Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pope Francis Roundup


  • Pope meets Rome Jews, commemorates deportations to Auschwitz Catholic News Service. 10/11/13:
    At a meeting with members of Rome's Jewish community, Pope Francis denounced anti-Semitism and recalled the 1943 deportation of more than 1,000 of the city's Jews to the most notorious Nazi death camp -- an incident that has proven a major source of tension between the papacy and Jewish leaders.

    "It's a contradiction for a Christian to be anti-Semitic, his roots are in part Jewish," the pope said Oct 11. "May anti-Semitism be banished from the heart and the life of every man and woman."

  • Pope Francis Convenes Extraordinary Synod on the Family for October 2014 10/8/13:
    The Holy See Press Office today announced that Holy Father Francis has convened the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in the Vatican from 5 to 19 October 2014, on the theme “The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation”.
    Via Edward Pentin (National Catholic Register):
    Reform of the Synod of Bishops was also a topic for discussion during the “G8” Council of Cardinals which met at the Vatican last week.

    According to the Vatican, the Holy Father said at last week’s meeting that prominent themes such as family and matrimonial pastoral duties “will be the order of the day in the activity of the Church in the near future.” This is likely to include an examination of the Church’s pastoral approach to divorced and remarried Catholics in the Church — a subject often raised by Francis and Benedict XVI in the recent past.

    Today’s announcement came after a two-day meeting of the synod council which ended today. Pope Francis surprised participants by taking part in some of the meeting.

  • Pope, in Assisi, calls on church to renounce 'spirit of the world' Catholic News Service. 10/04/13:
    Making his first pilgrimage as pope to the birthplace of his papal namesake, Pope Francis called on the whole church to imitate St. Francis of Assisi, embracing poverty and stripping itself of the "spirit of world."

    "A Christian cannot coexist with the spirit of the world," he said. Worldliness "leads us to vanity, arrogance, pride. And this is an idol, it is not of God."

    The pope spoke Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis, in the "stripping room" of the Assisi archbishop's residence, where the saint shed himself of his rich clothes and embraced a life of poverty.

    "This is a good occasion for inviting the church to strip itself," the pope said, adding that he directed his invitation not merely to the hierarchy but all the church's members, and that he sought renunciation of spiritual complacency as well as material riches.

    "It is so sad to find a worldly Christian, who thinks he enjoys the security of the faith and of the world. One can't have it both ways."

  • Pope, cardinal advisers looking at major overhaul of Roman Curia, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service. 10/3/13:
    Pope Francis and his international Council of Cardinals are laying out plans to completely overhaul the Roman Curia, underlining its role of "service to the universal church and the local churches," the Vatican spokesman said.

    As the pope and the eight cardinals he named to advise him were about to begin the final session of their Oct. 1-3 meeting, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the spokesman, said the role and responsibilities of the Vatican secretary of state, the revamping of the world Synod of Bishops, and the Vatican's attention to the role and responsibility of laity also were major themes of discussion.

  • In interviews, Pope Francis crafts a new genre of papal language, by Francis X. Rocca. Catholic News Service. 10/3/13:
    "This is a genre to which we were not accustomed," Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Oct. 2, the day after Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari published his account of a conversation with the pope. "Let's take it for what it is, seeking to interpret it correctly." ...

    Pope Francis' addition to the magisterial, canonical and pastoral forms of papal communication, Father Lombardi said, is a genre that might be termed "conversational," comprising not only the pope's interviews with journalists but also his off-the-cuff homilies at daily morning Masses, of which the Vatican publishes only summaries with verbatim excerpts.

    When the pope speaks spontaneously, his words should carry correspondingly less weight than in more traditional forms and contexts, Father Lombardi said.

  • Francis' teacher says Pope never supported Marxist theology Catholic News Agency. 09/13/13:
    One of Pope Francis' former teachers says in a new book that the Holy Father has never supported a Marxist-based liberation theology.

    “In the Argentinean Liberation Theology, social Marxist analysis is not used, but rather a historical-cultural analysis, not based on class warfare as a determining principle for the interpretation of society and history,” said Argentinean Jesuit priest Fr. Juan Carlos Scannone.

    “I think that the pastoral work of Bergoglio is understood in this context.”

  • Francis officially establishes “Council of Cardinals” to advise on Church government and Curia reform La Stampa 09/30/13. Francis has issued a chirograph officially establishing the eight-member Council of Cardinals to help him govern the Church and reform the Roman Curia.
  • Pope to canonize Blessed John XXIII, John Paul II April 27 Catholic News Service. 09/10/13. Recognizing that Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II have widespread reputations for holiness and that years of studying their lives and actions have proven their exceptional virtue, Pope Francis announced he would declare his two predecessors saints at a single ceremony April 27.
  • Pope Francis and Rabbi Skorka make history in the Vatican La Stampa 09/29/13:
    Never before in the history of Christian-Jewish relations have a Pope and a Rabbi celebrated their friendship by living in the Vatican together for several days, sharing all meals, including on two Jewish festivals and the Sabbath at which the Rabbi said prayers in Hebrew, and discussing what more they can do together to promote dialogue and peace in the world.

    That is what actually happened over the past four days at the Vatican guesthouse (Santa Marta) where Pope Francis lives and where his friend from Buenos Aires, Rabbi Abraham Skorka, has been his guest from September 25 to this day.

  • Francis makes key new appointments La Stampa. 09/20/13. Francis has started building his team of trusted collaborators. Cardinal Mauro Piacenza is being transferred to the Apostolic Penitentiary.


  • Finding a home in the confessional thanks to Pope Francis, by Renee Schafer Horton. National Catholic Reporter 10/10/13:
    I went to confession on Saturday. I think the last time I celebrated the sacrament in a traditional Saturday afternoon setting was more than a decade ago. When someone asked me why I was going, the answer was simple: I was compelled to go because of the pope.

    Not because Pope Francis has asked Catholics to get back in the confessional, but because his recent interviews and heartfelt actions as pastor in chief have made me want to be a better person and a more fulfilled, better practicing Catholic. I've felt like I've not only been given hope for the church, but a challenge for myself. ...

    Every day, I hear from Catholics who, like me, are reconsidering their lives, their actions, their faith practice, all because of an Argentine priest who proclaims, "I am a sinner." The pope isn't getting this reaction by outlining a list of do's and don'ts. Instead, the world's parish priest proclaims the message of God's mercy in such human terms one cannot help but listen. He lives a life so obviously influenced by Jesus that one cannot remain unaffected. It is almost as though, if you listen close enough, you can hear him say, without uttering a word, "Try this again; it will lead you to Jesus."

    This weekend, I did try it again, walking into a dimly lit confessional, getting on my knees and saying, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned." And for the first time in a long time, it felt like home.

  • Lapsed, but Listening, by Timothy Egan. New York Times 10/10/13:
    Pope Francis has shown himself to be a free spirit and a free thinker. He loves the music of Mozart, the paintings of Chagall, the films of Fellini. He tweets. He talks to atheists. He stays out of politics. He calls for the faithful to “mess up the church.” He doesn’t moralize or sermonize, and famously said, when asked about gays, “Who am I to judge?” Is this pope Catholic?

    Francis has befuddled the guardians of dogma and medieval sexual doctrines who have long kept sunlight out of the Vatican. He is — gasp — a liberal. Or at the least, as he said, “I have never been a right winger.” But to put him in those restrictive political terms does a disservice to the quiet revolution of Pope Francis.

    It’s long been known that most North American and European Catholics ignore church teachings on gays, contraception and abortion. These teachings range from absurd to unscientific to outright hateful. Without specifically changing the official line, Francis prompted millions of Catholics to give the church a second look when he criticized the hierarchy for being “obsessed” with those issues. Amen, said nearly 70 percent American Catholics who agreed with him in a Quinnipiac poll.

    [Not sure if this the message Francis intended to convey? -- Editor]
  • And where from here?, by Dale Price. Dyspeptic Mutterings 10/7/13. "I've come to the conclusion that, regardless of the actual temporal length (and may God grant Pope Francis many healthy years), this is going to be a loooooong papacy."
  • Francis' 'older son' problem; red herrings; and pingpong on financial reform National Catholic Reporter 10/11/13. |
  • Council of Cardinals; pope interviews; Assisi; Francis the mystic; and war on Christians, by John Allen Jr. National Catholic Reporter 10/04/13. "I've been covering the Vatican for almost 20 years, and aside from the two conclaves during that span, I'd be hard-pressed to recall many weeks with more breaking news than what we experienced the last seven days."
  • Pope Francis, Catechist in Action, by James V. Schall, SJ. Catholic World Report 09/30/13. Thoughts on the Holy Father's recent address about "one of the most beautiful educational adventures".
  • Pope Francis Calls For A Work, Not A Welfare, Culture Wheat and Weeds 09/28/13.
  • Eco: “Francis is the Pope of the world of globalization” The famous Italian semiotician, philosopher and writer, Umberto Eco, shares his views on Pope Francis in an exclusive interview with Argentina’s daily newspaper, La Nacion. 09/28/13.
  • The Danger of Good Popes, by Brantley Millegan. First Things "On The Square" 09/27/13:
    A number of Catholic authors have endeavored to defend Pope Francis from criticism, particularly stemming from his recent interview. They have tried to defend him not only from misinterpretation, but also from criticisms of what he actually did say, his style, his choice of what to emphasize, etc. Their goal is admirable, and I largely agree with their sentiments, but in an effort to defend Pope Francis, Catholics must be sure to not overstate the role, powers, and privileges of the papacy.

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