Pope Francis as evangelical?

In our continuing effort to try to figure out the new Pope of Rome–is he a liberal? a traditionalist?  a traditionalist acting liberal?–another possibility has presented itself:  Is he evangelical?  (Not “an evangelical,” but evangelical in the sense of stressing the Gospel–grace, Christ, the Word of God–more than the typical Roman Catholic pontiff?)

From a communication with Paul McCain, posted with his permission:

Each morning Pope Francis says mass and does something previous popes have not done, at least in recent memory, he preaches a sermon. He conducts mass in a common chapel at the Vatican, not in his own “private chapel.”

I have been following his sermons since he took office and have been struck continually by two things: He preaches on the Biblical text. He preaches as if he actually believes the Bible (shock!) and his sermons are usually very Jesus/Christ focused.

Here is a summary with quotes from his sermon today. Obviously, the media will not report this “controversial” sermon:

“One man created sin, Francis explained, and one man saved us”. God is close, he is close to our history. From the very first moment when he chose our father, Abraham, he walked with His people. And Jesus himself – he said – had a craftsman’s job:a worker who uses his hands. The image that comes to mind – the Pope continued – is that of a nurse in a hospital who heals our wounds, one at a time. Just like God – he explained – who gets involved, who meddles in our miseries, He gets close to our wounds and heals them with his hands. And to actually have hands – he continued – He became man. So God saves us not only by decree: “He saves us with tenderness and with caresses. He saves us with His life for us.”

And then Pope Francis spoke of “abundance”. Where sins abound – he said – grace abounds. Each of us knows his miseries and knows how they abound. But God’s challenge is to defeat them and heal the wounds as Jesus did with His superabundance of grace and love. And Francis pointed out that although some do not like to admit it: those who are closest to the heart of Jesus are sinners, because He goes to look for them, calls them and heals them, while those who are in good health do not need a doctor: “ I have come to heal, to save.”

The Pope concluded his homily reflecting on how some saints say that one of the ugliest sins is distrust: distrust in God. “But how can we be wary of a God who is so close, so good, who prefers the sinful heart ?” . This mystery – he said – is not easy to understand with intelligence, but with the help of these three words: “contemplation, proximity and abundance” because God “always wins with the superabundance of his grace, with His tenderness “, with His wealth of mercy.”

Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/10/22/pope:_god_meddles_with_our_lives_and_heals_our_wounds/en1-739604
of the Vatican Radio website



About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.


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