Archives For Pope Francis

2015-01-23_11-40-13The problem is simply that Francis has broken from too many elements in the Republican Party platform. First there were affirming statements about homosexuality. Then harsh words for capitalism and trickle-down economics. And now climate change. That, it seems, is a bridge too far. Francis has put conservative American Catholics in the position of having to choose between the pope and the GOP. It should surprise no one that they’re siding with the Republicans.

SOURCE:  The Week – The Republican Party’s war with Pope Francis has finally started.

Yeah, Pope Francis does seem to conflict with many of the current foundations of the GOP. He simply cares too much about the poor and economic inequality. Being a Franciscan priest who spent much of his life among the poor in South America I am not at all surprised. He cares too much about climate change and being responsible stewards of the earth. He cares too much about loving each other. So, with a battle looming of allegiances between their religion and their politics which way will  the average GOP conservative go?

According to this article they, for the most part, are choosing their politics and like the NYPD, are turning their backs to this new pope and that in my mind is a total shame. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised though but I am definitely disappointed and I hope that it isn’t a broad thing among American Catholics. As a whole Catholics tend to vote Democrat but that is primarily because a significantly larger number of non-white Catholics skew the results that way. In my mind this is the most relevant pope in my lifetime as far as obeying Jesus’ command to love each other.

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2014-12-23_09-21-20Francis issued a blistering indictment of the Vatican bureaucracy Monday, accusing the cardinals, bishops and priests who serve him of using their Vatican careers to grab power and wealth, of living “hypocritical” double lives and forgetting that they’re supposed to be joyful men of God.

Francis turned the traditional, genteel exchange of Christmas greetings into a public dressing down of the Curia, the central administration of the Holy See which governs the 1.2-billion strong Catholic Church. He made clear that his plans for a radical reform of the structures of church power must be accompanied by an even more radical spiritual reform of the men involved.

Ticking off 15 “ailments of the Curia” one by one, Francis urged the prelates sitting stone-faced before him in the marbled Sala Clementina to use the Christmas season to repent and atone and make the church a healthier, holier place in 2015.

SOURCE: Pope in blistering critique of Vatican bureaucrats – Yahoo News.

I am becoming more endeared to Pope Francis as each day passes.  He seems to be the only pope in my lifetime to look to the teachings of Jesus instead of the huge bureaucracy around him. A radical reform is needed and he seems anxious to do just that. He is the first non-European to be pope in I guess 600 years so maybe he can more readily see and has experienced the effects of a muddled bureaucracy. And then there is the Cuba/US relations work. Some of the most radical Cuban-American leaders basically disown him as a result of his work in that area.  It has probably been centuries, if ever, that a pope was chosen who was not brought up in the Curia. Pope Francis seems to be seriously trying to fashion the church into what it was originally intended.  He is in my prayers and I will be following him closely in this new year….

Pope Francis’ actions give me definite hope that he will be able to turn the largest Christian denomination back toward the actual teachings of Jesus Christ. I may even consider becoming a Catholic once again…. who knows…

 

2014-04-09_18-54-55After spending $43 million on residential renovations, German bishop Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst was suspended. On Wednesday, Pope Francis accepted the bishop’s resignation….

Francis has called on his priests and bishops to be models of sobriety in a church that “is poor and is for the poor.”

SOURCE:  Why Pope Francis accepted the ‘Bishop of Bling’ resignation – CSMonitor.com.

I continue to be amazed by the words and actions of Pope Francis. He seems to be very serious in making the church into the vision of its founder.  The source article is about how he “accepted” the resignation of a German Bishop who was lavishly spending money of his residence including a $20,000 bath tub!  That item seemed to be the breaking point even for the bishop’s flock, if bishops in fact have flocks.

From this and other posts about the Pope, it seems he is really shaking up things in Vatican City as well as throughout the world. His comment that the church “is poor and is for the poor” is almost earth shaking in it simplicity and its fundamental turn from its past. One of the things I seem to criticize the most about religious institutions is how much they spend on lavish cathedrals and such. That seems to be very contradicted by Jesus and even the early Christian community. Stating that the church should be poor is radical concept indeed for those folks in Rome. I hope some of it sticks into their mental attitudes. I don’t think God really cares whether we take communion in a fancy silver goblet or a simple clay one.

I wonder what all those cardinals are now thinking that voted to make Pope Francis their pope? Are they saying “we have created a monster” or are they saying “it’s about time”. I hope it is the latter….

2014-01-18_17-49-05Pope Francis, laying out his hopes Wednesday for the just-begun year, urged people to work for a world where everyone accepts each other’s differences and where enemies recognize that they are brothers.

“We are all children of one heavenly father, we belong to the same human family and we share a common destiny,” Francis said….

“What is happening in the heart of man? What is happening in the heart of humanity?” Francis asked. “It’s time to stop.”

SOURCE Pope Stresses Strength, Courage, Hope in New Year – ABC News.

I want to end this first month of the new year 2014 with some inspiring words from the new pope of the Catholic church.He has the courage to speak out on so many issues that other fear to embrace. I admire him much for that.

These handful of sentences pretty much sums up one of my life’s primary purposes. I know I am just a simple-living senior citizen but even my contributions to the world mean something. I blog here and especially over at Red Letter Living hoping to convince just a few of you who might be acting otherwise that diversity is a good thing and loving each other is the main thing God expects of us. Why do we seem to gravitate toward the opposite feelings?

Pope Francis continues to pluck my heartstrings with his words.  I can’t imagine a better religious figure for our times. I pray that some of his hope rubs out some of my doubt about the world.

“In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”

2013-12-19_18-28-40The above quote is from the new Evangelii Gaudium, recently released from Pope Francis. This pope continues to amaze me with his courageous words for the least of these. Here the pope is directly calling those, like President Reagan and his crowd, who believed in trickle-down economics naive. As he mentioned trickle-down although still popular in some conservative circles has never been born out by anything resembling the facts.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a free-market capitalist but I know that capitalism is only successful when it is properly reigned in by regulatory forces. Unbridled capitalism is a dangerous thing since its primary driver is greed.  I may be a free-marketer but I am not naive enough to believe in the innate goodness of that system. Quite the opposite is true.

So, here is once again to you Pope Francis for saying what many do not have the courage to say in today’s world….

2013-12-12_09-12-42VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis said in the first peace message of his pontificate that huge salaries and bonuses are symptoms of an economy based on greed and inequality and called again for nations to narrow the wealth gap.

In his message for the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of Peace, marked around the world on January 1, he also called for sharing of wealth and for nations to shrink the gap between rich and poor, more of whom are getting only “crumbs”.

“The grave financial and economic crises of the present time … have pushed man to seek satisfaction, happiness and security in consumption and earnings out of all proportion to the principles of a sound economy” he said.

“The succession of economic crises should lead to a timely rethinking of our models of economic development and to a change in lifestyles,” he said….

Since his election in March as the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, the Argentinian has several times condemned the “idolatry of money” and said it was a depressing sign of the times that a homeless person dying of exposure on the street was no longer news but a slight fall in the stock market is.

SOURCE:  Pope attacks mega-salaries and wealth gap in peace message – Yahoo News.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Time Magazine had chosen Pope Francis as its person of the year.  I dreaded the idea that Senator Cruz, who was in the top ten list might be chosen! Time has a way of  sometimes wanting to shock its readers with their unpredictability.  I am glad that saner minds ruled this year.

Anyway, getting back to the story and quote above, I was truly inspired by his words about the wealth gap. He does indeed seem to be a Pope for the people and not just an administrator as the previous pope was often cited to be. The wealth gap, in the whole world not just the U.S., is becoming so extreme as to threaten our very humanity.  With the increase in riches by a very small minority also comes the increase in power to perpetuate  the suppression of the majority.

Pope Francis gets it and is not afraid to let the world know what he thinks. Narrowing the wealth gap as the pope suggests means taking the power back to the people and away from the privileged few. That is no small task!  One great thing about this country is that our elected officials who make up most of the rules are still elected by the majority of its citizens. Now, if only we could get the ignorant, or at least misinformed, voters to realize that fact things might change in our country and the world.

Here is to you Pope Francis. Keep your voice loud and clear in this area and all the fellow Catholics in your clan take to heart your words and actually try to put them in action. Wouldn’t the world then be a better place??