Pearls of Wisdom

Lest I should be seen to be the old square liturgy buff I am, I would like to share some quotes from Pope Francis in Few Surprises. Francis Is Just That Way.

I confess that in general, through the fault of my temperament, the first solution that comes to my mind is the wrong one. Because of this I have learned to distrust my first reaction. Once I am more tranquil, after I have passed through the crucible of solitude, I draw near to that which I must do. But no one can save me from the solitude of decisions. One can ask for advice but, in the end, one must decide alone.

This is a man who knows about the discernment of spirits in the Exercises. On the other hand, our decisions are entirely ours, and no spiritual director can be of any help in this – other than by proffering principles on which to base any sound decision. I don’t have Pope Francis’ responsibility, whether as Pope, Archbishop of Buenos Aires or Jesuit Provincial. But I have had to, and still have to, face decisions in utter solitude and no help from God is forthcoming. We must decide alone.

I am sincerely convinced that, at the present time, the fundamental choice that the Church must make is not that of diminishing or taking away precepts, of making this or that easier, but of going into the street in search of the people, of knowing persons by name. And not only because going to proclaim the Gospel is its mission, but because if it does not do so it harms itself. It is obvious that if one goes into the street it can also happen that one has an accident, but I prefer a thousand times over an accident-ridden Church to a sick Church.

This is the mind of a parish priest or perhaps even a provincial diocesan bishop of a hundred years ago. We have to expose ourselves, go and get our hands dirty on the job, be seen to be priests as we do something for the poor. This is what my old parish priests used to do in their battered and worn cassocks, just keeping people company without ramming the Faith down their throats. An accident-ridden Church to a sick Church? My old superior used to tell us about Cardinal Siri saying that he preferred to be considered as stupid twenty times than unjust one single time!

By all means, we can and must hold onto our liturgy and all that makes Christ incarnate. But we also have to be pastors and wise men, men with hearts, humanity and humility – the kind of humility that knows it sins by pride. And I believe that Pope Francis will teach us, Roman Catholics and men and women of other Catholic Churches, this way of wisdom and humanity, the way of the heart.

He has only one lung and cannot sing. He only speaks Italian and Spanish and a smattering of one or two other languages. But, I, with my little tenor voice and love of music, have only half (or much less of) the father’s heart he has. In this I am entirely with him!

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4 Responses to Pearls of Wisdom

  1. Patricius says:

    I don’t know about anyone else but I’m certainly not convinced of pope Francis’ “humility.” It’s far more likely that he is a stubborn old man, stuck in his ways, who can’t adjust to his new job. It’s ridiculous that he is living in the Domus Sanctae Marthae in rooms reserved for guests, and travels around in a mini bus. While I do not agree with any undue deference to bishops in general there is, or was, a certain dignity attached to the Papacy which this man just seems to have cast off, and not in the way any of us wanted. If he were truly humble, setting an example for all Christians everywhere, he would abolish the titles “Vicar of Christ” and “Supreme Pontiff” attached to his office, he would liquidate the Vatican City, becoming a citizen of the Italian Republic and he would nullify Papal Infallibility. Otherwise he just seems like a peasant dressed up in a white cassock with a number of glorious titles and privileges, at his disposal, even if he feels uncomfortable with them.

    • Well, if I believed I were humble, I wouldn’t be announcing it here because everyone would know I was proud. It’s a paradoxical one. Jesus said something about shutting the door of your room and praying in secret and not letting one hand know what the other is doing. Humility is interior, and when there is a big show of it, then it is a bit like the John Paul II tarmac-kissing Roadshow! Suspicious…

      Things might go as you suggest – Bergoglio would have been brought in to liquidate the Papacy. Petrus Romanus indeed, and then we can all go sailing, playing football, doing the garden or whatever…

      I have been for “giving him a chance”, but I have to say that I was a Roman Catholic for only a small bit of my life and that was long ago.

    • Dale says:

      Patricius, you have voiced my concerns so much better than I could have done so myself.

      As to badly written comments, I noticed that in my last few, the number of typos simply boggles even me! But I tend to write them during my breaks at work, and in a hurry since I live in a very rural area and have no connectivity (?) at home.

  2. Evagrius says:

    I’m relieved to see some others who have formed a similar opinion to me on the new Pope! I find his humility rather showy, even if its showiness appeals to parts of me (born into the Vatican II church and the post-Thatcher UK – old habits die hard, old habits of thought especially).

    I note that Pius X supposedly hated all the pomp and ceremony of the Papacy – but bore it as something which went with the job, and was not subject to his whim. (Actually, the more I read about Pius X, the more impressive he seems, personally, regardless of his ‘policies’ as Pope. What a pity he’s been turned into the great Lefebvrist icon!)

    With that said, the new Pope preaches and speaks clearly and in an uncomplicated fashion of sin, the Devil, the need for confession… I think their is a qualitative difference between reading about him and seeing him act; the one gives the impression of duplicity, the other of honesty, at least to me.

    What really worries me in all of this is that while the external symbols are all well and good, he appears to have done nothing about the Curia. I am worried that may be the trend of this Papacy, which will make, by my count, five papacies and over half a century of the Curia running its own show, at least.

    Still, these are early days yet.

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