Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam - Francesco

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum;
habemus Papam:

Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum,
Dominum Georgium Marium
Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Bergoglio
qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum


I won't deny that I was a bit surprized that  Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio SJ,  now Pope Francis was elected the 266th Supreme Pontiff. But I was more surprized that it came as soon as it did. I honestly expected the election to go until Friday. But the Holy Spirit had other plans.
I will also admit that I know very little about Papa Francesco. I do like what I see however. It is clear he is strongly pro-life. In 2007, he presented the final final version of the "Aparecida Document". That document was a joint statement of the bishops of Latin America regarding the situation of the Church in their countries.  It had been approved by Papa Benedetto XVI in July 2007. Paragraph 436 makes it clear that abortion supporters are not to be allowed to receive communion. It said "we should commit ourselves to ‘eucharistic coherence’, that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive holy communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortion, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals."
He was very harsh in his criticism of the recent forced abortion done on a mentally retarding woman during the speech at the presentation. He said "in Argentina we have the death penalty. A child conceived by the rape of a mentally ill or retarded woman can be condemned to death." He also pointed out that "the most mentioned word in the Aparecida Document is ‘life’, because the Church is very conscious of the fact that the cheapest thing in Latin America, the thing with the lowest price, is life." 
Additionally, he spoke out against euthenasia. "In Argentina there is clandestine euthanasia. Social services pay up to a certain point; if you pass it, ‘die, you are very old’. Today, elderly people are discarded when, in reality, they are the seat of wisdom of the society," he said, and observed that "the right to life means allowing people to live and not killing, allowing them to grow, to eat, to be educated, to be healed, and to be permitted to die with dignity."
During his time as head of the Buenos Aires Archdiocese, he was outspoken in defending the Church's teachings on marriage. He has called what has been pushed as same-sex marriage "demonic". He has also spoken out against the distribution of free contraception as well as the push for free artificial insemination. He also called adoptions by gays as being wrong, that it discriminates against children.
From this, it is very clear that we can expect some clashes between him & Obama as well as the pro-abort Catolics in his administration.
It is also clear that he has a strong concern for the poor & has been very pastoral in his approach as Archbishop.
He spoke out very loudly about how children are abused & exploited in Argentina.  "Children are mistreated, and are not educated or fed. Many are made into prostitutes and exploited. And this happens here in Buenos Aires, in the great city of the south. Child prostitution is offered in some five star hotels: it is included in the entertainment menu, under the heading ‘Other’."
He also stood up for the children who were born out of wedlock to be baptized. Talking to his priests he said "In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don't baptize the children of single mothers because they weren't conceived in the sanctity of marriage. These are today's hypocrites. Those who clericalize the Church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it's baptized!"
In the days ahead, I suspect you will see the long knives come out because he didn't do all the left thinks he should of done in speaking out against human rights abuses during the time the country was ruled by a dictatorship/junta. But from what it sounds like to me, he did more behind the scenes just as Pope Pius XII did in WW II.
I find his choice of Francis very interesting. I have often wondered why the name wasn't chosen before. After all, there have been several Franciscans elected Pope. I will admit that sometimes in my wildest dreams, I thought I would take the name Francis if elected Pope.
Still, I doubt he chose the name because he sees St. Francis as a tree hugging hippie that the liberal Catholycs paint him as. Instead, like so many others have said, I think he is sending a clear message that, like his namesake, he is being called by God to "rebuild His Church." Francis did that by preaching the Gospel, being faithful to the teachings of the Church, as well as submissive to Church authority, esp the Pope.
I will admit that my only concern is that he was a Jesuit. But after seeing how solid he is, those concerns have faded.
The fact that he is 76, not much younger than Papa Benedetto was when he was elected as well as the fact that he does has some health issues, only 1 long since he had one removed as a teen, tells me that the Cardinals were more concerned with electing the right person than someone who met a specific age or health criteria.
Additionally, the fact that he is of Italiano heritage, his parents immigrated from Italia & that, like both my grandfathers & my maternal Italiano great grandfather, his father was a railway worker gives me some added affection for him.
Add to that the aforementioned devotion I have to St. Francis.
Another interesting thing is that he is ordinary for Eastern Catholics in Argentina who do not have a prelate. That means he has more than a passing knowledge of what Blessed John Paul II called the "other lung of the Church." So, you can be sure he will be pastorally sensative to their needs as well.
Overall, my 1st view is a positive one. I don't expect him to do everything the way I would. But I do believe that God has a purpose in his election far beyond what I can see at this point.
I ask that God bless Papa Francesco in all his efforts. May the Holy Spirit gift him with all he needs to do so. May Mary & Joseph guard & protect him. May his reign truly bring glory to God as he steers the barque of Peter.

________________
Note: (2:33 pm 14 March 2013) I have gone back & edited out the 2 uses of I after Papa Francesco's name as the Vatican has asked that it not be used. Technically they are right. It began with John Paul I using it but even then it shouldn't have been. But with his short pontificate & his successor, Blessed John Paul II, taking the name, the issue was moot.

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