What we knew from the beginning.
I've been thinking of that - how we knew, from the beginning of his Pontificate, who Pope Francis is and how he ministers and serves the Church. He told us himself in his interview with Fr. Spadaro in 2013. An excerpt here:
“How are we treating the people of God? I dream of a church that is a mother and shepherdess. The church’s ministers must be merciful, take responsibility for the people and accompany them like the good Samaritan, who washes, cleans and raises up his neighbor. This is pure Gospel. God is greater than sin. The structural and organizational reforms are secondary—that is, they come afterward. The first reform must be the attitude. The ministers of the Gospel must be people who can warm the hearts of the people, who walk through the dark night with them, who know how to dialogue and to descend themselves into their people’s night, into the darkness, but without getting lost. The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials. The bishops, particularly, must be able to support the movements of God among their people with patience, so that no one is left behind. But they must also be able to accompany the flock that has a flair for finding new paths.
“Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside itself and go to those who do not attend Mass, to those who have quit or are indifferent. The ones who quit sometimes do it for reasons that, if properly understood and assessed, can lead to a return. But that takes audacity and courage.” - An Interview with Pope Francis
I have always seen proofs of his goodness.
No matter how misrepresented on social media or in publications condemning him - even by Catholic bishops, I have great love for the papacy and especially our Holy Father Pope Francis. I almost feel sorry for those who stir up people against the Pope and suggest he is anything but a faithful son of the Church.
I was reading a short account of the life of St. Peter Faber, and was immediately impressed by a couple of quotes from the saint which pointed to a Jesuit style of apostolate, especially towards those alienated or outside the Church.
"It is necessary for anyone who wants to help heretics in the present age to hold them in great affection and love them very truly. One must ... exclude all thoughts and feelings tending to discredit them. One must also win their good will and love by friendly discussion and conversation about matters on which we do not differ, taking care to avoid all controversial subjects that lead to bickering... The things that unite us ought to be the very basis of our approach." - St. Peter Faber
Faber also said, "Take care, take care, never to close your heart to anyone."
St. Ignatius felt Fr. Faber was the most accomplished as a director of the Spiritual Exercises. I'm confident we see the same type of Jesuit in our Holy Father Pope Francis.
For more on the life of
S. Peter Faber