One evening I was having dinner with a friend who is a prominent leader in the world of entertainment. He is not Catholic, but professed to have a very strong liking of our Holy Father, Pope Francis. He appreciated his clear voice in defense of the marginalized, his powerful symbolic witness in actions such as washing the feet of prisoners and his radiant and joyful interactions with people from every background.
“What makes him tick?” he asked. “What centers him and directs his life?” I replied: “The Holy Father genuinely believes not only that Jesus rose from the dead 2,000 years ago, but is risen, active and alive in the world, leading the church today. Pope Francis sees his role as being attentive to all that Jesus is doing and calling us to be in our time.” Seeing the puzzled look on my friend’s face, I got the impression that I had totally befuddled him, as though he were speaking to someone who had just arrived from Mars.
Explanation - Pope - Francis - Belief - Firm
Perhaps my explanation came across as too simplistic for him, but I am convinced that we really cannot understand Pope Francis without attending to that deeply held belief. It is because of his firm faith that Christ is alive and active in the church that he is insisting on a new pastoral approach for the church and its ministers. Ministry begins with encounter, continues with accompanying and leads to integration more fully into the life of the church, because that is precisely the way of Jesus.
The Holy Father’s core conviction about the resurrection of Jesus also helps us make sense of his urging not to judge others or become an obstacle by denying God’s grace to those whose lives are imperfect. The pope rightly believes that, as one who has broken down...
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