Saturday, March 16, 2013



Please note altar arrangement (briefly in video) of Pope Francis' cathedral in Argentina:


I was able to catch a portion of the Holy Father's meeting with those of the "World's Media" who were reporting the papal conclave and his election and I want to tell you, this pope is a force to be reckoned with.

He is greeting various people in the media, both clergy and laity, men and women and he is allowing them to genuflect, kiss his hand, ring and hug him, I mean hug and kiss him!

He knows how to connect with people, he knows how to communicate. He uses a written text, but leaves it quite often or simply uses it to keep him on track.

This is a gregarious pope, not in Cardinal Dolan's style, but something much different and heart warming, authentic, not forced.

Some money quotes:

He chose St. Francis of Assisi as his name, as Saint Francis is the man of peace, loves the environment, he is the man of poor. It was not St. Francis Xavier or de Sales.

The Church is not political, her mission is spiritual. She can't be politicized and move away from the teachings of the Church.

He spoke of Mary as the star of the new evangelization. He is very Marian. Mary is the Mother of God who leads us to Christ.

Christ is the Shepherd of the Church, her center, not the Pope!

I will post more of a transcript later.

His final blessing after greeting the select few was quite ecumenical and unusual. He stated that he recognized that many of the people in the audience were not Catholic, not Christian and some not believers. He would bless them in silence, but that they were children of God. "I respect the conscience of each of you!" May God bless you.

This is how to evangelize folks, you don't shove the faith down anyone's throat. I always tell our inquirers that we are here to lead you to Christ and His Church, but you don't have to become Catholic. The Church cannot be forced upon you!

Some of us will not like this pope's liturgical style and simple ways that eschews the pomp of the trappings of the papacy. He wore black shoes, his own shoes that he wore to the conclave and there were black pants under his white papal cassock that bled thorugh the white!

But when we give this pope a chance, he will win us over for it is not about him but about Christ and sharing Christ with the world!



Vatican City, 16 March 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father greeted over 6,000 journalists and those working in the media as well as for the Holy See, accredited either permanently or temporarily, to cover the events related to the Conclave. He addressed them with the following words:
“Dear friends, I am pleased, at the beginning of my ministry in the See of Peter, to meet with you who have worked here in Rome at this very intense period that began with the surprising announcement of my venerated predecessor Benedict XVI, this past 11 February. I warmly greet each of you.”

“The role of the mass media has been continuously growing in recent times,” he said, “so much so that it has become essential to narrate the events of contemporary history to the world. I therefore especially thank you for your distinguished service these past few days—you have had a bit of work to do, haven't you?—when the eyes of the Catholic world, and not only, were turned toward the Eternal City, in particular to this area that has St. Peter's tomb as its focal point. In these past few weeks you've gotten a chance to talk about the Holy See, the Church, her rites and traditions, her faith, and, in particular, the role of the Pope and his ministry.”

“A particularly heart-felt thanks goes to those who have been able to observe and present these events in the Church's history while keeping in mind the most just perspective in which they must be read, that of faith. Historical events almost always require a complex reading that, at times, can also include the dimension of faith. Ecclesial events are certainly not more complicated than political or economic ones. But they have one particularly fundamental characteristic: they answer to a logic that is not mainly that of, so to speak, worldly categories, and this is precisely why it is not easy to interpret and communicate them to a wide and varied audience. In fact, the Church, although it is certainly also a human, historical institution with all that that entails, does not have a political nature but is essentially spiritual: it is the people of God, the holy people of God who walk toward the encounter with Jesus Christ. Only by putting oneself in this perspective can one fully explain how the Catholic Church works.”
“Christ is the Church's Shepherd, but His presence in history moves through human freedom. Among these, one is chosen to serve as his Vicar, Successor of the Apostle Peter, but Christ is the centre, the fundamental reference, the heart of the Church! Without Him, neither Peter nor the Church would exist or have a reason for being. As Benedict XVI repeated often, Christ is present and leads His Church. In everything that has happened, the protagonist is, ultimately, the Holy Spirit. He has inspired Benedict XVI's decision for the good of the Church; He has guided the cardinals in their prayers and in their election. Dear friends, it is important to take due account of this interpretive horizon, this hermeneutic, to bring the heart of the events of these days into focus.”

“From this is born, above all, a renewed and sincere thanks for your efforts in these particularly challenging days, but also an invitation to always seek to know more the Church's true nature and the spiritual motivations that guide her and that are the most authentic for understanding her. Rest assured that the Church, for her part, is very attentive to your precious work. You have the ability to gather and express the expectations and needs of our times, to provide the elements necessary to read reality. Like many other professions, your job requires study, sensitivity, and experience but it bears with it a particular attention to truth, goodness, and beauty. This makes us particularly close because the Church exists to communicate Truth, Goodness, and Beauty 'in person'. It should be clear that we are all called, not to communicate ourselves, but rather this existential triad that shapes truth, goodness, and beauty.”

“Some people didn't know why the Bishop of Rome wanted to call himself 'Francis'. Some though of Francis Xavier, Francis de Sales, even Francis of Assisi. I will tell you the story. At the election I had the archbishop emeritus of Sao Paulo next to me. He is also prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes [O.F.M.]: a dear, dear friend. When things were getting a little 'dangerous', he comforted me. And then, when the votes reached the two-thirds, there was the usual applause because the Pope had been elected. He hugged me and said: 'Do not forget the poor.' And that word stuck here [tapping his forehead]; the poor, the poor. Then, immediately in relation to the poor I thought of Francis of Assisi. Then I thought of war, while the voting continued, until all the votes [were counted]. And so the name came to my heart:: Francis of Assisi. For me he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who love and safeguards Creation. In this moment when our relationship with Creation is not so good—right?—He is the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man … Oh, how I wish for a Church that is poor and for the poor!”

“I wish the best for you, I thank you for everything that you have done. And I think of your work: I wish you to work fruitfully and with serenity and to always know better the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the reality of the Church. I entrust you to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of evangelization. I I wish the best for you and your families, for each of your families, and I wholeheartedly impart to all of you the blessing.”

After personally greeting some of the journalists present, Pope Francis, in Spanish, concluded: “I told you I wholeheartedly imparted my blessing. Many of you don't belong to the Catholic Church, others are not believers. From my heart I impart this blessing, in silence, to each of you, respecting the conscience of each one, but knowing that each of you is a child of God: May God bless you.”


WSquared said...

"This is how to evangelize folks, you don't shove the faith down anyone's throat."

Agreed. Wholeheartedly agreed. I think for many, many Catholics, though, the opposite problem is manifest: what they take to mean "not shoving the faith down anyone's throat" tends to translate as bending over backwards to not "offend" anyone, whereby everyone else's traditions and beliefs are sacrosanct, but the tradition and belief of the Catholic Church are always and everywhere negotiable.

I will admit that one of the things I find frustrating and for which I pray for patience is that way too many Catholics think that "turning the other cheek" means that they ought to let the Non-Catholic steamroller them, emotionally blackmail them, or even bully them, all so that people "don't get the wrong idea" about Catholic tradition and the Catholic faith. Well, those non-Catholics are going to "get the wrong idea," anyhow, if you cannot explain-- gently and warmly, yes, but as firm as you are gentle and warm-- what the Catholic Church teaches and why she teaches what she teaches. If shoving the faith down people's throats is not the way to evangelize, what I've described above is the other side of the How Not To Evangelize coin.

I do, however, have confidence that this Pope advances apologetics without apology by his much-needed example of lived faith: in other words, he apologizes for his sins, and the past sins of the all-too-human members of the Body of Christ, but not for the existence of the Body of Christ and the faith that she has been given.

I wish I could've been able to give Benedict XVI a big hug (because he was so loving, and the love was there for anyone who cared to get to know him better), and I wish I could give this Pope a hug, too. I think that if John Paul II and Benedict XVI really taught us to know the faith on a deep spiritual and intellectual level, this Pope will show us how to share it.

Gregorian Mass said...

A Church that is poor can no longer generate interest from people both outside and inside the Faith that flock to the Vatican and generate revenue which in the end winds up with the poor. It is a cycle and like it or not people go to the Vatican to see its' splendour and arts. Many are attracted to what some people call trappings. In turn they learn about the Faith and are drawn in. The trappings are but one tool in attracting converts. Once they are inside the Church and their souls have been saved it does not really matter how they arrived. But pretty sure if the whole Church dressed in simple robes, did away with their treasures, and only the simplest of liturgies were performed, less and less people would feel there is something to see in the Vatican. Less donations, less of everything. And the money being generated for the poor will dry up. You can work in the vineyard of the poor in red or brown shoes. Continuity in the office of the Pope should dictate this. Folks playing it off as if somehow red shoes cost more that brown is misleading. Either they are donated or paid for either way. Statements or gestures that pit one group of people in the Church against another is simply wrong. And if coming from a Pope will only lead to more confusion and disorientation from Pontificate to Pontificate. this is something to be concerned about. If Tradition and protocol can not be observed by a Pope then why should parishes follow? Or obey the GIRM? Or the Missal for that matter. Well you see the Pope doesn't, it is all an option. No folks, the messages here are not good. He is our Pope, but so far what he is teaching by action is deeply troubling.

Bradley said...

We have to be be careful that Pope Francis' constant repetition of "the poor" doesn't turn this vague term into some kind of false idol.

Or that all the media's constant praising of Fran's "simple and humble" style becomes vain and egocentric.

Gene said...

As I have said before, helping the poor goes without saying for Christians. Worshipping the poor, however, is another matter. One might also bear in mind that there would likely be no Catholic Church if it were not for the rich and the middle classes who have obediently poured money into the Church for centuries.
Bear in mind also that the Left uses the "poor" and "minorities" as tools for leveling our society, destroying Western values and culture, and trying to bring about a mythical socialist utopia. Social justice and the egalitarian propaganda that goes with it is the slogan of the Left. In many cases, they have managed to co-opt the Church into supporting, inadvertently or otherwise, the very types of collectivist governments that the Catechism condemns. So, be suspicious, be paranoid, and be aware...

Gregorian Mass said...

Indeed the rich and middle classes donate alot of monies to the Church which ultimately in part goes to the poor. Offending their sensibilities by suggesting even in the slightest way that it was not done up until this Pontificate is untruthful. The Catholic Church is the biggest Charitable Organization in the world. Perhaps they should have advertised or made more public this knowledge. Would be better for this Pontificate to point this out and then expand upon it. Not act as if social justice and works for the poor are a new, novel, modern idea coming from this new Pontificate. because that is how it is coming across.