Latest Update Pope Francis- In Flight Press Conversations and Deciding Where to Put Those Holiday Souvenirs

As a follow up to this post, people may find this radio 
programme I was listening to this morning with Padraig O'Tuma of interest. I don't know it it works outside UK but you can try. It's here on listenback - starts at about 40 minutes in.
BBC Radio Ulster - Talkback, 30/07/2013

From the future of the Vatican bank to the role of women in the Church, from Vatileaks, on divorce, and to the highlights of his pontificate so far: on the flight back from Brazil to Rome Pope Francis gave journalists free rein to ask questions about the Church and about his own challenges as successor of St Peter.

Here's 7 minutes from an 80 minute interview on the plane.
Update : Andrew Sullivan's comments on it here are worth pondering too.

That's all I could find until I read this from Rocco Palmo at Whispers in The Loggia 

"So far, the closest thing we've reliably got on that front is 16 of the exchanges transcribed in Spanish by Elisabetta Piqué, the veteran Bergoglio-watcher of La Nación, Argentina's daily of record – a figure close enough to Francis to swap the customary besos with the Pope before her turn at the Q&A.

UPDATE - Please read the rest of Rocco Palmo's article here, which has the text of another awesome address by Pope Francis to his Bishops before leaving Brazil.

  Rocco prefaces it with these comments...
"Even if it's needless to say for the more savvy of this crowd, much as any inference of a Pope's talking the "culture wars" of the secular West will get tongues wagging in the wider (well, mostly English-speaking) space, it apparently bears reminding for some that Francis is infinitely more focused on and invested in the cultural war he's taken to marshaling within the church's own walls

Rocco says "the following text rounds out the most substantive programmatic guide yet to this brave new pontificate.
Accordingly, echoing the assessment of others, as one friend said on having read yesterday's talk, "it may cause heart failure" in certain quarters..."

Yet  Pope Francis' remark below has been the most prominently reported in today's social media..

 "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"

Pope Francis quote ; you can read the context in which he said it reported here in the New York Times- "Pope Says He Will Not Judge Gay Priests" July 29, 2013.
and the article in the USA National Catholic Reporter here  and the Catholic News Service report here.

Needless to say the media is awash with commentary and speculation.
As it's a hot topic issue, I've picked a few varied responses including a few from blogging friends.
  Jack Jenkins at Think Progress here
New Ways Ministry report here
Bondings report here
William Lindsey at Bilgrimage here  
Sue Malone Hayes writes from a broad angle on Pope Francis here.
 and a succinct response from Thom Curnutte at Faith in The 21st Century here.
Worth mentioning that with respect to the priesthood, any sexual activity regardless of orientation is breaking the vow of celibacy so discussions on orientation v acts is important and that's the issue where the dialogue and listening needs to take place in our parishes.

The Pope also told reporters that while Pope John Paul II had definitively closed the door to female priests, he is very willing for the church to look at a more expansive “theology of women” and a greater role for them inside Catholic life, according to this article in the National Catholic Reporter.

Interesting article here from  Senior Religion Editor, at The Huffington Post, and he makes some valid points but I'm not sure that it matters a hoot whether Christianity is "cool" or not. In fact I would find it disconcerting if I ever felt completely "cool" as a Christian, not that I have morbid desires to be eaten by lions, but the reality is that for many Christians in this world, the simple act of going to church or witnessing to their faith in public carries a real threat to their life. What matters is whether Christians seek, speak and search for the truth and that often takes Christians to some very "uncool places."
Watch this space !! 

Finally one of the reasons I love this remarkable Pope is his ability to just be himself in the low key and often humorous way he manages to move at ease with spontaneity and joy amidst the blaze of media publicity and exposure surrounding his every move and utterance.

Here he is, just like anyone, bringing home some souvenirs and gifts from his trip abroad, and carefully putting them in a special place in his home - never mind the fact that he has just been the focal pastor amongst 3 million pilgrims and that part of his home just happens to be in the basilica of St Peter's in Rome. Thanks to Shane for pointing out that the building is in fact, the basilica of St Mary Major so he was offering the gifts to his Mother with prayers of thanksgiving for the success of World Youth Day.

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