Pope Francis - Nobody's Fool But God's

Getting to Know You 
James Taylor

It was a toss between this song 
"There May be Trouble Ahead "

What the heck. I'm sticking with this one today.

Maybe not "precisely my cup of tea," 
but none of us are perfect are we ?

        and these recent Guardian articles are worth a read 

John Donaghy has a translation of an interview with Father Jon Sobrino, a Spanish-born Jesuit who lived, worked, and taught in El Salvador since the late 1960s, and was recently interviewed about Pope Francis.

Sobrino interview is here: http://hermanojuancito.blogspot.com/2013/03/jon-sobrino-on-pope-francis.html

Extract below..
 "During these days, have you spoken with people who know Bergoglio closely?

Yes, I’m not an expert on the life, work, joys, and sufferings of Bergoglio. And so that I don’t fall into any type of irresponsibility, I have tried to connect with persons in Argentina, whom I will not quote, above all those who have had direct contact with him. I expect understanding of the limits of what I am going to say and I apologize for any errors I might commit.

 Bergoglio is a Jesuit who has held important posts in the [Jesuit] Province of Argentina. He has been professor of theology, superior and provincial. It is not difficult to talk about his external work. But of the more internal, one can speak only delicately and now respectfully and responsibly. 

Many companions have spoken of him as a person with deep convictions and temperament, a resolute and relentless fighter. If they make him Pope, he will clean up the Curia, it has been said with humor."
Garry O' Sullivan, Managing Director From The Irish Independent here.

 .... "the Jesuits were the 'storm troopers' of the Counter Reformation which saved the church from the turmoil it suffered after Martin Luther and the Reformation. If Francis was a man of passion, compassion, love and sacrifice, Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, was a CEO par excellence. 

These are the qualities many cardinals sought before the conclave.

 However, given his age, the new Pope is a pope for the next 10 years or so and has a task to get the church back on track. This is a papacy of repair and reform. Another papacy will be needed after to drive the church in a new direction. But it is also a papacy with a global edge.

As an Argentinian, Cardinal Bergoglio had a delicate relationship with the government there, and some say he was on a collision course with that government, and a strong defender of the role of church as an independent voice in society.
Latin American is a continent in transition, think Cuba, Venezuela. Left-wing dictators are popping up with anti-church agendas. 

This Pope is not coming from the left or the right but as a Jesuit, he is on the side of the poor, something neither politicians of the left or right tend to appreciate. 

He may well give strength to Irish bishops who are tired of being told by the Labour Party here to stay out of public debate.
This Pope is going to be much more charismatic than his predecessor. 

Speaking from the balcony of St Peter's he was, as the Italian's say, very 'sympatico' – which means warm and nice, something that Benedict didn't carry off very well. He is perhaps best described as a combination of Pope John Paul I and John XXIII.
He appears a genuinely humble man and hasn't sought this appointment or politicised himself in the church. 

The most interesting reaction will be in Latin America, and while the Argentine government might try to hijack him – visiting the Falkland Islands would be a coup for them – it is unlikely that this Jesuit, with the compassion of St Francis, will be anybody's fool but God's."

Some opinions Here By

"Little by little, people will get to know him better and what to expect of his papacy, as his speeches and writings while he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires come to light. Here are some samples that have come out in translation: 

“We need to avoid the spiritual sickness of a Church that is wrapped up in its own world: when a Church becomes like this, it grows sick. It is true that going out onto the street implies the risk of accidents happening, as they would to any ordinary man or woman. But if the Church stays wrapped up in itself, it will age. And if I had to choose between a wounded Church that goes out onto the streets and a sick withdrawn Church, I would definitely choose the first one.” 

He describes what it was like in Buenos Aires: 

“Instead of just being a Church that welcomes and receives, we try to be a Church that comes out of itself and goes to the men and women who do not participate in parish life, do not know much about it and are indifferent towards it. We organize missions in public squares where many people usually gather: we pray, we celebrate Mass, we offer baptism which we administer after a brief preparation.” 
The following is specially precious: 

“The cardinalate is a service, it is not an award to be bragged about. Vanity, showing off, is an attitude that reduces spirituality to a worldly thing, which is the worst sin that could be committed in the Church.  … Spiritual worldliness is a form of religious anthropocentrism that has Gnostic elements. Careerism and the search for a promotion come under the category of spiritual worldliness. An example I often use to illustrate the reality of vanity, is this: Look at the peacock; it’s beautiful if you look at it from the front. But if you look at it from behind, you discover the truth… Whoever gives in to such self-absorbed vanity has huge misery hiding inside them.” 

A good summary, perhaps, of his preferred apostolic style is the following: 

“Jesus did not preach his own politics: He accompanied others. The conversions He inspired took place precisely because of His willingness to accompany, which makes us all brothers and children and not members of an NGO or proselytes of some multinational company.” 

We should have interesting years ahead! A Jesuit Pope who names himself after a Franciscan who was a great reformer on the radical side of the Gospel is bound to produce some surprises."

Leonardo Boff on Pope Francis -Translation from Rebel Girl At Iglesia Descalza here.
Why did Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio choose the name Francis? I think it's because he realized the Church is in ruins because of demoralization due to the various scandals that have affected the most precious thing it had: morality and credibility.

Francis isn't a name; it's a plan for a Church that is poor, simple, gospel-centered, and devoid of all power. It's a Church that walks the way together with the least and last, that creates the first communities of brothers and sisters who recite the breviary under the trees with the birds. It's an ecological Church that calls all beings those sweet words "brothers and sisters". 

Francis was obedient to the Church and the popes and at the same time he followed his own path with the gospel of poverty in hand. So theologian Joseph Ratzinger wrote: "Francis' 'no' to this imperial type of Church couldn't be more radical; it's what we could call a prophetic protest."(in Zeit Jesu, Herder 1970, 269). Francis doesn't talk; he simply inaugurates something new.

I think Pope Francis has in mind a church outside the palaces and symbols of power. He showed it when he appeared in public. Normally the Popes and mainly Ratzinger would put over their shoulders the mozzetta, that short capelet embroidered in gold that only emperors could wear. Pope Francis came dressed only in white. Three highly symbolic points stand out in his inaugural address.

First: He said that he wants to "preside with charity", something that has been called for since the Reformation and by the best theologians of ecumenism. The Pope should not preside as an absolute monarch, clothed in sacred power, as provided for in canon law. According to Jesus, he should preside in love and strengthen the faith of the brothers and sisters.

Second: He gave a central place to the People of God, as Vatican II highlighted but which had been left aside by the two previous popes in favor of the hierarchy. Pope Francis humbly asked the people of God to pray for him and bless him. Only afterwards would he bless the people of God. This means that he's there to serve and not be served. He asked them to help him build a path together and called for brotherhood for all humankind, where human being don't recognize each other as brothers and sisters but are tied to economic forces.

Finally, he avoided all spectacle in the figure of Pope. He didn't extend both arms to greet the people. He remained still, serious and sober, even frightened, I would say. One only saw a white figure who greeted the people affectionately. But he radiated peace and confidence. He showed his mood by speaking without official-sounding rhetoric, like a pastor speaks to the faithful.

It's worth mentioning that he's a pope who comes from the Great South, where the poorest of humankind are and where 60% of Catholics live. With his experience as pastor, with a new view of things, from below, he will be able to reform the Curia, decentralize the administration, and give the Church a new and credible face."

Seems I've imagined Him all of my life
As the wisest of all of mankind
But if God's Holy wisdom is foolish to man
He must have seemed out of His mind 

Even His family said He was mad
And the priest said a demon's to blame
But, God in the form of this angry young man
Could not have seemed perfectly sane 


We in our foolishness thought we were wise
He played the fool and He opened our eyes
We in our weakness believed we were strong
He became helpless to show we were wrong 

So we follow God's own Fool
For only the foolish can tell 

Believe the unbelievable, come be a fool as well
So come lose your life for a carpenter's son
For a man never died for a dream
And You'll have the faith His first followers had
And you'll feel the weight of the beam
So surrender the hunger to save us now
And The courage to say I believe 

For the power of paradox opens your eyes
And blinds those who say they can see 

So we follow God's own Fool
For only the foolish can tell
Believe the unbelievable, come be a fool as well

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