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A Pope of the Poor

A Pope of the Poor

 

Washington does not quite know what to make of Pope Francis. Some ecclesial and political spinners are trying to fit him into their own agendas and biases. Before the conclave we heard contradictory hopes for a new pope: culture warrior or less focused on sexual matters, manager or evangelizer, enforcer or communicator. Instead we have a humble, hopeful and holy pastor. Like his namesake, Pope Francis is likely to make the powerful uneasy. As he declared: “Francis of Assisi—for me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation…. How I would like a church which is poor and for the poor!”

It would be hard to identify three priorities that draw less attention in Washington than poverty, peace and protecting creation. Official Washington is about helping the “middle class,” confronting global enemies and economic growth, not lifting up the poor, seeking peace or caring for the earth. On parts of the left, secular deities are sexual freedom and unrestrained choice. On the right, many worship at the altar of unlimited economic freedom and the unfettered market. Both ideological orthodoxies reflect overwhelming individualism and neither focuses on the common good or protecting the weak. Read more

For Catholics, a new kind of pro-creation

Guest Voices

For Catholics, a new kind of pro-creation

 

By Christiana Z. Peppard, Published: March 26

Strap on your sandals, Catholics, during this Holy Week journey into Jerusalem. Pope Francis is guiding the global church towards two major right-to-life issues: poverty and the environment. Take heed: it’s not just about prophylaxis.

First, poverty. Francis has called for a “poor church, a church for the poor.” Certainly, the Bible is rife with injunctions to care for the poor, and Catholic social teaching insists on the theological and ethical imperative known as the “preferential option for the poor.” But has any pope ever talked the talk while walking the walk? Enter Francis, who has decided to not live in the papal apartment (he will live in the Vatican guesthouse), who has eschewed highly filigreed garments, and who has constantly spoken of humility and poverty. Might this papacy be less about pontifical pomp and theological rhetoric than about attention to concrete circumstance? That would be theology as praxis: where the word of God hits the ground, and keeps walking. Read more

Pope Francis: What’s in a Name? 3 Priorities for the Church

Pope Francis: What’s in a Name? 3 Priorities for the Church

In this touching video, Pope Francis explains to journalists the reasons he chose the name “Francis” for his papacy.  It is clear to me this was a Spirit-led moment in which he responded to what he felt were several of the most-pressing needs in our modern world.  Expressing his longing that the Church become poor and for the poor, he described the charism of Francis:  “the man of peace, the man of the poor, the man who loves and guards creation.”

What happened in those few minutes he describes as the final conclave votes were counted was that the Pope’s heart was moved by the suggestion of a friend to choose a name that represents exactly what the world needs most right now: peace, solidarity with the poor, and care for the environment. Read more

Why the pope chose the name Francis

Speaking to the thousands of journalists and camera operators that covered the papal transition, Pope Francis recounted the story of his election and his choice of the name Francis.

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