- 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)
- 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.