Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Pope, Our Pope, the Sinner

2013-09-21, Vatican Radio
As a lay observer, I decided to use bullet points to share my interpretation of Pope Francis' recent remarks in the interviews documented by America Magazine. The mainstream media has a practice of quoting everything the Holy Father says with the accuracy of a telephone game. Here is what I gleaned from the interview:

Pope Francis:

  • sees himself as a sinner who was chosen by God.
  • chose not to live in the papal apartment because he prefers community life.
  • takes his prayerful time when making a decision.
  • is irritated when people say that Ignatian spiritual exercises are Ignatian because they are done in silence. They can be done with or without silence. 
  • is close to the mystical movement.
  • had a bit of a bumpy start as a young Jesuit provincial who ran the Society with an authoritative hand.
  • views ministers within the Church who behave badly as spiritually barren.
  • believes that the young Church (view themselves as self-sufficient) and old Church (may try to impose cultural models upon the young) must build a future together.
  • sees the Church as a field hospital after battle - needing to heal and nurture the faithful.
  • believes that a confessor must be neither too rigid, nor too lax.
  • wants the Bishops to leave no one behind, including those who have left the Church or are indifferent.
  • wants all sinners to be treated with mercy.
  • does not speak much about artificial contraception, homosexuality, or abortion because the Church teaching is clear on those subjects - and that they are not at the heart of Christ's message.
  • believes that the Church has a lot of doctrines and for him to focus on only a few incessantly would be wrong.
  • wants the salvific message to be proclaimed first, followed by catechesis.
  • sees the vowed religious as prophets, leaven. 
  • thinks that the volume of complaints sent to the curia in regard to unorthodox practices at a local level are misdirected (I wonder how many are from the Diocese of Rochester). He wants those issues to be reported to the local levels.
  • thinks that the current methods of  the Synod of Bishops may not be a good model and wants to look more at how things were done prior to the Great Schism in 1054.
  • wants us to walk united with differences as this is the way of Jesus.
  • knows that women are different than men, though they are equally important. Functionality and dignity are two very distinct things, and the Church must be clear in the treatment of women in regard to the latter.
  • thinks that the moto proprio of Benedict XVI allowing wider usage of the Tridentine Mass was a good thing, but that we must be careful not to malign the novus ordo.
  • warns that finding God takes patience, and a contemplative attitude
  • believes that if someone says that they met God with total certainty and without a smidgen of doubt, it is not good. If someone believes to have all the answers, God is not with them.
  • said that if a Christian is a legalist, he will find nothing. 
  • believes that those who look for 'exaggerated doctrinal security' have an inward view of things.
  • prefers to say that we must have hope rather than be optimistic. God is hope, and optimism is for humans.
  • thinks that we must get out of a 'laboratory' and into the field. In the field, we can see the bigger picture of what is needed to help others. 
  • views the Church as having been at times brilliant, and at other times in history, unable to think.
  • suffers from a wandering mind in prayer, and sometimes even falls asleep while at adoration (I'm in good company!).
I was a little surprised by a couple of items, but on the whole the interview appears to be rather uneventful. As usual, the mainstream media has created a stir where nothing I would consider 'breaking news' was said. Full disclosure: I had not read any other blog entries, news stories (Catholic or secular) or watched any commentary about the Pope's remarks prior to making this post. After seeing the headlines flood my newsfeed on various social sites, I decided to go directly to the source. I am the first to admit that on +Ponderings+ my focus is often on the very topics (both Abortion and Obama are the most tagged posts) that our Holy Father would view as being more political than spiritual. While thinking about this tendency, I have decided that it is because I hope to have others awakened from a crooked path. I was once lost and want to create a visible waypoint for someone else. Like an ex-smoker preaching about health to a smoker. And with this thought in my heart and on my mind, I close. 

Edited to add: Here is what Bishop Richard Malone of the Diocese of Buffalo had to say about the matter:

Edited again to add: Read what Fr. Z has to say about the liberal (Catholic and non) comments on the Holy Father HERE.


This was our 400th +Catholic Ponderings+ post!

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