Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pope Francis Roundup!



  • 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.

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