Saturday, March 23, 2013

Remember this?

Two papas...

The new normal?
The affection between the two is obvious.  Everything is just fine now...
I loved the following quote from the Italian Jesuit weekly Civilta Cattolica:
"They are two figures of the highest spirituality, whose relationship with life is completely anchored in God," the magazine wrote. "This radicalness is shown in Pope Benedict's shy and kind bearing, and in Pope Francis it is revealed by his immediate sweetness and spontaneity." - source
Everything is just fine.

Just when you thought it was safe to move into the Papal apartments, Fr. Amorth pops up with a haunting warning for the Pope.

"I would not wish that he ends like Luciani".

Although I kind of thought that too. 
Father Gabriele Amorth, chief exorcist of the Diocese of Rome has warned the new Pope Francis about a quick death following the fate of Pope John Paul I. "The Masons have their branches everywhere, even in the Vatican, unfortunately," Amorth said in an interview with the Italian newspaper "Il Giornale", which the newspaper "Österreich" online reported.

Amorth said that the new Pope Francis wanted a "poor church of the poor" like John Paul I "I would not wish that he ends like Luciani," commented the chief exorcist, the Freemasons aspire only after money and career, "they help each other," reported, "Österreich“" online. Father Gabriele maintains that they include the present Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, a Freemason, as well as President Giorgio Napolitano. In principle, all politicians in power are subordinate to the Freemasons and the world was dominated by seven or eight people who kept all the money in their hands, said the 88-year-old priest, who is believed to have carried out 70,000 successful exorcisms. - New Pope

Hasn't Fr. Amorth heard the prophecies about death in the Holy Land yet?  Or the Michael Voris video, "Someone is Going to Kidnap the Pope!"  Such drama.

Hello?  Ann?
Ann Barnhardt?


Friday, March 22, 2013

Why do you go to Mass on Holy Thursday? Or any day?

Do you go to worship God?  To encounter Christ?  To pray?  To assist at the Holy Sacrifice? 

Do you go because you are obligated?  Or do you go because you need to go?  Want to go?  Or because it is 'right and just'?

Do you go because of the celebrant?  The pageantry?  The smoke and bells?  The ritual?

I'm just wondering.  Just asking.

The Pope will not be celebrating Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper at St. Peter's.  Some people may be disappointed.
"With the celebration at the Casal del Marmo [facility]," the Holy See said, "Pope Francis continues this practice, one that can only be characterized in a context of simplicity."

Given the significant presence of pilgrims to Rome for Holy Week, several thousand tickets to the Evening Mass had already been distributed. As previously scheduled, however, the Pope will still celebrate the mid-morning Chrism Mass – dedicated to the institution of the priesthood and the consecration of his diocese's oils for the year – in its usual venue at St Peter's. - Whispers

I'm really not trying to be provocative.  I'm not criticizing or judging.  Just wondering.  I personally do not like big cathedral liturgies.  I'm not interested in foot washings, processions, or liturgical dance. 

What I know for sure:  When it comes to liturgy, my opinion doesn't matter of course, not even to me.

Photo:  That is Mary Jo Copeland washing the feet of her poor at the center she founded almost thirty years ago.  She doesn't do it to be symbolic, or as a ritual - she actually serves the homeless who have foot problems because of poverty and or disease, and they need their feet washed.  She works every day and takes no pay, her organization, Caring and Sharing Hands is an independent charity, not even affiliated with Catholic Charities.  92% of all money donated to Sharing and Caring Hands goes to the needs of the poor, only 8 percent goes to management and fund raising. 

Where will the Pope live?

What if he doesn't live in the Vatican?

This morning I read that the Holy Father remains at St. Martha House, and celebrates Mass with the help.  He sits with them and prays as well.  Evidently there is speculation he may reside at the Lateran - he is Bishop of Rome after all.  Fr. Lombardi said he knows nothing... no thing.

I wonder if he could just sleep in his car - with kitchen and bathroom privileges of course?

Just kidding.  I have to stop focusing so much on the Pope and let him be.  It's difficult though, I find him so fascinating.  Tomorrow he visits Pope Benedict - I hope they have lots of private time to talk.

Benedictine trivia:  Francis and Benedict.  Did you know the Benedictines gave the chapel of Our Lady of the Angels to St. Francis?   

Pope Benedict's thoughtfulness.  Since I come online so late in the day, everyone knows the rubber-band man story of how he returned the rubber bands from the newspaper to the news stand owner - whom he called to cancel the daily delivery, BTW.  His thoughtfulness and connecting to others on a personal level is very striking for me.  I'm not so good at it.  Guess I'll never be pope.

BTW:  I'm getting close to finishing the icon of Elijah, I seem to have lost the address of the Canadian priest-hermit who wanted it - if you are reading this Father, will you please email me?  It won't be completed until after Easter.  Thanks.

h/t to James for the Pope in the back row shot.


The rumors about Pope Francis...

Decadent Papal Court style gossip, now online...

There are a lot of rumors flying around about the Pope.  Already much of what is being published has created a cloud of suspicion over the new Pontificate.  One day 'they' say this, the next day another source refutes the information.  Rumor has it he will remodel the papal suite - 'too big', and 'got rid of the papal throne'.  If true, how does that affect Papal authority?  What are the details behind the story? 

"All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine."

Criticizing the style and decorum of the pope is part of the problem, but outright fabrication of stories claiming the Holy Father is an enemy of traditional Catholicism, as well as a liberal progressive, favors a larger role for women, condones civil union - something now proven to be false - all contribute to an atmosphere of mistrust and uncertainty.  Likewise, accusing the Holy Father of false humility and pride smacks of rash judgement and detraction.  It is divisive and scandalous, and it threatens the faith of ordinary believers.

"Perhaps he will be trapped, then we can prevail, and take our vengeance on him."

Someone wrote a post a few days ago on how 'liberals will turn on the new Pope' - explaining they love him now because of his display of humility and poverty, his openness to journalists and so on, but he predicts they will turn on him later.  Unfortunately, 'faithful' Catholics may turn on him as well, especially if the Catholic experts continue their censorious lamentations.

Pray for the Holy Father.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

That's it! Would it have killed Pope Francis to throw on the mozetta and stole?

The Official Portrait.

He's doing this deliberately! 

Now look what he's done.  People are leaving Rome in a huff.  He's going to celebrate Holy Thursday Mass in a juvenile detention center - why stick around for that?

So anyway - if you really do not like his style, he may not be around for long - if he goes to the Holy Land that is.  There's a private revelation that the next pope - this one? - is going to be killed in Jerusalem.  What?  I didn't make it it up.  (Although the latest locutions don't mention that.  See here.  Not much to tell, actually.)

It could be true.  The same locutionist was told about the new Pope at the beginning of March, and from what I can tell, those locutions sound fairly accurate.  For example: (My comments in blue.)
Do not be surprised that I have prepared my priest son* for this great task. Immediately, his papacy will be immersed in the greatest darkness. The forces of hell will realize what I have done. They will see, better than others, the full gift. They will realize what I have accomplished. These forces were poised to destroy the Church. They were lurking along the path, ready to steal and even to destroy. Suddenly, the Church is no longer on that path. All of their plans will come to nothing. (* priest son - Fr. Gobbi used the same term.)
My pope will lead the Church on a new path.* He will say to all, “This is the way we must walk”. Even though he is the pope, many will not agree. Many, and I stress this, many will oppose him and even threaten him. However, this new pope is like a little child who knows only the voice of his mother. He will respond to all of his critics, “This is the way my heavenly mother wants me to lead the Church. Is she not the mother of the Church?” (*New path - this is happening - now!  In your hearing - reading.  Many do not agree with him already - many who were not 'dissenters' before!  Like - Ann Barnh---t!  I know!)
The time is too precious and the hour is too momentous to allow this decision to rest in the hands of man. The cardinals will vote and, according to the established procedures, their votes will elect the new pope. That will not change. It is before they elect a candidate that the Spirit will move in a surprising way.* He knows the choice of my heart. He knows what needs to be done to bring forth this priest son. He will invite the cardinals to yield to his promptings. If they do not, then he will increase his manifestations. If those in charge continue to resist him, then he will raise up other cardinals. They will come forth with the Spirit’s words of direction. However, the human cooperation of the cardinals is needed. The new pope must receive their votes. That will not change but the way the cardinals arrive at that vote will be seen by all as the clear promptings of the Holy Spirit. (* the Spirit will move in a surprising way - Need I repeat Cardinal Mahony's prophetic words perhaps confirming this?)
"I picked up my pen to write, and I began. However, my hand was being moved by some greater spiritual force. The name on the ballot just happened. I had not yet narrowed my thinking down to one name; but it was done for me.

I wrote it, then trembled deeply. That's when I knew the Holy Spirit was fully working within the Church of Jesus Christ, and that my role was not to "select" the new Successor to Peter, but to "write down" his name--a name that had been given to me." - Cardinal Mahony on his vote in the Conclave.

"No - Sirico is still over there,
he's got an office in Rome now you know."

Here's a thought:

I wonder what would happen if a Pope flew over the vortex, or the Bermuda Triangle, and just disappeared?  Could we say he was assumed into heaven?  Don'tchya ever think of stuff like that?  They say JPII flew over Medjugorje. 


A Cenacle of prayer... sharing life with the poor, the addicted, the ne'er do wells, and the brokenhearted...

"With all our poverty, fragility, and smallness, we enter delicately and humbly into the great universal mission of the Church, Servant and Mother of humanity, who brings 'good news to the poor, liberty to captives, and healing to the brokenhearted.''' - Mother Elvira, Comunità Cenacolo

If you love the Holy Father and admire his poverty of spirit, you will love Mother Elvira.  I first learned of her through Magnificat, who uses her writings from time to time as meditation on the daily Gospel.  I love her work more than her writing...

Who is M. Elvira and what is Comunita Cenacolo?
Comunità Cenacolo is an International Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right in the Roman Catholic Church. The Community family consists of consecrated religious brothers and sisters, married couples, single men and women, and children.
Comunità Cenacolo America is part of the international Comunità Cenacolo, Community of the Cenacle, founded in Italy in 1983 by a dynamic, vibrant, and faith-filled religious sister named Elvira Petrozzi. Mother Elvira felt certain that God was calling her to serve the poor of the modern world: disillusioned young men and women who live in desperation and hopelessness, convinced that life has no meaning or value. Unable to find peace or joy in their lives, they seek to fill the emptiness with the illusory pleasures of the world, only to find themselves steeped in an intense interior isolation.

Trusting unwaveringly in the direction of the Holy Spirit, Mother Elvira proclaims to all those who live in darkness that only Jesus Christ can heal and transform their shattered lives, changing despair into hope, sadness into joy, hatred into forgiveness, and death into life.

To everyone we welcome, we propose a simple, disciplined, family style of life, based on the rediscovery of the essential gifts of prayer and work (''ora et labora''), true friendship, sacrifice, and faith in Jesus. The spirituality of the Community is profoundly Eucharistic and Marian. The day is structured around times of prayer (Eucharistic Adoration, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary), work, deep sharing about one’s own life in the light of the Word of God, recreation, and times of celebration. We believe that the Christian life in its simplicity and fullness is the true answer to every restlessness in the human heart and that, in the living encounter with God's Mercy, man is reborn into hope and is freed from the chains that have enslaved him, thus rediscovering the joy of loving.
The consecrated life in Comunita Cenacolo.
The first rule to enter in our community is to realize that you are a sinner. 
All the men and women who desire to enter the Formation House of Comunità Cenacolo must first live in one of the regular houses of Comunità Cenacolo, in order to know the Community and its members from their own lived experience in Cenacolo, as well as to validate their own desire to give their lives specifically in the service of the Comunità Cenacolo. Here I am! Send Me!

Mother Elvira says, "A call as luminous as this can even become mysterious, because it seems like you can see nothing! These youth say 'yes'. They have the courage to say 'yes', even with all their sins. The first rule to enter in our community is to realize that you are a sinner. Human qualities do not interest us: if you have good health, if you are young, if you are old. We are not interested if you are rich, if you are poor, if you are intelligent, if you have studied theology. From today onward, they begin to live together, to understand one another, to forgive one another, to live in holiness. When we are good, we make the world good. When we are humble, we help confuse the proud, to actually save themselves! When we are able to love, then others become healed! It is our kindness and not our professionalism that illuminates the world, that saves the world,that helps people!" - Comunita Cenacolo

"When we are humble, we help confuse the proud, to actually save themselves!" 

Comunita Cenacolo is a safety net for many.  Like Pope Francis, they confuse the proud...


When Pope Francis kissed the disabled man...

The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the
men of this age, especially those who are poor
or in any way afflicted, these are
the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties
of the followers of Christ. - Gaudium et Spes

I was reminded of Jean Vanier.

John Vanier - who is still alive - also embraced voluntary poverty, in a novel way, befriending the stranger; not just taking in the disabled but sharing his life with them - or sharing life together with them.  It's a different expression of poverty.  Living together.

God's ways are not our ways; God's choices are not the choices of society.
God chooses 'the poor, the weak, the needy',
those who recognize their poverty -
not just a material poverty but an inability to cope with life,
a feeling of powerlessness and not knowing what to do.
A mother who just lost a child is poor.
A man whose wife left him is poor.
A man who lost his job is poor.
The man who learns he has cancer is poor.
The - pope - who senses his body is growing older and weaker is poor.
People who are faced with difficult family situations are poor.
The problem is we refuse to admit our weakness, our needs, our poverty
because we are frightened of rejection.
We have been taught to be strong, to be 'the best'. to win in order
to become 'someone'.
Since society tends to marginalize those who are weak
we think that weakness means rejection.
So we try to hide our poverty for as long as we can
and to pretend we are strong;
 - self-sufficient -
we build up an appearance of being in control.
We need to hear that gentle, inner voice of God who tells us:
'You don't need to pretend.
You do not need to hide your weakness.
You can be yourself.
I didn't call you to l'Arche or to another form of community
first of all to help others
or to prove that you were generous or efficient.
I called you because you are poor,
just like the ones you came to serve,
and because the Kingdom of God is promised to the poor.' - Jean Vanier

I think that may be what St. Therese meant when she cried out, "I rejoice to be a little one!"  Or St. Paul when he exclaimed, "I am content with my weakness!"

Some things we just can't fix.  That's another dimension of the 'poverty of spirit'.

+ + +
Say a little prayer...

My God, I believe most firmly that you watch over all who hope in you, and that we can want for nothing when we rely upon you in all things; therefore I am resolved for the future to have no anxieties, and to cast all my cares upon you.

People may deprive me of worldly goods and of honors; sickness may take from me my strength and the means of serving you; I may even lose your grace by sin; but my trust shall never leave me. I will preserve it to the last moment of my life, and the powers of hell shall seek in vain to wrestle it from me.
Let others seek happiness in their wealth, in their talents; let them trust to the purity of their lives, the severity of their mortifications, to the number of their good works, the fervor of their prayers; as for me, O my God, in my very confidence lies all my hope. “For Thou, O Lord, singularly has settled me in hope.” This confidence can never be in vain. “No one has hoped in the Lord and has been confounded.” - Claude De la Colombiere, S.J.



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pope Francis and poverty... I keep thinking about those shoes..

The Pope has certainly aroused my early love for poverty...

Even if I'm indiscreet about it.  FYI: I hated the 'old' vestments Pope Francis wore yesterday.  Truly I did.  I keep thinking about those shoes too!  Those dented toed black ones!  I hate them.  haha!  I hate looking poor and tacky.  I really do.  Just last week I was secretly feeling ashamed of my beat up seven year old winter jacket and the same old jean and worn black shoes I wear - to church!  Don't tell anyone - I sit off to the side in the dark and no one notices.  Anyway, the Pope inspires me, but I need to be careful, because I could become proud of being poor, or mortifying myself to death.  (Not gonna happen. ;)

I think Americans, and nearly everyone in the First World - are afraid of poverty - we don't like the poor - that's one reason why they are segregated into slums or shooed away from shopping districts and better neighborhoods.  We don't like being poor either.  We naturally are repelled by poor and shabby.  We like shiny and new and pretty.  American Christians - especially the Prosperity Gospel types, and their Catholic 'uild it big and glorious' types, seem to have an Old Testament view of things, and pretty much see poverty as a punishment from God, or a result of not tithing enough, or - fill in the blanks - I know you can offer some legitimate excuses.  Just kidding - kind of.  I don't really know what anyone thinks... although I'm fairly certain just about all my readers disagree with me.  That's better for me - it really is - unfriend me, please.

Anyway, aside from quips from Blessed Angela, I'll add quotes from some other saints. 

The first is Dorothy Day - I know - I said I didn't like her - but I really do.  In addition, she's there when I need her.  In fact - she and the Pope would seem to get along well.  Fancy-schmanzie Cardinal(s) of her day didn't like the idea of abject poverty either.
February 12
It is hard to convince anyone, priest or people, that charity must forgive seventy times seven, and that we must not judge.  The bitterness with which people regard the poor and
down and out.  Drink, profligate living, laziness, everything is suspected.  They help them once, they come to the door, but they come back!  They want more help.  'Where will it end?  Can I accomplish anything?  Aren't there poorer people whom i should be helping?'  These are the questions they ask themselves which paralyzes all charity, chills it, stops all good work.  If we start by admitting that what we can do is very little - a drop in the bucket - and try to do that very well, it is a beginning and a really great deal. - The Fifties, Dorothy Day
When we measure, dissect, analyze, categorize - poverty and charity - we miss.  We strain gnats.

The 'romantic' poverty of Therese of Lisieux and ugly stuff.
Sister Therese would keep for her own use only what was strictly indispensable, and the uglier and poorer these were, the happier she was.  She used to say that there was nothing sweeter than to lack what was necessary, because then you could say you were really poor.  She urged me never to ask for anything to be bought without first assuring myself that there was no other alternative, and then I was to choose unhesitatingly what was cheapest, like really poor people do. - Marie of the Trinity ocd, testimony for beatification of S. Therese.
Of course little Therese knew she had a 'safety net' in life - that being the community, which is perhaps why, after she began getting very sick, she said to herself, "If I fall, someone will find me."  More deeply, her heroic virtue, her poverty of spirit made her grasp that her only safety-net was Our Lord - and she wished for no other.

On the poverty of Christ.

I've always loved the following from Bl. Angela... a meditation from Philippians.*
The third and supreme degree of poverty is that Christ put away from him his own nature.  First because he made himself poor and needy, laying aside his own power, he, the Omnipotent, unto whom nothing was impossible, desired to appear and to live in the world as a man, weak and infirm - and impotent, in order beside the human miseries, the helpless childhood and other burdens which he took upon himself for our sake, he who was without blame or sin might appear as a feeble man.  Truth be told, he endured much weariness in his journeys, visitations, and disgrace. - Chapter X
Christ too had a 'safety-net' for his poverty - he is after all God...  notice the header?  He carries his greatest treasure.

Disclaimer - FYI:  Diocesan priest do not take a vow of poverty, neither do Benedictines and consecrated persons of several other congregations.  So priests can own and travel - although Canon Law asks that they maintain a spirit of poverty.  Monastics take a vow of stability, and can pretty much manipulate that to mean whatever they want, just as some religious do with their vows of poverty.  God love them.

Song for this post here.

Yeah!  I got it back. 

*He who is God the Son "did not regard equality with God something to be grasped." In becoming man, "he emptied himself" and by that choice he restored all human beings, however poor and deprived, to their original dignity. - JPII

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Of the great poverty of Christ...

Meditations from Blessed Angela of Foligno.

For the feast of St. Joseph, I would like to highlight the second degree Bl. Angela discusses...
The second degree of Christ's poverty was greater than the first - that is, that he deigned to be poor in all the temporal things of this world.  Christ desired to be poor in friends and kindred and in all familiarity with the great and powerful, and finally in all worldly friendship.  Wherefore did he not possess, nor desire to possess any friend whatsoever of his own, nor yet of his mother or his putative father, Joseph, or his disciples. 
For this reason they did not hesitate to kick him, strike him, and scourge him, and to speak hurtful words unto him.  And he deigned to be born of a poor and humble mother and to be brought up subject unto a poor carpenter, his putative father.  
He did likewise deprive himself of the love and familiar intercourse of kings and rulers, of priests and scribes, and of the love of friends and kindred - so that neither for his mother's sake, nor for any other person, would he leave undone aught the which could be pleasing unto his Almighty Father or according to his will.  Amen. 

Solemnity of St. Joseph

St. Joseph, lover of poverty, pray for us.
St. Joseph, solace of the afflicted, pray for us.
St. Joseph, hope of the sick, pray for us.

In thanksgiving for the patronage and protection of St. Joseph, and numerous favors granted.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Well, the new prophecies are in.

I'll cut right to the chase... (Hi poodle!)

Pope Francis is the 266th Pope.

People, it is right in front of our eyes!  266!

2 popes ...

66 ...

2 times 3 is 6 ...

March is the 3rd month ...


I know!

I figured it out all by myself.

BTW!  Did you know Kat  (I didn't read her latest post because it was about Leah Libresco) is evidently going to try to get to Rome after seeing the photo I posted at the top?  She wants to try out the same move that woman pretending to greet the Pope did.  The woman literally threw herself onto the Swiss Guard.

I know!

Poodles of a different color...

Pope Francis with poodle.

I was out shoveling snow and it was really, really cold, and the wind was blowing and whipping the snow all over, and a woman walking her dog walked by and I said to her dog, who came rushing over to give me a kiss, "Hi poodle!"  And, and, and, the woman shouts through the blizzard winds, "He's not a poodle - he's a pit bull."  I laughed and said "Thanks!"

I want to be just like the Pope - I love poodles.


"Grieve not the Holy Spirit."

The Deacon St. Francis lavishly vested for Christmas Mass.

I think many of us risk grieving the Holy Spirit...
Do nothing to sadden the Holy Spirit with whom you were sealed against the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, all passion and anger, harsh words, slander, and malice of every kind.  In place of these, be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving, just as God has forgiven you in Christ. - Ephesians 4: 30-32
 Giving thanks to God is a great antidote - I think it's a sacrifice which pleases God very much.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

More on the 'Poverty of Pope Francis'

The Bishop as procurator pauperum.

I haven't taken the time to research or properly footnote quotes in my posts on the new Holy Father, I write mostly from my gut, my intuition - admittedly, I'm not a very good writer.  On the other hand, Terry Prest, the author of Idle Speculations does excellent research and documents accordingly.  Terry has performed a wonderful service, publishing documents which help us better understand what the Pope is talking about as regards the Church of the poor.  It seems to me his post helps document and demonstrate the direction the Holy Spirit has led the Church, during the last two pontificates into the new reign of Pope Francis.  Our Holy Father is saying and doing nothing new or out of character, but continues the work of his successors. 

Have confidence the Holy Spirit will bring to completion the good work he has begun.

From Idle Speculations:
In 2001 Pope Francis attended as deputy relator at the Synod of Bishops in Rome. The theme of the Synod was Episcopus minister Evangelii Iesu Christi propter spem mundi (The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Hope of the World)

Its proceedings were interrupted by September 11 and its aftermath. It therefore did not receive as much publicity as it should.

One major topic of debate was the role of poverty in the spirit and practice of Bishops.

One can trace the development of some of the debate at the Vatican website. 
As Assistant General Relator Pope Francis (then Archbishop of Buenos Aires) read out the Bishops` Report on the discussions. It would seem he who had a large part to play in drafting the Report.

The section on Poverty was largely re-drafted:
"Poor for the Kingdom
12. One of the characteristics most mentioned by the Synodal Fathers in relationship with the holiness of the Bishop is his poverty. Man of poor heart, is the image of the poor Christ, imitating the poor Christ, being poor with a profound vision. His simplicity and austerity of life confer total freedom in God.
The Holy Father invited us to examine "our attitude towards earthly goods and about the use of them... to verify to what point in the Church the personal and community conversion has achieved effective evangelical poverty... to be poor at the service of the Gospel"
With these last expressions, John Paul II reminds us that this means following the evangelical radicalism for whom blessed is who becomes poor for the Kingdom, following the sequela of Jesus-Poor, to live in communion with brothers according to the model of the apostolic vivendi forma, witnessed in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles."

Idle Speculations is one of the finest Catholic blogs online, many thanks Mr. Prest. 

Mass Chat: Blessed are the poor in spirit... Blessed are the merciful...

Hopefully everyone will soon calm down and understand that everything is fine... 

I love the fact that the Holy Father said Mass at the little Vatican parish of St. Anna today, instead of in St. Peter's.  I love his homily and his Angelus address.  Today he reminds me of Pope John Paul I, with his great emphasis upon mercy and humility.  [I pray our Lord will let him stay with us longer than John Paul I did.]

Could it be we have become too focused upon other issues that we have forgotten the practice of mercy?  That we have lost sight of the meaning of Christ's words, "Blessed are the poor in spirit" and, "Blessed are the merciful"?  Even the well educated and most esteemed amongst us - priests and others online are wondering, 'what is the Holy Father talking about when he talks about the poor?  I am not sure what "poor" means.' 

I'm so surprised by this and I wonder: 'How can this be?  Why are people so confounded by this?'

I don't know.

Read what the Holy Father said about Mercy.
“Never forget this: the Lord never tires of forgiving us. Have you thought about the patience that God has with each of us?” These were the words that Pope Francis addressed to the nearly 200,000 people who had travelled from around Italy and from around the world in previous days to be able to live this first Angelus with the new Pope.
In this Fifth Sunday of Lent, the Gospel presents us with the story of the adulterous woman whom Jesus saves from being condemned to death. It captures Jesus' attitude: we do not hear words of contempt, we do not hear words of condemnation, but only words of love, of mercy, that invite us to conversion. 'Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more!' Well, brothers and sisters! God's face is that of a merciful father who is always patient. Have you thought about God's patience, the patience that He has with each of us? That is His mercy. He always has patience, is always patient with us, understanding us, awaiting us, never tiring of forgiving us if we know how to return to him with a contrite heart. 'Great is the Lord's mercy', says the Psalm. - 1st Angelus Address
The Pope's homily on Mercy.
In his homily, the Holy Father recalled that, before this story, Jesus had retired to the mountain to pray and later had gone down to the Temple where everyone listened to him. In the end, they left him alone with the woman. “Jesus' solitude!”, he said. “It is a fruitful solitude—both that of His prayer with the Father as well as the other, so beautiful, ... of his mercy toward this woman. This is the Church's message today.”

There is a difference between the people,” he continued. “On the one hand are the people who come to listen to him and before whom He takes a seat and teaches. These are the people who want to listen to Jesus' words; the people with open hearts, in need of the Word of God.” Nevertheless, “there were others who didn't listen, who could not listen. Among those were the ones who had gone to him with that woman, wanting him to condemn her. … I also think we are like this people who, on the one hand want to listen to Jesus, but, on the other hand, at times, like to be cruel to others, isn't that right? To condemn others, right? This is Jesus' message: mercy. On my part, I say it with humility; this is the the Lord's strongest message: mercy. He himself said: 'I did not come for the righteous'. The righteous can justify themselves. … Jesus came for the sinners.”

For example, think of the gossip after the call of Matthew: 'but that one keeps company with sinners!' And He has come for us, when we recognize that we are sinners. But if we are like the Pharisee before the altar—'Oh God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector.'—then we do not know the Lord's heart and we will never have the joy of feeling this mercy! It is not easy to trust in God's mercy because it is an incomprehensible abyss. But we must do it!”

The Pope explained that sometimes people say to priests: “'Oh, Father, if you knew my life you wouldn't say that.' 'Why? What have you done?' 'Oh, I've done bad things.' 'Good! Go to Jesus; He likes you to tell him these things. He forgets. He has the special ability to forget. He forgets them, kisses you, embraces you, and tells you only: 'Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.' He only gives you this counsel. A month later we are the same … We return to the Lord. The Lord never tires of forgiving us, never! We are the ones who get tired of asking forgiveness. Let us ask for the grace to never tire of asking forgiveness, because He never tires of forgiving us. Let us ask for this grace.” - Homily for  Fifth Sunday in Lent

"The righteous can justify themselves. … Jesus came for the sinners.” - Francis

So you see,  I get the impression this Pope, like his venerable predecessor, would never kick a Cardinal out of his church, as some wanted to believe he did with Cardinal Law.  This Pope will not condemn a Cardinal who bungled his way through the sex scandals, and who tweets little sarcasms.  This Pope welcomes sinners, and those who separated themselves, and eats with them... 'at the table of sinners' - as Little Therese said of herself.

Oh Lord, have mercy upon me a sinner, I own nothing but my sins:  Have mercy upon me and free me from my sins.


Pope Benedict XVI had asked Catholics to pray for the new Pope.

And many of us did.

Many Catholics made novenas, prayed rosaries and offered their communions, some of us even 'adopted' Cardinals to support in prayer as they voted for a worthy successor to Pope Benedict; most likely millions of people joined in prayer asking God to give us a good Pope.  Perhaps some people even prayed for a particular Cardinal to be Pope, others prayed for a particular type of Pope.  Pope Benedict simply asked us to pray for the new Pope. 

I believe God made his choice. 

Some people are very unhappy with the choice.  Some are angry.  There may be some who doubt that it was God's choice at all.  Of course, there are others who think there isn't any Pope at all, that the See is vacant, and has been since Pius XII died.

That would be their choice.

Some thoughts from Pope Francis to his Cardinals:
A thought full of grateful affection and deep gratitude goes to my venerated predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
"A thought full of grateful affection and deep gratitude - he continued - goes to my venerated predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who during the years of his papacy has enriched and strengthened the Church with his teaching, his kindness, his guidance, his faith, his humility and gentleness that will remain a spiritual heritage for everyone. The Petrine ministry, lived with total dedication, had a wise and humble interpreter in him, with his eyes still fixed on Christ, the risen Christ present and alive in the Eucharist. He will always be in our fervent prayers, our unceasing remembrance, our undying gratitude and affection. We feel that Benedict XVI has ignited a flame at the bottom of our hearts: it will continue to burn because it will be fueled by his prayer, which still support the Church in its spiritual and missionary journey. "
Another reference to Benedict XVI who "recalled many times in his teachings and, most recently, with the brave and humble gesture", it "is Christ who guides the Church through his Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church with its life-giving and unifying force: he makes one body of many, the Mystical Body of Christ. " 
"Let us never give in to pessimism, a bitterness that the devil offers us every day: Never give in to pessimism and discouragement, we have the firm conviction that the Holy Spirit gives the Church, with his mighty breath, the courage to persevere and also to seek new methods of evangelization, to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Christian truth is attractive and persuasive because it answers the deep need of human existence, announcing convincingly that Christ is the only Saviour of all man and of all men. This announcement remains as valid today as it was at the beginning of Christianity, when the first great missionary expansion of the Gospel took place. " - AsiaNews