Francis’ homily.
- Pope Francis includes women in papal feet washing ceremony for first time Reuters 03/28/13. Two young women were among 12 people whose feet Pope Francis washed and kissed at a traditional ceremony in a Rome youth prison on Holy Thursday, the first time a pontiff has included females [and Muslims] in the rite. [Full roundup of news, reactions and commentary on the papal foot-washing].
- official text of Pope Francis’ Homily for Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday 2013:
... A good priest can be recognized by the way his people are anointed. This is a clear test. When our people are anointed with the oil of gladness, it is obvious: for example, when they leave Mass looking as if they have heard good news. Our people like to hear the Gospel preached with “unction”, they like it when the Gospel we preach touches their daily lives, when it runs down like the oil of Aaron to the edges of reality, when it brings light to moments of extreme darkness, to the “outskirts” where people of faith are most exposed to the onslaught of those who want to tear down their faith. People thank us because they feel that we have prayed over the realities of their everyday lives, their troubles, their joys, their burdens and their hopes. And when they feel that the fragrance of the Anointed One, of Christ, has come to them through us, they feel encouraged to entrust to us everything they want to bring before the Lord: “Pray for me, Father, because I have this problem”, “Bless me”, “Pray for me” – these words are the sign that the anointing has flowed down to the edges of the robe, for it has turned into prayer. The prayers of the people of God.
When we have this relationship with God and with his people, and grace passes through us, then we are priests, mediators between God and men. What I want to emphasize is that we need constantly to stir up God’s grace and perceive in every request, even those requests that are inconvenient and at times purely material or downright banal – but only apparently so – the desire of our people to be anointed with fragrant oil, since they know that we have it. To perceive and to sense, even as the Lord sensed the hope-filled anguish of the woman suffering from hemorrhages when she touched the hem of his garment. At that moment, Jesus, surrounded by people on every side, embodies all the beauty of Aaron vested in priestly raiment, with the oil running down upon his robes. It is a hidden beauty, one which shines forth only for those faith-filled eyes of the woman troubled with an issue of blood. But not even the disciples – future priests – see or understand: on the “existential outskirts”, they see only what is on the surface: the crowd pressing in on Jesus from all sides (cf. Lk 8:42). The Lord, on the other hand, feels the power of the divine anointing which runs down to the edge of his cloak.
We need to “go out”, then, in order to experience our own anointing, its power and its redemptive efficacy: to the “outskirts” where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters. It is not in soul-searching or constant introspection that we encounter the Lord: self-help courses can be useful in life, but to live by going from one course to another, from one method to another, leads us to become pelagians and to minimize the power of grace, which comes alive and flourishes to the extent that we, in faith, go out and give ourselves and the Gospel to others, giving what little ointment we have to those who have nothing, nothing at all.
- Today the Holy Father appointed Bishop Mario Aurelio Poli as metropolitan archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Vatican Information Service 03/28/13.
- Pope Francis and Henri de Lubac, SJ, by Carl Olson. Catholic World Report 03/28/13:
The influence of de Lubac, one of the finest Jesuit theologians of the past century, on Bergoglio is also obvious in this 2007 interview, which ends with this remark:
[Q:] For you, then, what is the worst thing that can happen in the Church?
BERGOGLIO: It is what De Lubac calls «spiritual worldliness». It is the greatest danger for the Church, for us, who are in the Church. «It is worse», says De Lubac, «more disastrous than the infamous leprosy that disfigured the dearly beloved Bride at the time of the libertine popes». Spiritual worldliness is putting oneself at the center. It is what Jesus saw going on among the Pharisees: «… You who glorify yourselves. Who give glory to yourselves, the ones to the others».
- “Francis, the champion of mercy who will not yield on doctrine” Interview with Peruvian Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, Archbishop of Lima. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 03/28/13:
Many do see him as a revolutionary…
“We mustn’t try to fit the Pope into an ideological model; he is completely beyond this. He presented the idea of a poor Church for the poor but he cannot be interpreted within an ideological framework such as that of liberation theology. This would not do justice to a man of such intellectual depth as Bergoglio, whose love of Christ takes him back to the early sources of the Christian spirit.”
Some critics say his gestures show an intention to “deconsecrate” the papacy: is this so?
“We must not confuse the Pope’s natural way with people, with his responsibilities as Vicar of Christ. I think he is very clear about the distinction between the two things. He does not intend to deconsecrate, his actions are just simple. It’s not easy being a prisoner of protocol which leads you to say: “Don’t take away my freedom!” He is a profoundly free man and with everyone’s help he will continue along the right path. The people want the Pope to be close to them, but they also want the Pope’s ministry.”
- “We rejoice to have a Pope that the world needs and Asia needs” Interview with Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay and also President of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference (FABC). La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 03/28/13.
- Evangelical Catholicism, Pope Francis, and the 21st-Century Church An interview with George Weigel. The Catholic World Report 03/28/13.
- Francis Looks 10 Years Younger, Says Argentine Journalist Journalist Eduardo Woites talked with ZENIT about his former archbishop's style, and the impression that people in Buenos Aires have on seeing the Pontiff on television. Zenit 03/28/13.
- Pope Francis and the Reform of the Priesthood, by Father Roger Landry. National Catholic Register 03/28/13:
One of the most urgent reforms facing him is the restoration of the moral credibility of the hierarchy, and especially of the priesthood. The scandals of clerical sex abuse and tales of Vatican corruption have not only severely undermined the Church’s moral authority, but given the impression that living by the Church’s teachings forms freaks and moral monsters rather than saints.
In his first couple of weeks as Pope, as well as his 14 years in Buenos Aires, Francis has been charting out the trajectory of priestly reshaping. We can focus on seven aspects of this needed renewal.
- Anatomy of a Lie: The Assault on Pope Francis’ Reputation, by Victor Gaetan. 03/28/13. Who Slanders Pope Francis — and Why? National Catholic Register 03/28/13.