- Francis: “Don’t be airport bishops” La Stampa 09/19/13:
“Remain in the diocese without seeking change or promotion.” “Stay among your people. … Avoid the scandal of being 'airport bishops'!” Francis told newly appointed bishops in an audience in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace at noon today.
During the audience Francis preached against what he defined a “psychology of princes”, “ambitious men,” that is, “who espouse this Church while awaiting another, more beautiful and richer. Do not fall into the trap of careerism! It is a form of cancer!” he warned.
“Your heart must be large enough to be able to welcome all the men and women you meet during your days and whom you will seek out as you walk your parishes and your communities,” the Pope reminded bishops.
- Vatican says Francis’ tweets reach 60 million people La Stampa 09/17/13.
- Pope assures Rome priests that 'sanctity is stronger than scandals' Catholic News Service. 09/16/13.
- Under Pope Francis, liberation theology comes of age, by Francis X. Rocca. Catholic News Service. 09/13/13. Pope Francis' Sept. 11 meeting with Dominican Father Gustavo Gutierrez was an informal one, held in the in the pope's residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, and not listed on his official schedule. Yet the news that Pope Francis had received the 85-year old Peruvian priest, who is widely considered the father of liberation theology, has excited interest far beyond the Vatican's walls.
- Liberation theology finds new welcome in Pope Francis’ Vatican. Religion News Service. 09/13.13.
- Pope, greeting refugees, says solidarity is not a dirty word. Catholic News Service. 09/10/13. Speaking at an assistance center for foreign refugees in Italy, Pope Francis called on wealthy societies and the Catholic Church to do more to help and defend the rights of the needy.
- Christians, Muslims join Pope Francis in praying for peace in Syria Catholic News Service. 09/13/13.
- New book: Pope ran clandestine network to save suspected dissidents, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service. 09/12/13. While a military-backed dictatorship in Argentina was conducting a clandestine war on suspected dissidents, then-Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the future pope, masterminded a secret strategy to save those being targeted, according to a new book.
- Pope writes friendly response to Italian newspaper editorial CWN. 09/11.13. In another unexpected personal gesture, Pope Francis has written a lengthy response to an Italian journalist’s questions about how Catholics regard non-believers.
- Pope Francis promises to baptise unmarried woman's child in latest phone call The Telegraph [UK]. 09/07/13. In a surprise phone call to a pregnant, unmarried Italian woman, Pope Francis has promised to baptise her child if she cannot find a priest to do it. See also:
- Pope Francis shows his knack for communication with a flurry of letters and phone calls La Stampa 09/12/13).
- Telephone etiquette for 'the cold-call pope', by John Allen Jr. National Catholic Reporter 08/23/13.
- Vatican denies Pope made call to gay Catholic. The Vatican firmly denied reports in France on Friday that Pope Francis had telephoned a young gay French Catholic to reassure him. Christophe Trutino had claimed in a newspaper interview the Pontiff had told him “Your homosexuality. It doesn't matter" in a personal call. The Local: France's News in English. 09/06/13.
- Pope recalls World Youth Day as a great party of faith Catholic News Service. 09/04/13. See also:
- Pope Francis broadens dialogue with non-believers - John Thavis. 09/11/13.
- A new Vatican secretary of state, by John Thavis. 08/31/13. "As expected, Pope Francis today named Italian Archbishop Pietro Parolin as his new secretary of state. The move is important primarily because it brings diplomacy front and center to a position that for the last seven years was held by a non-diplomat."
- Bergoglio's words to Fr. Pepe: "I would rather they kill me than any of you” La Stampa 08/29/13. Before returning to Argentina, Fr. Pepe di Paola shared another story about the former archbishop of Buenos Aires.
- Poking the Pope, by Fr. Dwight Longenecker:
Every pope is both empowered and limited by his own history and culture. Pope Francis is from a generation and a culture which is Catholic. For the most part everyone is Catholic. They understand the basics of Christian morality and the fundamentals of the Christian story and the basic elements of the Catholic faith. Too often, however, that Catholic culture was impeded by a Church that had become overly clericalized, legalistic, condemnatory and hide bound.
Francis’ message to that kind of Catholic culture and that kind of Catholic Church is sharp and necessary. It’s fresh, creative and powerful. He’s basically saying, “Get out of your churchiness and get into the streets. Be with the people and share your faith together and bring Christ to those who have forgotten how to find him in the church.” As such his message is relevant and vital for the Church in South America and Central America where Catholics are being wooed away by Evangelicals who do present a vital, relevant and compassionately involved message.”
Francis’ message of forgiveness, acceptance and embrace of all works well enough in a Catholic culture where people know they are sinners and have a basic understanding of confession, reconciliation, forgiveness and healing. The problem in translating Francis’ message to post-Christian Europe, Liberal Protestant America and other developed countries is that most of the population either have no concept of sin in their lives or they deny the idea completely. Therefore Francis’ message of forgiveness, acceptance and embrace simply comes across as condoning whatever lifestyle people happen to have chosen. Catholics might make the distinction between loving the sinner and hating the sin…non Catholics both don’t and won’t make that distinction. Consequently, the Pope’s message simply comes across as him being a real nice guy who doesn’t judge anybody–like everybody else in our relativistic society.
Within his own largely Catholic context the Pope’s message works, but in our own culture his message is in danger of being interpreted as wishy washy, mealy mouthed liberal gobbledegook. He is saying to the homosexual person–”God loves and accepts you and so do I. But you need to sincerely seek him and turn from your sin.” The secular Westerner simply hears him say, “Hey man, I’m OK. You’re OK.” He says, “Neither to I condemn you go and sin no more” and they hear him say, “Neither do I condemn you. Do what you want.”
- 'Make a Mess!' Pope Francis at Six Months, by Charles J. Reid Jr. Professor of Law, University of St. Thomas. 09/19/13.
- Unprecedented liberal love for the Pope?, by Michael Peppard. Commonweal 09/18/13. Commentary marking six months of Pope Francis has been a love-fest from the most unexpected place: liberal talk show hosts.
- Pope Francis and the Jews: the first six months La Stampa 09/18/13. “There has never been a Pope with as deep an understanding of Jews as Pope Francis” states AJC’s Rabbi David Rosen. “The Jewish response has been remarkably warm.” Rome’s Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni: “an astounding capacity for communication”.
- Pope Francis and the Missionary Spirit, by James V. Schall, SJ. We are called to preach and proclaim the Gospel “courageously and in every situation.” Catholic World Report 09/16/13.
- Did Pope Francis say atheists don’t need to believe in God to be saved? (9 things to know), by Jimmy Akin. National Catholic Register 09/15/13. The press is full of accounts that, once again, claim that Pope Francis has said you don’t need to believe in God to go to heaven. Even atheists can go there, according to these reports. What’s the real story here?
- The Pope of mercy’s first six months in office, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider". Francis and a Church which is not scared to go out into the night of the people who have moved away from the faith.
- Francis at the six-month mark seems a force of nature, by John Allen Jr. National Catholic Reporter 09/13/13. "As it's come to be understood in the 21st century, the papacy is really an impossible job. A pope is expected to be the CEO of a global religious organization, a political heavyweight, an intellectual giant, and a media rock star, not to mention a living saint. Any one of those things is a life's work; rolled together, they're a prescription for perpetual frustration."
- Bishop Thomas J. Tobin: "I'm a little bit disappointed in Pope Francis" Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island. (As reported by Rorate Caeli 09/13/13):
The other thing I want to say though, is that I’m a little bit disappointed in Pope Francis that he hasn’t, at least that I’m aware of, said much about unborn children, about abortion, and many people have noticed that. I think it would be very helpful if Pope Francis would address more directly the evil of abortion and to encourage those who are involved in the pro-life movement. It’s one thing for him to reach out and embrace and kiss little children and infants as he has on many occasions. It strikes me that it would also be wonderful if in a spiritual way he would reach out and embrace and kiss unborn children.
- Our Pacifist Pope, by Nicholas G. Hahn III. First Things "On The Square" 09/10/13. Cardinal Ratzinger, the future and once pope, wrote in 2004 that it was ultimately OK to “be at odds” with the Bishop of Rome over the decision to wage war. Thank God for that.
- Pope Francis and the Church’s Witness Against War, by Fr. C.J. McCloskey. National Catholic Register 09/06/13.