- Pope canonizes Martyrs of Otranto, Colombian Laura Montoya, and Mexican Guadalupe Garcia Zavala Vatican Information Service. 05/12/13:
“Let us look to the new saints in light of the Word of God that has been proclaimed,” the Pope said during his homily at the Mass in which three new saints were canonized. “It is a Word that has invited us to faithfulness to Christ, even unto martyrdom. It has recalled for us the urgency and beauty of bearing Christ and his Gospel to all. It has spoken to us of the witness of charity, without which even martyrdom and mission lose their Christian savour.”
The Martyrs of Otranto were more than 800 men from the southern Italian city who had survived the siege and invasion of Otranto only to be decapitated on the outskirts of the city when they refused to renounce their faith and died witnessing to the Risen Christ. “Where did they find the strength to remain faithful,” the Pope asked. “Precisely from the faith, which makes us see beyond the limits of our human sight, beyond this earthly life … God will never leave us without strength and serenity. While we venerate the Martyrs of Otranto, let us ask God to sustain the many Christians who, precisely at this time, now, and in many parts of the world, are still suffering violence, that He give them the valour to be faithful and to respond to evil with good.”
The second saint canonized, Mother Laura Montoya, “was an instrument of evangelisation, first as a teacher and then as the spiritual mother of the indigenous peoples in whom she instilled hope, embracing them with the love she had learned from God, bringing them to him with a pedagogical efficiency that respected their culture and didn't put itself in opposition to it. … This first saint born in the beautiful Colombian land teaches us to be generous with God, to not live the faith in isolation—as if it were possible to live the faith in an isolated way—but to communicate it, to bear the joy of the Gospel with words and witness of life in every sphere in which we find ourselves. … She teaches us to see Jesus' face reflected in others, to overcome indifference and selfishness, which corrode Christian communities and corrode our hearts, and she teaches us to embrace everyone without prejudice, without discrimination, and without reticence, but with sincere love, giving them the best of ourselves and above all sharing with them what we have that is most precious—not our deeds or our institutions. No! What we have that is most precious is Christ and his Gospel.”
Saint Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, “renouncing a life of ease—and how damaging the easy life, well-being, can be; the “embourgeoisement” of our hearts that paralyses us—...to follow Jesus' call, who taught her to love poverty so that she could love the poor and the sick more. … The poor, the abandoned, the ill, the marginalized are the flesh of Christ. Mother Lupita touched Christ's flesh and taught us this way of acting: of not being embarrassed, not being afraid, not being disgusted to 'touch the flesh of Christ'! … This new Mexican saint invites us to love as Jesus has loved us and this entails not being locked up in oneself, in our own problems, our own ideas, our own interests, in this little world that causes us so much harm, but to go out and go in search of who needs attention, understanding, and help, in order to bring them the warm nearness of God's love through tactful gestures of sincere affection and love.”
At the end of his homily, the Pope emphasized that the new saints teach us “faithfulness to Jesus and his Gospel, to proclaim him in word and with our lives, witnessing to God's love with our love and with our charity towards all.”
- Francis' Pontificate Consecrated to Our Lady of Fatima Pope Francis’ pontificate was consecrated Monday to the protection of the Virgin Mary, during a Mass held at the Shrine of Fatima. Zenit. 05/14/13.
- Pope Francis Addresses Tens of Thousands of Pro-Life Marchers, by Anugrah Kumar, Christian Post. 05/13/13.
- Pope tells sisters the church needs them, they need the church, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service. 05/08/13:
"What would the church be without you?" the pope told the women May 8. "It would be missing maternity, affection, tenderness and a mother's intuition."
Religious superiors, Pope Francis said, need to ensure their members are educated in the doctrine of the church, "in love for the church and in an ecclesial spirit."
Quoting Pope Paul VI, he said: "It's an absurd dichotomy to think one can live with Jesus, but without the church, to follow Jesus outside the church, to love Jesus and not the church."
- Historic Meeting Takes Place Between Pope Francis and Coptic Pope Tawadros II, Emphasize Promotion of Ecumenical Dialogue Between Both Churches. Zenit 05/10/13.
- Pope encourages leader of Cuba’s dissident “women in white”, by Gerard O'Connell. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 05/09/13. Pope Francis blessed and encouraged Berta Soler, leader of Cuba’s “Damas de Blanco”, to continue their peaceful, non-violent struggle for human rights and freedom.
- World Youth Day: Pope Francis’ Brazil schedule out The official schedule for World Youth day 2013 has been published. Pope Francis will visit Rio’s favelas and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida. La Stampa 05/07/13.
- Pope Francis is attached to traditional devotions and is not afraid to show it, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 05/06/13. He has already been to pray before the icon of the Salus Poluli Romani twice and is also deeply devoted to St, Joseph and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.
- Pope Francis and the Liturgy, by Alejandro Bermudez. National Catholic Register 05/11/13. No genius is needed to figure out that Pope Francis is not a liturgist the way Pope Benedict was. But the fear that Francis’ papacy may mark the “end of the reform of the reform” of the liturgical changes that were introduced after the Second Vatican Council is, frankly, unfounded.
- The Catholic Church's two months with a Pope “from the other side of the world”, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 05/11/13. A look at what changes have been and will be made during Francis’ pontificate.
- Benedict and Francis: A Lesson in Apostolic Continuity, by William L. Patenaude. Catholic World Report 05/06/13. The differences between the two men give witness to the different gifts of the same Holy Spirit.
- Fr. James V. Schall on Pope Francis Catholic World Report 05/07/13:
It is good that we have a Latin American pope. Something like forty percent of the world’s Catholics is in Latin America. My impression of the Latino students that I had at Georgetown over the years is that they were some of the most dynamic and culturally adjusted people to faith and reason that I had ever met.
It is nice to have a pope who is also a Jesuit; provided that we remember that he is first pope, and only incidentally a Jesuit or anything else. Jesuits are not supposed to want to be popes or bishops or anything else elevated. This tradition does not mean there is anything is wrong with such offices. Rather it means other things need to be done that such offices would impede. But such hierarchical offices are of the very structure of the Church that Christ established. Jesuit vows were not designed as a critique of some mistake in Christ’s founding. Moreover, I suspect that Pope Francis, if he is tough on anybody, will be most tough on the Jesuits, as we would expect if we are men worthy of the tradition of St. Ignatius.
As many have pointed out, since Pope Francis has left no real paper trail, as previous popes have done, it difficult to read him. His interest in the poor and the humble ought not to lead us to think that he wants everyone to be poor so he can care for them, or that he wants everyone to be proud so he can be humble by comparison. He seems to be a very likable and honest man. He does not have a lot of other baggage. His desire is to serve the Lord.
The pope faces many huge problems, most of which are just below the surface. They are not only within the Church itself. In fact, I would say, for what it’s worth, that the main concern of Pope Francis’ tenure will be concerned with what can only be called persecution and legal discrimination against the Church. We are little prepared for this. In divine providence, it may take a man like Francis to deal with it.
- Exploring the Homeland of Pope Francis, by Michael T. Luongo. New York Times 05/09/13.