"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

America Has a Papal Exclusive ... Today!

"I no like-a to give interviews, Eh."

The exclusive interview with Pope Francis...

Thinking With the Church
“This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity. And the church is Mother; the church is fruitful. It must be. You see, when I perceive negative behavior in ministers of the church or in consecrated men or women, the first thing that comes to mind is: ‘Here’s an unfruitful bachelor’ or ‘Here’s a spinster.’ They are neither fathers nor mothers, in the sense that they have not been able to give spiritual life. Instead, for example, when I read the life of the Salesian missionaries who went to Patagonia, I read a story of the fullness of life, of fruitfulness.

“Another example from recent days that I saw got the attention of newspapers: the phone call I made to a young man who wrote me a letter. I called him because that letter was so beautiful, so simple. For me this was an act of generativity. I realized that he was a young man who is growing, that he saw in me a father, and that the letter tells something of his life to that father. The father cannot say, ‘I do not care.’ This type of fruitfulness is so good for me.” 
My favorite:
“I see clearly,” the pope continues, “that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds.... And you have to start from the ground up."
And another...
 “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.

“This is also the great benefit of confession as a sacrament: evaluating case by case and discerning what is the best thing to do for a person who seeks God and grace. The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us to do better. I also consider the situation of a woman with a failed marriage in her past and who also had an abortion. Then this woman remarries, and she is now happy and has five children. That abortion in her past weighs heavily on her conscience and she sincerely regrets it. She would like to move forward in her Christian life. What is the confessor to do?

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.  - America

Now remember - these are excerpts - read the entire interview to get the context.  I think I get it.  I have tears in my eyes... repentance in my heart.

Song for this post here.

H/T Fr. James Martin, S.J.

Fr. Martin also 'unpacks' what the Pope had to say in his commentary here.


  1. <3 him. That's all.

  2. I agree that all teaching, catechesis and evangelization must first and foremost emphasize the overwhelming love and mercy that Christ has for everyone without exception. But I think that JPII, Benedict and the USCCB talked about these realities much more than they did about sexual issues. If Pope Francis is suggesting that they didn't, then I respectfully disagree with him.

  3. Terry, thank you for posting this. Its funny my best friend and his wife emailed me the link and I thought, I need to see what Terry says about this.

    Pope Francis truly is as if someone pulled down the dark musty old drapes, let the sunlight in and opened the windows to let the fresh air in.

    I also don't think that is a dis to Benedict or JP2.Different styles with the same message. However, Francis style, is just what we need right now. Thank you Holy Spirit for convincing Benedict to step aside and Benedict for having the grace to do so.

  4. Don't you wish you could talk to him one on one?!

  5. I'm not certain I would leave with more clarity even after I spoke to him one on one.

  6. I would love to talk to him one on one. I do think you would leave with clarity, as you could ask him questions and to explain and Pope Francis seems the kind of Pope who, far from being offended, would love to be able to elaborate. Plus, I think it would be a calming feeling to talk to him, just pictures of him seem to radiate calmness, confidence and joy.

  7. The message is Mercy. Has been from the day he was elected Pope. He is simply responding to the call of Jesus, “What I want is mercy, not sacrifice,” echoing the words of Hosea: “What I want is love, not sacrifice, knowledge of God, not holocausts.” 6:6

    It has to be this way...

    As to speaking with Francis one on one, far better speaking one on one with our Heavenly Father. All answers can be found in prayer. Where else does the wisdom of Francis come from?

  8. Fr. Z gets it too - read his first response here:


    "If this Pope isn’t going to speak out a great deal about abortion or homosexuality, it’s because he knows that everyone is perfectly clear about what the Church teaches on these points.[...] Because the Church’s teachings are clear, Francis will spend his precious time and energy showing a side of the Church that people, especially the MSM, hasn’t paid attention to: that the Church is not a museum of the perfect, it is a field hospital for sinners." - Fr Z

    1. Amen! A field hospital of hope and gracious generosity of service and of love of neighbor. Papa Francis is simply following in our Lord Jesus's footsteps...mercy! Mercy and dignity for each and every one of us without compromising the truth of the faith! Amen!

  9. servusmariaen: I find that Francis speaks with great clarity because he speaks to the heart not only the mind; his focus is always on God. When I 'hear' the words of Francis, I can imagine Christ Himself saying them; there is (as Mack writes) a real calmness in how he speaks, a calmness that (as bg indicates) is the fruit of prayer.

    Priests in the UK have noted an increase in the number of people going to the sacrament of Reconciliation since Francis became Bishop of Rome. With Terry, I feel called to repentance. Francis is, undoubtedly, a blessing from God at this time when the Church's reputation has been badly damaged. Francis is a healer and I am sure that you will join me in expressing sadness that 'orthodox' Catholics are attacking him for not following the agenda they think should be promoted.

    I do not mean any of the above to be disrespectful to Benedict.

  10. Yes, poor Pope Francis, he just can't win. I went on other new sites with commentary from readers and there was just a bunch of negativity coming out like a wave. The "rigid" Catholics saying he was an "embarrassment"to the Church and the far left bemoaning that nothing has changed, he is not doing enough.

    So I decided to quit reading and just focus on what he actually said, and how he said it. I agree parepidemos, he is a blessing from God when the Church desperately needs healing..as evidence from the comments on the sites.

    I am trying to take a page out of his book, breathe deeply and find the joy in God.

  11. Holy, holy holy, Lord God of hosts... Heaven AND earth are FULL of your glory...

    And yet we fail to recognise the glory of God in those around us...

    Francis also said: “I have a dogmatic certainty. God is in every person’s life. God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of the person has been a disaster, even it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else – God is in this person’s life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life.”

    Heaven AND earth are FULL of your glory...

  12. St Paul was “caged” in Rome when he wrote to give advice and instruction to Timothy who was organising and leading a community of Christians.

    “Sometimes, I also also feel caged in” said Pope Francis in Rio.

    Check out tomorrow’s (Friday) first reading (1 Timothy 6 : 2-12) in light of the Francis interview and his recent comments on what he expects from priests and bishops.

  13. And... once again ... Fr. Z gets it:


    1. He sure does and that made me very happy since I do not always agree with him. I thanked him too for his clarification and assurances on what our beloved Holy Father actually meant.

  14. What amazes me more than anything is how Francis is *ar least* as loveable as Benedict. I didn't think I could love a pope as much as Papa Ratzi, but Francis is awesome. I am so thankful to God that he can give us men like that who are so different, yet embody God's love and mercy just the same, but in different ways.

    Benedict was like a wise old grandpa who could educate you, and Francis is the great uncle who takes you fishing, haha.

    1. And I bet they talk quite frequently too. I am always smiling when I think of those two holy men so close to each other. Both bring us Jesus in how they live. Papa Emerito, at the foot of the cross, in silent contemplation, while interceding for us all. Papa Francis, going about calling all to look at the cross, to take it up with joy and to follow him in following Jesus.

      @ Mack Malone:
      If those so-called "rigid" Catholics cannot get beyond that...we need to pray for them so that their eyes and their heart will open and partake of the joy that Papa Francis is to the rest of us.

      He has and will continue to affirm my faith and my desire to know Christ all the more. Gracias, Diosito Santo!

  15. Today from the Year of Faith Magnificat companion:

    "Faith has an all-or-nothing quality. St. James expressed it: "For whoever keeps the whole law, but falls short in one particular, has become guilty in respect to all of it. For he who said, 'You shall not commit adultery,' also said, 'You shall not kill.' Even if you do not commit adultery but kill, you have become a transgressor of the law. Notice the emphasis on God, who spoke each commandment. His love and truthfulness stand behind everything he has revealed and that the Church teaches authoritatively. Consequently, to disregard any one thing revealed and taught is to reject God's personal authority."

  16. I like the song for this post.

    A joke for this post,

    Customer: Waiter, what is this fly doing in my soup?
    Waiter: (looks closely) The backstroke.


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