Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pope Francis’ Poverty Will be Forgotten

Pope Francis at Mass with Janitors and Gardeners
In this first week of his papacy Pope Francis has made some stunning and memorable gestures toward the Franciscan ideal of poverty. They have produced a fantastic splash of public relations positives, but they are not mere PR gimmicks. Jorge Bergoglio has lived a life of apostolic simplicity for many years, and he lives and works from a position of genuine affection for the poor and ministers positively for the poor.
However, the vast crowds (of mostly rich people) who profess to love his simplicity of life are responding sentimentally. There is a syrupy idea that the poor are wonderful just because they’re poor. There is also a very warm hearted feeling toward St Francis, who preached to the birdies and hugged trees and kissed lepers. This sentimental approach to poverty and ministry to the poor is shallow and naive. It’s the stuff of St Francis statues in the backyard, and the sickly sentimentality of that creepy sixties movie Brother Sun, Sister Moon in which a beautiful young Francis went tumbling through fields of flowers.
In fact, anyone who works with the poor realizes that it is very complicated. People are not noble and good simply because they are poor. The Franciscans I know are tough and hard headed and realistic. The latte sipping crowd who think the Pope is “just marvelous” because he doesn’t go in for the limousine or the trappings of the office are strangely deaf if we suggest that they follow his example. They’re all quiet happy for the Pope to sell off the riches of the church, but they’re not about to have a garage sale.
When Pope Francis gets down to work things will change. When his love of poverty shifts to criticism of the rich and powerful we’ll find that suddenly the media and the champagne socialists will not love him so much. When his love of the vulnerable and disabled shifts to criticism of euthanasia or defense of immigrants the non Catholics who think he’s a darling will decide that he’s a dark Lord. When his love of children and hatred of child abuse shifts to an attack on abortion and sex trafficking those who think he’s wonderful will soon say he’s wicked. When his love of old people and the family becomes a condemnation of divorce, pornography and homosexuality they’ll forget their affection for him and get out their knives.
When his kissing of prisoners’ feet shifts to calling for better conditions in prisons, for proper investment in rehabilitation programs and an end to the death penalty the warm opinion non Catholics have of him will soon crumble.
Not only will the worldlings dislike him, but so will Catholics. When his love of poverty shifts to a demand that we all follow his example and start tithing seriously all the Catholics who think he’s so wonderful will suddenly fall silent, put their tail between their legs and shuffle off home to their three car garages. When his love for the poor starts demanding that we re-examine our international trade practices they’ll forget that they loved his poverty. When his love for the peace makes him criticize the warrior country America they’ll soon forget how much they liked him. When his love for children and the family turns to an attack on the contraceptive culture they’ll perhaps not like him quite so much.
I predict that before too very long he’ll be under attack. The attacks will be vicious and cruel and unfair–like Christopher Hitchen’s famous attack on Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Pope Francis may continue to live in poverty and eschew the trappings of the papacy, but no one will notice. The “poverty effect” will be short lived. It will be played down, and if my hunch is right–it will even come under attack. The same members of the secular press who are now licking his hands will turn and bite him. They will say his “poverty” was a sham, a public relations stunt and that he is just another hypocritical Catholic prelate.
What may be even worse, is that Pope Francis’ public displays of poverty may overshadow his papacy, and that the members of the secular press (if they are very clever) will keep Pope Francis up front and center as a sentimental Franciscan-type figure, while studiously ignoring everything else he attempts to do. If they are really smart they will focus all the attention on the fact that he kisses the feet of AIDS patients, moves out of the papal apartments, wears black army boots and calls out to order a pizza all the time ignoring his real work of preaching the gospel and being a prophetic sign of contradiction to our age.
I hope readers will not mis understand this post. It is not an attack on Pope Francis’ embrace of poverty for the sake of the gospel. I am happy about the election and want to learn from this new Pope. However, I do think that the link with St Francis and “Lady Poverty” will be short lived, misunderstood or even be counter productive as I’ve outlined, and once the honeymoon period is over Pope Francis’ battle with the forces of darkness will begin in earnest. His embrace of poverty will help him win some battles in that war, but the war will be much bigger than the Franciscan gestures at poverty which have been so effective and productive so far.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Francis: 'A Good Priest Is Recognized by the Way His People Are Anointed'
In First Chrism Mass Homily, Pontiff Reflects on Priestly Ministry
Vatican City, March 28, 2013(Zenit.orgJunno Arocho Esteves | 664 hits
In his homily for the first Chrism Mass of his pontificate, Pope Francis reflected on the image of anointing and the priesthood. The Holy Father began his homily by greeting the priests who were present at the Mass, which he said, “recalls the day of your ordination.”

The readings, he said, focused on God’s anointed ones: the suffering Servant of Isaiah, King David and Jesus Christ. Pope Francis stated that the anointing of all three is meant “in turn to anoint God’s faithful people”, meaning, the poor, prisoners, and the oppressed.
The Holy Father went on to contemplate on the symbolism of the image of the High Priest Aaron, mentioned in Psalm 133 which says, “it is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down upon the collar of his robe.”
“The image of spreading oil,” the Pope said, “flowing down from the beard of Aaron upon the collar of his sacred robe, is an image of the priestly anointing which, through Christ, the Anointed One, reaches the ends of the earth, represented by the robe.”
“From the beauty of all these liturgical things, which is not so much about trappings and fine fabrics than about the glory of our God resplendent in his people, alive and strengthened, we turn to a consideration of activity, action. The precious oil which anoints the head of Aaron does more than simply lend fragrance to his person; it overflows down to the edges.”
‘The Oil of Gladness’
Contemplating on the priestly ministry, the Holy Father stated that “a good priest can be recognized by the way his people are anointed.” Pope Francis went on to say that a clear test of a good priest is when the faithful are anointed with “the oil of gladness” upon receiving the good news of the Gospel.
“Our people like to hear the Gospel preached with unction, they like it when the Gospel we preach touches their daily lives, when it runs down like the oil of Aaron to the edges of reality, when it brings light to moments of extreme darkness, to the outskirts where people of faith are most exposed to the onslaught of those who want to tear down their faith,” the Pope said.
“People thank us because they feel that we have prayed over the realities of their everyday lives, their troubles, their joys, their burdens and their hopes.”
The 76 year old Pontiff went on to say that when priests establish this relationship between God and the faithful, priests in turn become “mediators between God and men.
“We need to go out, then, in order to experience our own anointing, its power and its redemptive efficacy: to the outskirts where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters,” Pope Francis said.
“It is not in soul-searching or constant introspection that we encounter the Lord: self-help courses can be useful in life, but to live by going from one course to another, from one method to another, leads us to become pelagians and to minimize the power of grace, which comes alive and flourishes to the extent that we, in faith, go out and give ourselves and the Gospel to others, giving what little ointment we have to those who have nothing, nothing at all.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the lay faithful to support priests with both affections and prayer. Directing his words to the priests, the Holy Father called upon God to “renew in us the Spirit of holiness with whom we have been anointed.”
“May our people,” he concluded, “sense that we are the Lord's disciples; may they feel that their names are written upon our priestly vestments and that we seek no other identity; and may they receive through our words and deeds the oil of gladness which Jesus, the Anointed One, came to bring us.”
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On ZENIT's web page:
For the full text of Pope Francis' homily, go to: 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rome will no change him.

National Catholic Register

‘Rome Will Not Change Him,’ Argentinian Catholics Say of Pope Francis
The humble pastoral style that has caught the world’s attention is well known to Catholics in Buenos Aires, as is his deep Marian devotion.
CNA/Sabrina Fusco
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Antonio Petta, an Italian-Argentinian industrialist and publisher, became friends with Pope Francis while collaborating on charitable outreach in the archdiocese of Buenos Aires.
After their late-night committee meetings, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio would walk through downtown Buenos Aires to his apartment off the Plaza de Mayo, and he told Petta of the suffering he encountered during these nocturnal journeys home.
“At that hour, he saw with much sadness how many families camped and slept on the streets or near metro stations. He has insisted constantly on the duty that the Church has to help those in such dire need,” Petta said.
So it’s no surprise that during Holy Thursday liturgies in Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio washed the feet of AIDS patients and others on the margins of city life, just as during his first Holy Week as Pope, he will wash the feet of incarcerated youth in a juvenile detention center in Rome.
Petta was one of several prominent Catholics in Buenos Aires to speak with the Register about a local Church leader largely unknown outside Latin America, even as the faithful across the world embrace his distinctive pastoral style.
These Argentinians describe an evangelist with a deep Marian devotion. As the archbishop of Buenos Aires, he offered God’s mercy to all, and could be found hearing confessions in shantytown parishes. He knew the name of every diocesan priest, and he asked them to know the name of every parishioner by getting out of the rectory and into the community.
They speak of a leader who prefers dialogue to confrontation. He arrived at meetings by bus, and elicited all viewpoints before issuing a “charitable” but precise judgment.
“He has a very personal style that emerges from his desire to imitate Christ as perfectly as he can,” observed Jorge "Giorgio" Sernani, founder of the Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a lay group confirmed and encouraged by Pope John Paul II.
“It is to be lamented that some want to spin his modesty and humility as a concealed criticism of his predecessors. Bergoglio is just what he is: himself. He has never played counterpoint to anything or anyone.”

Humble Origins
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born on Dec. 17, 1936, in Buenos Aires, one of five children in a family headed by an Italian-born father, a railway worker who immigrated to Argentina.
Jorge Mario entered the Society of Jesus in 1958, and was ordained 1969, later serving as the provincial of the Jesuit order in Argentina. In 1992, he was appointed auxiliary bishop in Buenos Aires, and archbishop in 1998. Blessed John Paul II made him a cardinal in 2001.
From the time of his appointment as an auxiliary bishop onward, Bergoglio retained a simple way of life, living in an apartment, cooking his own meals and traveling by mass transit.
Father Marcelo Pettinaroli, now pastor of Nuestra Señora del Carmen parish in a northern Buenos Aires neighborhood, recalled that Bergoglio made his mark soon after his episcopal appointment.
He “visited elderly members of the flock that lived alone, retired priests and religious in the area, especially those who were hospitalized or sick,” said Father Pettinaroli. 
“At that time everyone close to him noticed he lived an austere, almost spartan life, but not devoid of joy and good humor. He was known for peppering his chats with anecdotes and an occasional funny story.”

Open-Door Policy
Later, when Father Pettinaroli served as a seminary instructor for the archdiocese, he came to appreciate the archbishop’s “open doors” policy: “Any request for an audience was granted within two days at most and very often immediately.”
Father Peter Short, a U.S.-born priest who serves in the Diocese of Cordoba in Argentina, benefited from the archbishop’s generous spiritual counsel while weighing the possibility of transitioning from a religious order to a local diocese.
“There are bishops you can’t get an interview with for months even if you are one of their priests,” said Father Short.
“Priests from his diocese say he is not keen on the bureaucratic aspect [of Church administration],” he added. “He wants things to be more direct and simple.”
In meetings, Father Pettinaroli reports, the new Pope “listens first to all the points of view and allows some time for everyone to grasp the problem at hand. Then he … gives counsel, which is most frequently on the spot,” said the priest.
He suggested that Pope Francis would move prudently before taking decisive action in the Vatican: “He does not like drastic changes, so we should expect him to take some time to understand the situation and then effect whatever changes are needed with charity and love.”
Pope Francis will face fresh challenges as the Vicar of Christ and this humble Church leader will soon be a familiar figure on the world stage. But Father Pettinaroli is certain of one thing: the man he knows will “not change.”
“He is a hard worker and merciful man as well,” he said. “He lives what he preaches and leads by example. Rome will not change him.”

Marian Devotion
People who follow him closely, like Antonio Petta and Giorgio Sernani, who has written extensively on Marian subjects, say that Pope Francis’ pastoral approach is the fruit of his deep devotion to the Virgin Mary.
“Rome and the world should make an effort to understand that Pope Francis is going to be a Marian Pope,” Sernani noted.
 “In my opinion, he is confirming the presence of Mary in Rome,” he said. “He insisted in visiting St. Mary Major as soon as possible to trust the Roman people to the care of Our Blessed Mother.“
Antonio Petta assisted Cardinal Bergoglio while serving on the organizing commission of the Corpus Christi procession at the cathedral of Buenos Aires and still expresses gratitude for the cardinal’s decision to include the Virgin Mary in the Corpus Christi celebration, a traditional expression of popular piety fostered by the Buenos Aires archbishop.
Petta has been involved in the ecclesiastically approved apparitions of the Virgin Mary in the city of Lanús, south of Buenos Aires, where she has appeared regularly as St. Mary of the Holy Spirit. And though Lanús is not in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio asked Petta to keep him informed in detail of everything happening at the Marian events in Lanús, and the cardinal attended a few pilgrimages.
“Today we are at the House of Our Mother to ask her something: that she will help us work for justice,” said Cardinal Bergoglio during an October 2012 pilgrimage to the shrine. On that occasion, he asked the Virgin Mary to give the faithful “strength to work for justice, serenity when we are going through difficulties, and that we know how to be good brothers so we can share our pilgrimage.”
Noted Petta, “Cardinal Bergoglio and I share a profound devotion for the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux. The way he conducts himself is very influenced by St. Thérèse's ‘little way.’”

Serving Others
That devotion to the Little Flower helps explain why Cardinal Bergoglio looked for opportunities to serve rather than be served.
“When the pastor of the Cathedral, Father Alejandro Russo, was installed, we had a small gathering to greet him. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the man serving the tables and bringing the refreshments was Bergoglio himself,” recalled Petta.
That humility has drawn respect and loyalty from local Catholics, but also suspicion and antagonism in the deeply politicized and economically stratified city of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. Still, local Catholics like Petta say that Cardinal Bergoglio’s penchant for dialogue extended to his critics.
“He believes in reaching out to others, even the bitterest enemies of the Church. He never responds to insults or defiant attitudes from the left and right,” said Petta.
“He sees no use in angry confrontation but believes the Church can enter into a merciful dialogue without compromising her doctrine or ideals.”
But Petta also made clear that Pope Francis’ did not view the path of dialogue as a retreat from the challenges that face the Church as the “dictatorship of relativism,” and other threats to religious liberty gain ground in the West, including the Americas.
“He believes those evil powers must be confronted with sacrifice, penance, prayer and the help of the Virgin Mary,” said Petta.
“I believe he knows he has a mission of capital importance in Rome and he will get things done. He will attack the problems one by one and solve them, always relying on the help of the Blessed Virgin and trusting God.”
Carlos Caso-Rosendi reported for this story from Buenos Aires.
The founder and editor of Primera Luz, a popular Catholic webzine
published in Spanish, he is researching a book
on the life and mission of Pope Francis.
His website is
Joan Frawley Desmond is the Register’s senior editor.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

National Catholic Register

Pope Plans Full Easter Schedule With a Twist
Pope Francis will celebrate Holy Thursday Mass at Casal del Marmo youth detention center.
Sabrina Fusco/CNA
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will celebrate a full schedule this Holy Week, including washing the feet of youth detainees and leading the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum.
His six main events are: chrism Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on Holy Thursday morning, followed by Mass at a youth detention center that evening, a Communion service and Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, Easter vigil Mass on Saturday evening and Easter Mass on Sunday morning.
Pope Francis will start the week by celebrating the chrism Mass on March 28 with cardinals and other clergy from Rome at St. Peter’s Basilica. During the Mass, the Pope will consecrate the oils that will be used throughout the year for baptism, confirmation and anointing of the sick.
In keeping with his practice in Buenos Aires, he will celebrate Holy Thursday Mass at Casal del Marmo youth detention center, instead of the Basilica of St. John Lateran.
When he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires, then-Cardinal Bergoglio celebrated the Mass in a prison, a hospital or a hospice for the poor and marginalized people. This time around, he will be with youth offenders and will wash their feet.
On Good Friday, March 29, he will preside over a Communion service and the Veneration of the Cross in St. Peter’s Basilica at 5pm Rome time.
The Pope will then go to the Colosseum to lead the Stations of the Cross at 9:15pm. The prayers for the 14 stations were written by two Lebanese youths, with the help of Cardinal Bechara Rai, the patriarch of the Maronites of Antioch.
The Vatican chose the young Arabs to highlight the suffering of Christians in the Middle East and the growing urgency of their situation.
After the procession around the Colosseum, Pope Francis will give a speech to people gathered there and impart his apostolic blessing.
On Holy Saturday, the Pope will celebrate the first of two Easter Masses when he holds the Easter vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica. He will bless a fire in the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica and enter in a procession with the paschal candle, singing the Easter Proclamation.
The Pope will then concelebrate Mass at 8:30pm Rome time with the cardinals and impart the sacrament of baptism, which is traditionally done in churches worldwide at this time of year.
On Sunday at 10:15am, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at St. Peter’s Square, which will finish with his Urbi et Orbi (to the city of Rome and to the world) greeting and blessing from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. Urbi et Orbi is a special blessing the Pope gives every Easter and Christmas. He usually offers a message beforehand and then proceeds to announce the blessing in more than 50 languages, but it remains to be seen if Pope Francis will follow suit. The blessing includes the remission of all temporal punishment due to sin through a plenary indulgence attached to the papal blessing, under the usual conditions.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Debunking three 'urban legends' about Pope Francis | National Catholic Reporter

Debunking three 'urban legends' about Pope Francis | National Catholic Reporter

Pope: Homily for Palm Sunday Mass Radio) Below we publish the text of Pope Francis’ Homily for Palm Sunday:
1. Jesus enters Jerusalem. The crowd of disciples accompanies him in festive mood, their garments are stretched out before him, there is talk of the miracles he has accomplished, and loud praises are heard:

“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Lk 19:38). 

Crowds, celebrating, praise, blessing, peace: joy fills the air. Jesus has awakened great hopes, especially in the hearts of the simple, the humble, the poor, the forgotten, those who do not matter in the eyes of the world. He understands human sufferings, he has shown the face of God’s mercy, he has bent down to heal body and soul. Now he enters the Holy City! This is Jesus.This is the heart that looks on all of us, watching our illnesses, our sins. The love of Jesus is great. He enters Jerusalem with this love and watches all of us. 

It is a beautiful scene, the light of the love of Jesus, that light of his heart, joy, celebration.

At the beginning of Mass, we repeated all this. We waved our palms, our olive branches, we sang “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord” (Antiphon); we too welcomed Jesus; we too expressed our joy at accompanying him, at knowing him to be close, present in us and among us as a friend, a brother, and also as a King: that is, a shining beacon for our lives. Jesus is God, but he humbled himself to walk with us. He is our friend, our brother. Here, he enlightens us on the journey. And so today we welcome Him And here the first word that comes to mind is “joy!” Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy that comes from having many possessions, but from having encountered a Person: Jesus, from knowing that with him we are never alone, even at difficult moments, even when our life’s journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable, and there are so many of them! It is at this time that the enemy comes, the devil comes, often disguised as an angel who insidiously tells us his word. Do not listen to him! We follow Jesus! 

We accompany, we follow Jesus, but above all we know that he accompanies us and carries us on his shoulders. This is our joy, this is the hope that we must bring to this world of ours. Let us bring the joy of the faith to everyone! Let us not be robbed of hope! Let us not be robbed of hope! The hope that Jesus gives us!

2. A second word: why does Jesus enter Jerusalem? Or better: how does Jesus enter Jerusalem? The crowds acclaim him as King. And he does not deny it, he does not tell them to be silent (cf. Lk 19:39-40). But what kind of a King is Jesus? Let us take a look at him: he is riding on a donkey, he is not accompanied by a court, he is not surrounded by an army as a symbol of power. He is received by humble people, simple folk, who sense that there is more to Jesus, who have the sense of faith that says, "This is the Savior." Jesus does not enter the Holy City to receive the honours reserved to earthly kings, to the powerful, to rulers; he enters to be scourged, insulted and abused, as Isaiah foretold in the First Reading (cf. Is 50:6). He enters to receive a crown of thorns, a staff, a purple robe: his kingship becomes an object of derision. He enters to climb Calvary, carrying his burden of wood. And this brings us to the second word: Cross. Jesus enters Jerusalem in order to die on the Cross. And it is here that his kingship shines forth in godly fashion: his royal throne is the wood of the Cross! I think of what Benedict XVI said to the cardinals: "You are princes but of a Crucified King"that is Christ's throne. Jesus takes it upon himself..why? Why the Cross? Jesus takes upon himself the evil, the filth, the sin of the world, including our own sin, and he cleanses it, he cleanses it with his blood, with the mercy and the love of God. Let us look around: how many wounds are inflicted upon humanity by evil! Wars, violence, economic conflicts that hit the weakest, greed for money, which no-one can bring with him. My grandmother would say to us children, no shroud has pockets! Greed for money, power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation! And - each of us knows well - our personal sins: our failures in love and respect towards God, towards our neighbour and towards the whole of creation. Jesus on the Cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God’s love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection. This is the good that Christ brings to all of us from the Cross, his throne. Christ’s Cross embraced with love does not lead to sadness, but to joy! The joy of being saved and doing a little bit what he did that day of his death. 

3. Today in this Square, there are many young people: for 28 years Palm Sunday has been World Youth Day! This is our third word: youth! Dear young people, I think of you celebrating around Jesus, waving your olive branches. I think of you crying out his name and expressing your joy at being with him! You have an important part in the celebration of faith! You bring us the joy of faith and you tell us that we must live the faith with a young heart, always, even at the age of seventy or eighty.! A young heart! With Christ, the heart never grows old! Yet all of us, all of you know very well that the King whom we follow and who accompanies us is very special: he is a King who loves even to the Cross and who teaches us to serve and to love. And you are not ashamed of his Cross! On the contrary, you embrace it, because you have understood that it is in giving ourselves that we have true joy and that God has conquered evil through love. You carry the pilgrim Cross through all the Continents, along the highways of the world! You carry it in response to Jesus’ call: “Go, make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19), which is the theme of World Youth Day this year. You carry it so as to tell everyone that on the Cross Jesus knocked down the wall of enmity that divides people and nations, and he brought reconciliation and peace. Dear friends, I too am setting out on a journey with you, from today, in the footsteps of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI. We are already close to the next stage of this great pilgrimage of Christ’s Cross. I look forward joyfully to next July in Rio de Janeiro! I will see you in that great city in Brazil! Prepare well – prepare spiritually above all – in your communities, so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world. Young people need to tell the world: "It is good to follow Jesus, it is good to go with Jesus, the message of Jesus is good, it is good to come out of ourselves, from the edges of existence of the world and to bring Jesus to others!" 

Three words: Joy, Cross and Youth.Let us ask the intercession of the Virgin Mary. She teaches us the joy of meeting Christ, the love with which we must look to the foot of the Cross, the enthusiasm of the young heart with which we must follow him during this Holy Week and throughout our lives. Amen.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The two side by side

Papal History Being Made, Right Here, Right Now UPDATED

The True, the Good, and the Beautiful
Today Pope Francis and the Pope Emeritus met at Castel Gandolfo. In terms of historically rare moments, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Have a look for yourself (the sound will be delayed for the first 20 seconds or so),
Amazing, isn’t it? As soon as I saw it, the song that made Jesus Jones famous popped into my head. I’ll pass that earworm on to you now too. Because right here, right now, there is no place I’d rather be…
…except on a kneeler with these two.
See more historic photographs at Vatican Radio’s Facebook page.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Behind the Campaign to Smear the Pope | Crisis Magazine

Behind the Campaign to Smear the Pope | Crisis Magazine

Jason Bach Cartoon - Priceless

This is priceless.  Be sure to click on the picture and then, if need be, zoom in to read the comments more easily.  Jason Bach nailed all of these reactions.

Pope Francis: An Astute Political Participant

Posted by Jane M. Snyder on Thursday, 21 March 2013  in The Catholic Association Blog
Daniel Henninger poses a great question in yesterday’s print edition of The Wall Street Journal when he asks, “Why does the Pope fascinate the world?”  Indeed, Pope Benedict's resignation and the selection of Pope Francis has captured the attention of the world to an unprecedented degree.  

Despite the popular perception of a divided Church under siege, Henninger notes, “Across the globe, the papacy draws on a 2,000-year-old reservoir of institutional loyalty.  The challenge for any pope in our times is to choose where and how to deploy such power.” 

Henninger concludes with this assessment: “The pope has a political base ... Give Francis space to get his bearings.  The world in time will discover an astute political participant.”

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Gotta Love Him

Pope to Celebrate Holy Thursday Mass at Youth Prison (413)

Benedict XVI also celebrated a Mass at the prison’s Chapel of the Merciful Father in 2007.

 03/21/2013 Comment
Vatican Radio/Facebook
– Vatican Radio/Facebook
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at a youth detention center rather than the traditional Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Vatican says.

On March 28, Holy Thursday, Pope Francis will celebrate the Chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning, but then go to the Casal del Marmo youth detention center rather than the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

This tradition is one that new Pope has practiced since his days as Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

During that time, then-Cardinal Bergoglio would celebrate Holy Thursday Mass in a hospital, prison or shelter for the poor.

Images of the then-Cardinal washing and kissing the feet of AIDS patients and mothers with children began circulating the Internet shortly following his election.

In a March 16 address to the media, Pope Francis confirmed that he chose his name after Saint Francis of Assisi after a friend urged him “not to forget the poor” when congratulating him on his election.

“Oh how I would like a poor Church and for the poor!” Pope Francis remarked.

The Holy Thursday Mass is defined by Christ’s commandment to love and his humble gesture of washing his disciples’ feet.

The Office of Liturgical Celebrations has confirmed that other Holy Week celebrations will be held according to tradition.

In 2007, Benedict XVI visited the same youth detention center to celebrate Mass in the Chapel of the Merciful Father.

Read more:

The Extraordinary Historical Significance of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's Presence at Pope Francis' Installation as Bishop of Rome

Mar 19, 2013
George E. Demacopoulos, PhD
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Patriarch in Black
Pope Francis embraces Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians, at the Vatican March 20. The pope met with Patriarch Bartholomew before a meeting with the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh and Jain delegations that had come to the Vatican for his inauguration. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano) (March 20, 2013) See FRANCIS-DIALOGUE March 20, 2013.

Amid the crush of news reports in the past month that followed Pope Benedict's unprecedented resignation from the papacy, one of the most intriguing was the decision by His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, to attend Pope Francis' installation as Bishop of Rome. The occasion is being presented in the media as something that has not happened since the ecclesiastical schism that separated Christian East and Christian West in the eleventh century. But that characterization is almost certainly wrong--this is quite likely the first time in history that a Bishop of Constantinople will attend the installation of a Bishop of Rome. And this is a profoundly bold step in ecumenical relations between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics, one that could have lasting significance.

Prior to the sixth century, the election of a Roman bishop was a local affair. In most cases, the new pope was chosen from among the city's clergy and was typically either the eldest priest or the eldest deacon. There were a few exceptions, but this was the typical pattern. News of an election would circulate throughout the Christian world but that news flow would have been too slow to enable high-ranking Church officials from the East to travel to Rome for the event.

During the sixth century, Byzantine armies conquered the Italian peninsula, returning the city of Rome to the imperial Roman government, now centered in Constantinople. In this context, which lasted from the mid-sixth century until the loss of Byzantine influence in Italy in the eighth century, the election of a new Roman bishop required the approval of the Byzantine emperor (the same, of course, was true of the election of a new Ecumenical Patriarch). Under such an arrangement, papal elections took longer but there still would be no reason for an Eastern Patriarch to travel to Rome for the installation.
There are a few examples from this Byzantine period, such as the election of Pope Pelagius I in 556, where the man elected to be the Roman bishop was actually in Constantinople at the time of his election. While it is possible that the sacramental ceremony to install the new pope could have occured in Constantinople--whereby the Patriarch of Constantinople would have been present--it is far more likely that the official ceremony would have occurred in Rome and, therefore, would have been conducted without the Patriarch's presence.

At the conclusion of Byzantine influence in papal elections in the eighth century, the election of Roman bishops returned, again, to local considerations. And, as geo-political factors continued to push Italy and the Eastern empire in separate directions, relations between individual popes and patriarchs became more sterile and distant--indeed, between the ninth and fifteenth century there are only one or two occasions where a Roman bishop and an Ecumenical Patriarch ever met in person.

Patriarch in Black
Pope Francis walks with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew 
of Constantinople at the Vatican March 20. The pope met with
 Patriarch Bartholomew before a meeting with the Christian,
  Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh and Jain delegations 
that had come to the Vatican for his inauguration. 
(CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano) 
(March 20, 2013)
 See FRANCIS-DIALOGUE March 20, 2013.
With all of this in mind, His All-Holiness' decision to travel to Rome for Pope Francis' installation as Roman bishop is an extraordinary event in the history of Christianity. And it is significant for reasons far beyond its novelty. First and foremost it is a powerful symbolic gesture for the cause of Christian unity. It demonstrates in unprecedented fashion the extent to which the Ecumenical Patriarch considers the relationship with the Roman Catholic Church to be a priority. For their part, members of the Vatican staff have responded to this grand gesture and have arranged for the reading of the Gospel at the installation to be sung in Greek (rather than Latin) in recognition of the fact that the Ecumenical Patriarch has taken this unprecedented step.

The Christian world has been divided for so long that the establishment of an authentic reunion will require courage, leadership, and humility. It will also require a foundation in common faith and concerns. Given Pope Francis' well-documented work for social justice and his insistence that globalization is detrimental to the poor, it would appear as though the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic traditions have a renewed opportunity to work collectively on issues of mutual concern. With our Lord's assistance, that common cause can be transformed into more substantive theological work. But such work requires a first step and it would appear as though Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is willing to take such a step.

George E. Demacopoulos, PhD
Archon Didaskalos tous Genous
Historian for the Order of St. Andrew
Orthodox Christian Studies Center, Fordham University

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thoughts from Archbishop Gomaz of Los Angels, CA

The Face of the Church’s New Hope (576)


 03/20/2013 Comment
CNA/Jeffrey Bruno
– CNA/Jeffrey Bruno
As I write, our new Pope Francis has just finished celebrating his inaugural Mass as the spiritual head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. The ceremony marks the close of what has been a historic and unforgettable 40 days of Lent for Catholics.
The unexpected drama started two days before Ash Wednesday, when Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation — the first time a pope has stepped down in nearly 600 years.

Now, as we approach the start of Holy Week, we welcome a new Pope, who is the first non-European in nearly 1,300 years — and the first pope from the Americas.

The election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, S.J., from Argentina is a sign of changing times.

The Catholic Church’s center of gravity has long been undergoing a global shift. The Church’s growth and creative energy no longer come from Western Europe — but from Africa, Asia and, most all, from Latin America.

Blessed Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI called Latin America — where 40% of the world’s Catholics now live — the “Continent of Hope.”

Pope Francis is the face of the Church’s new hope. The first pope from the New World, his election reflects the Church’s vitality in these countries. It also points to the rising Latino profile of the Church in the United States.
More than one-third of U.S. Catholics are Latino, the result of the steady northern migrations of men and women from the “Continent of Hope.”

Immigration is changing the face of our nation and our Church forever. Hispanics now make up 16% of our population, and that percentage will only grow. Nearly one-quarter of all American children under age 17 are Hispanic. This same pattern is true in the Church. Latinos make up more than half of all Catholics under the age of 25.

Now, these young Latinos and their parents have a pope whose native language is Spanish; a pope who understands their traditions and cultural realities. Millions of immigrants can look now to a pope who knows their experience of coming to a new country to make a new life.

In our current debates in the U.S. over comprehensive immigration reform, Pope Francis should be a powerful symbol.
Our new Pope is an immigrant’s son. This is also something new for a pope in modern times. His father was a railroad worker who came to Argentina from Italy seeking a better life. What a great story! The son of a humble immigrant grows up to become the spiritual leader of more than a billion Catholics in every continent and nation.
Every new pope takes a name that is meant to signal his vision for the Church.
With his bold choice of St. Francis of Assisi, our new Pope has identified himself with Christianity’s most well-known saint.
For believers and non-believers alike, St. Francis represents the true spirit of the Gospel — with his simple lifestyle, his humble service to the poor, his love for creation and his attitude of nonviolence and forgiveness.

“How I would love a Church that is poor and for the poor,” Pope Francis has said in his first days.

From Francis, Catholics can expect to hear a new call to our Christian duty to serve those who are most in need and to seek justice and dignity for the human person.

Material poverty is growing in our society. There is a wide divide between those who do not have enough to live and those who have far more than they need. But “spiritual poverty” is also growing in our society. That is the poverty of indifference to religion — of living as if God does not exist or as if life has no higher meaning.

So, for Americans, the name Francis should have a further association.

Franciscan immigrants and missionary priests were among the first to bring Christianity to Mexico and Latin America and then to this country, especially to those of us in the American Southwest.

The great apostle of California, Blessed Junípero Serra, was a Franciscan. And, of course, Los Angeles was first called El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles — named after the chapel that St. Francis used as his headquarters.
This new papacy should awaken our memory of this country’s deep Christian roots and its connections to the Church’s missions in Mexico and Latin America.

Pope Francis understands that the Americas need a New Evangelization — a new encounter with the figure of Jesus Christ and his Gospel of love and salvation. He helped draft one of the modern Church’s key strategic documents — the Latin American bishops’ 2007 “Aparecida report”, which called for a new “continental mission.”

As Catholics look beyond the historical drama of this Lent to celebrate our first Easter with our new Pope, we pledge ourselves to this continental mission — to be disciples and missionaries of the New Evangelization.

We look to the Mother of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe, to make this new moment of grace in our Church a time for spiritual renewal in our own lives, in our Church and in our society.
Archbishop José H. Gomez is the archbishop of Los A

ngeles, the nation’s largest Catholic community.

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