Pope Francis

Discussion in 'General discussion' started by David, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. David

    David Well-Known Member

    Is Pope Francis really facing a coup? Or just ‘fake news’?

    David Gibson March 11, 2017

    Pope Francis laughs during his visit to the All Saints' Anglican Church in Rome, Italy, on Feb. 26, 2017.

    Francis himself recognizes that there is resistance...the longer Francis goes on, the more cardinals and bishops he can appoint, which will likely increase the number of those who think as he does and decrease the size of the opposition still further.

    As Pope Francis marks the fourth anniversary of his revolutionary papacy, the pontiff apparently finds himself besieged on all sides by crises of his own making: an open “civil war” in the Catholic Church and fears of schism, mounting opposition from the faithful and a Roman Curia so furious with his reforms that some cardinals are plotting a coup to topple him.

    And those are just some of the more noteworthy threats to the church and his authority, at least in the view of various right-wing Catholic websites and pundits who have been criticizing Francis almost since the day he was elected four years ago on Monday (March 13).

    Now, as the anniversary approaches, their claims have grown increasingly insistent and eye-popping, often migrating into mainstream media accounts as well.

    Yet if you talk to senior churchmen in the U.S. and elsewhere, as well as advisers to the pope, Vatican officials and veteran church observers, these reports are also dismissed as increasingly outlandish and often driven by an anti-Francis agenda that is so hyperbolic that it is obscuring the genuine reservations that some might have about the direction Francis is taking the Catholic Church.

    “I certainly don’t see plots. I don’t see all this seething behind the cassocks of prelates all over Rome,” said Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl, one of Francis’s main U.S. advisers. Wuerl is frequently in Rome for meetings and has wide contacts among the global hierarchy, and he said he sees wide support for what Francis is doing, often more so in other countries.

    “I think there are a small number” of opponents, Wuerl said, “and they are the ones you see quoted over and over and over again - the same quotes, the same words, in the same publications.

    “It really is a concern of a few people in a few locations that is amplified by the megaphone of the media that support them.”

    Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, who was personally picked by Francis to head the Archdiocese of Chicago and sit on key Vatican committees, has also characterized the pontiff’s foes as a splinter group. “They are not as much large as loud,” Cupich recently told Italian Vatican-watcher Andrea Tornielli.

    ‘A lot of this is pure or impure speculation’
    Several curial officials, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely, readily admitted they see what they described as “concern” among some in the Vatican, and perhaps more than the usual amount of bureaucratic resistance to the structural overhaul Francis is pursuing.

    But as for serious, organized opposition, as one senior Vatican official put it, “I think it’s just wishful thinking by some people, to be honest.”

    Even some Catholic conservatives are growing impatient with the narrative of unprecedented crisis that is swirling around.

    “A lot of this is pure or impure speculation,” said Robert Royal, head of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington and a regular visitor to the Vatican. Royal cautioned that “there is a lot of turbulence in Rome these days.”

    But, he said, “some Catholic conservatives assume there is a coordinated network of liberals waiting to take over the church. I don’t, but I think (Francis) has given an awful lot of fuel to critics who want to see some bad things.”

    Indeed, the claims are hard to ignore. Traditionalist websites and canon lawyers are openly debating whether the pope is a heretic - and what can be done if he is - while others wonder whether Francis is leading the church into schism, or if such a split has already happened.

    Many of these conservative opponents have rallied around American Cardinal Raymond Burke, an outspoken critic of the pope who was a senior Vatican official until Francis moved him into a largely ceremonial role at the Rome-based charitable Order of Malta - where he recently was involved in another uproar over the ousting of a top leader there.

    The pope wound up intervening in the situation, providing another opportunity for Burke’s allies to denounce Francis as an “authoritarian” who is mercilessly crushing his foes.

    Some group or individual even plastered anti-Francis posters last month around Rome - a city where such manifestations are part of the daily discourse - leading some Francis critics to proclaim it proof that opposition to the pope was “spilling onto the street.”

    In fact, Francis seems as popular as ever (he just made the cover of the Italian edition of Rolling Stone magazine) and in the U.S. polls show his approval rating among Catholics actually increased to near 90 percent.

    That hasn’t stopped conservative Catholic media from regularly declaring that the church “is now in a full-blown civil war” or calling the church “drifting and directionless” and the pope akin to a “pathological” father, as Phil Lawler, editor of the Massachusetts-based Catholic World News site, has done.

    “But has there ever before been a Roman Pontiff who showed such disdain for what the Church has always taught and believed and practiced?” Lawler wrote in a widely shared post titled “This Disastrous Papacy.”

    Then this month The Times of London ran a story citing a right-wing Italian commentator’s claims that several cardinals in the Vatican who once supported Francis have turned on him and are leading a campaign to persuade him to resign so they can install the pope’s No. 2, Secretary of State Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin. The article was echoed by other outlets.

    “That was a crazy piece,” said one Vatican official, a view echoed by numerous other churchmen in Rome and the U.S.

    So, what’s really going on in Rome, and the rest of the Catholic Church?

    Part of the explanation is that Francis has welcomed open debate in the church - certainly one of the biggest changes he has made in his four years.

    That “has allowed deep-seated tensions within the church to surface,” Father Russell Pollitt, a South African Jesuit, recently wrote. “Tensions have always existed - even though some would never dare to admit this. The difference is that under Francis’s leadership these tensions have not been pushed under the proverbial carpet.”

    The complaints of the conservative critics, however, are also magnified by the fact that so much of the conservative opposition comes from the U.S. and Great Britain, and from a core group of Italian traditionalists. That means their critiques are amplified by a media industry dominated by, and geared toward, the English-speaking West. Catholics and churchmen in the rest of the world often scratch their heads at the debates that inflame the faithful in North America.

    “This has all the qualities of what you would call an ‘in-house’ story,” Wuerl said. “But that house is located primarily in the United States and it has some participants in Rome. I think those are the only two places I heard any of this. Everyone else seems to be moving along with the church at this very exciting time.”

  2. David

    David Well-Known Member

    Words From Pope Francis, on the Fourth Anniversary of His Election

    Published on March 13, 2017

    Jorge Bergoglio, then the archbishop of Buenos Aires, became pope four years ago today. He has been a very vocal bishop, which pleases his admirers and upsets his detractors, but keeps everyone talking.

    Here’s a tiny selection from his teaching ministry as archbishop and as pope. The selections focus on evangelization (as Catholics call what their Protestant brothers call evangelism). The sources with links appear at the end. If you want more, here’s a long list of quotes from Francis compiled by the American Catholic bishops. You can follow him on Twitter.

    Being a Christian
    I never tire of repeating those words of Benedict XVI which which take us to the very heart of the Gospel: “Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”

    Thanks solely to this encounter … we are liberated from our narrowness and self-absorption. We become fully human when we become more than human, when we let God bring us beyond ourselves in order to attain the fullest truth of our being. Here we find the source and inspiration of all our efforts at evangelization. For if we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others?

    The Ten Commandments
    The Decalogue is not a set of negative commands, but concrete directions for emerging from the desert of the selfish and self-enclosed ego in order to enter into dialogue with God, to be embraced by his mercy and then to bring that mercy to others. … The Decalogue appears as the path of gratitude, the response of love,

    Sharing the Good News
    A very wise priest once told me that we were facing a situation that is the complete opposite of the Parable of the Lost Sheep. The shepherd had ninety-nine sheep in his flock and went out to search for the one that was lost; we have on in the flock and ninety-nine that we are not searching for. I sincerely believe that in this day and age, the most basic thing for the Church is not to reduce or limit the requirements or make this or that easier, but to go out and seek people, to know people by name.

    The Faithful Church
    The Church is faithful to her Master to the extent that she is a Church which “goes forth,” a Church which is less concerned about herself, her structures and successes, and more about her ability to go out and meet God’s children wherever they are, to feel compassion for their hurt and pain. God … hears the cry of his people and he intervenes to set them free (Ex 3:7). The Church … is meant to be a Church which evangelizes, goes out to encounter humanity, proclaims the liberating word of the Gospel, heals people’s spiritual and physical wounds with the grace of God, and offers relief to the poor and the suffering.

    “Religion à la carte”
    It’s browsing the display rack in the religious supermarket. It’s religion as a consumer good, which I believe is very much linked to some kind of vague theism as part of the New Age movement, a mixture of personal satisfaction, relaxation, and “well-being.” …

    All this indicates a lack of a personal connection with God, of an authentic religious experience. This is what I believe is at the heart of “religion à la carte.” I believe you have to reclaim the religious event as a movement toward an encounter with Jesus Christ.

    Being a Parent
    One of the questions I always ask young parents during confession is whether or not they spend time playing with their children.

    The Scriptures
    The Word of God: this has the strength to defeat Satan. For this reason, it is important to be familiar with the Bible: read it often, meditate on it, assimilate it. …

    Someone has asked: what would happen were we to treat the Bible as we treat our mobile phone. Were we to always carry it with us, or at least a small, pocket-sized Gospel, what would happen? Were we to turn back when we forget it: you forget your mobile phone — “Oh! I don’t have it, I’m going back to look for it.” Were we to open it several times a day, were we to read God’s messages contained in the Bible as we read telephone messages, what would happen? …

    Indeed, if we had God’s Word always in our heart, no temptation could separate us from God, and no obstacle could divert us from the path of good. We would know how to defeat the daily temptations of the evil that is within us and outside us. We would be more capable of living a life renewed according to the Spirit, welcoming and loving our brothers and sisters, especially the weakest and neediest, and also our enemies.

    Faith and Death
    Nor does the light of faith make us forget the sufferings of this world. How many men and women of faith have found mediators of light in those who suffer! So it was with Saint Francis of Assisi and the leper, or with Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and her poor. … In drawing near to the suffering, they were certainly not able to eliminate all their pain or to explain every evil. Faith is not a light which scatters all our darkness, but a lamp which guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey.

    To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything. Rather, his response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light. In Christ, God himself wishes to share this path with us and to offer us his gaze so that we might see the light within it.

    SOURCES: 1)4) The Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. (He’s quoting Benedict’s encyclical Deus Caritas Est.) 2) The encyclical Lumen Christi. 3) Pope Francis. 4) Message for the 2015 World Day of Prayer for Vocations. 5) Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words, edited by Francesa Ambrogetti and Sergio Rubin. 6) Same. 7) His Sunday Angelus address, March 5, 2017. 8) Lumen Christi.

  3. David

    David Well-Known Member

    I just had to post this beautiful little video:

    Rebecca1993 likes this.
  4. Rebecca1993

    Rebecca1993 Member

    Beautiful !

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