Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Week of Firsts - Pope Francis

A Week of Firsts

The “Bergoglio comeback” and insights from Vatican-watchers into what we can expect from Pope Francis

By Michael Severance

Certainly, last Wednesday was not the first time many faithful had personally witnessed the exciting Habemus Papam! pronounced from St. Peter’s loggia.

Many folks, just like me, were right there in St. Peter’s Square only eight years ago when a shy Benedict appeared before a spill-over crowd. Still others, now graying and with grandchildren, were there on John Paul I’s or John Paul II’s first day nearly 35 years ago.

We now have the first Jesuit pope. And the first pope named Francis. He is the first non-European pope since Gregory III, an eighth-century Syrian. And we now have the very first pope from the Americas.

Read “A Week of Firsts

The Pope and the Poor

A Jesuit reflects on the new pontificate and the problem of poverty

By James V. Schall, SJ

The day following the election of the archbishop of Buenos Aires to the papacy, I must have received fifty e-mails from friends and family asking if I knew the man or had any comment on him. What struck me was how little we knew about him. If he has a paper trail (the previous three popes had extensive ones), it is yet to reach us, though I did read the following comment from a statement in Buenos Aires a couple of years ago: “We hope legislators, heads of state, and health professionals, conscious of the dignity of human life and the rootedness of the family in our peoples, will defend and protect it from the abominable crimes of abortion and euthanasia, that is their responsibility.” I presume Ignatius Press is busily translating and preparing what we do have for English publication. What we do have are actions taken and gestures made while he was Jesuit provincial and a bishop in Argentina. He rides the bus, leads a simple life, and loves the poor.

Read “The Pope and the Poor

Pope Francis and Secularist Stereotypes

Don't be surprised that the honeymoon lasted just a few hours.

By Michael Coren

The Catholic Church looks neither right nor left but up. In other words, the Church is not a vehicle for conservatism or liberalism, capitalism or socialism, but a vehicle for Catholicism. Anyone who thinks and believes otherwise has surely misunderstood the teaching and purpose of the institution left us by Christ Jesus. I say this because within hours of Pope Francis taking to the balcony in Rome, commentators were trying to shape the man in their own image. It’s an outrageous, but inevitable, thing to do. Pope Francis the friend of the poor, Pope Francis the defender of marriage; Pope Francis the Jesuit, Pope Francis the orthodox cleric; Pope Francis the critic of unbridled globalization, Pope Francis the fighter for the unborn.

The real answer is that he’s not some of these, but all of these.

Read “Pope Francis and Secularist Stereotypes

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio's "Letter On the Year of Faith"

An exclusive English translation of Cardinal Bergoglio's October 2012 letter marking the start of the Year of Faith

The following Letter On the Year of Faith was presented by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., now Pope Francis, on October 1, 2012, the Feast of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, to the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. This exclusive English translation is published with the express permission of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.

Read “Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio's Letter On the Year of Faith

Pope Francis and the Humility of Orthodoxy

The newly elected pontiff demonstrates how Catholicism is both consistently compelling and often very unpredictable.

By Carl E. Olson

For many people, including many Catholics, the Catholic Church is too old-fashioned, staid, and boring, supposedly failing to be "relevant" and "with the times." And yet, the ancient traditions and venerable institutions of the Church—especially the papacy—continue to fascinate and even transfix the world at large. And today's events in Rome demonstrate this fact, showing that Catholicism, far from being dull and predictable, is both consistently compelling and often very unpredictable.

Pope Francis is Exhibit A through Z. First, the unpredictable. Although the Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was reportedly a runner-up in the 2005 papal election, he wasn't on most short lists for this conclave, largely because he is 76 years old, just two years younger than was Cardinal Ratzinger eight years ago. While the possibility of a pope from the Americas seemed more likely than ever before, the names mentioned were mostly from North America, especially Cardinals Dolan and O'Malley.

Read “Pope Francis and the Humility of Orthodoxy

Catholic World Report

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