Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pope Francis: Getting to Know You (UPDATED)

Screen shot from Vatican TV of the
Pope's first appearance.
Thanks to the modern day marvel of Twitter, I have come across some excellent posts about the former Jorge Bergolio, SJ, including his powerful, Old-Testament-prophet-style preaching. These few pages give me the impression of a man truly after God's own heart. I think we can expect this Pope of the poor to challenge us in many ways. Clearly, he already defies all the usual categories (stumping the journalists who are trying to find a box to put him in), this Pope who was so familiar with the local bus routes (he even took the shuttle bus last night with the cardinals).

As we await his own homilies, addresses and encyclicals as Pope, here is a first glimpse into the heart of Pope Francis:

From a 2005 article in the UK "Catholic Herald"Bergoglio is admired as being far from the powers of this world, indifferent to his media image, preoccupied by 

the future of society, and a man looking always for new forms of social solidarity and justice in a country where 15 per cent are unemployed and thousands rummage through the bins at night looking for something to eat.

Interview from 2012Instead of just being a Church that welcomes and receives, we try to be a Church that comes out of itself and goes to the men and women who do not participate in parish life, do not know much about it and are indifferent towards it. We organise missions in public squares where many people usually gather: we pray, we celebrate mass, we offer baptism which we administer after a brief preparation. This is the style of the parishes and the diocese itself. Other than this, we also try to reach out to people who are far away, via digital means, the web and brief messaging.

Letter for Lent 2013: We live alongside a violence that kills, that destroys families, that enlivens wars and conflicts in so many countries of the world.  We live with envy, hatred, slander, the mundane in our heart.The suffering of the innocent and peaceable buffets us nonstop; the contempt for the rights of the most fragile of people and nations is not so distant from us; the tyrannical rule of money with its demonic effects, such as drugs, corruption, trafficking in people -- even children -- along with misery, both material and moral, are the coin of the realm [today].  The destruction of dignified work, painful emigrations and the lack of a future also join in this [tragic] symphony. Our errors and sins as Church are not beyond this analysis.

Homily in his first Mass as Pope (today)I would like that all of us, after these days of grace, might have the courage - the courage - to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Cross of the Lord: to build the Church on the Blood of the Lord, which is shed on the Cross, and to profess the one glory, Christ Crucified. In this way, the Church will go forward.
My hope for all of us is that the Holy Spirit, that the prayer of Our Lady, our Mother, might grant us this grace: to walk, to build, to profess Jesus Christ Crucified. So be it.

20 "Fast Facts" about Pope Francis, courtesy of The Telegraph (UK). (Hint: tango, anyone?)

Do you read Spanish? You're in luck! You can read the Holy Father's book on your Kindle! (Me, I have to wait for the translation to come out.)

Father Robert Barron: "The most exciting day of my life... Last night, 
this place was the place to be on Planet Earth, I tell you!"


joe said...

For whoever can muddle through in Spanish, here is a treasure trove of letters and homilies from then-Cdl. Bergoglio.


juliek57 said...

Thank you, really interesting information. I am so excited about this new pope, he is already showing himself to be a people person.

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

Thanks a billion, Joe! and thanks for that translation of the Lenten message, too!

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

This is interesting, too, even if the headline framed it in a negative:
NB: The Pope dominated Twitter trending internationally (which I seriously doubt was the case with the 2012 election).
What do you think of the likelihood/desirability of Pope Francis to reactivate Papal @pontifex messages?