Pope Francis I: Takes the Bus, Supports the Poor, A Stalwart Battler for Life, Traditional Marriage and Evangelization

Our new Holy Father chose to live in a simple apartment rather than the archbishop’s palace when he was Cardinal Bergoglio. He also cooked his own meals and took a bus to work instead of using his chauffeured limousine. 

This son of a railway worker has four brothers and sisters. He wanted to be a chemist and has a degree in chemistry. But God intervened in this plan and he entered the Society of Jesus instead. He is an intellectual who studied theology in Germany and who defended the poor in Argentina’s economic crises of a few years ago.

During the military junta in Argentina, Father Bergoglio worked in the position he had then as head of a seminary to oppose the so-called “liberation theology” and insist on what an article for the National Catholic Reporter called a more traditional reading of Ignatian spirituality, mandating that Jesuits continue to staff parishes and act as chaplains rather than moving into ‘base communities’ and political activism.

He is unwavering in his support of traditional Catholic teaching on abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception. At the same time, he has dealt compassionately with victims of HIV-AIDS, going so far as to visit a hospice and kiss and wash the feet of AIDS patients. In September 2012, he accused priests who refuse to baptize children born out of wedlock of a form of “rigorous and hypocritical neo-clericalism.”

Here are a few comments Pope Francis I has made:

  • Only someone who has encountered mercy, who has been caressed by the tenderness of mercy, is happy and comfortable with the Lord.” 
  • … if the Church remains closed in on itself, self-referential, it gets old. 
  • On the Unjust Distribution of Goods The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many.
  • On baptizing children born out of wedlock In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don’t baptize the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage. These are today’s hypocrites. Those who clericalize the Church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl, who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it’s baptized!
  • On Evangelization Jesus teaches us another way. Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit. 
  • On Abortion We should commit ourselves to ‘eucharistic coherence,’ that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive holy communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortion, euthanasia and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. The responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors and health professionals. 
  • On the death penalty We aren’t in agreement with the death penalty.
  • On gay marriage Let us not be naive, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.

For sources, check here, here, here and here.

  • Terry

    Thanks, Rebecca. We got the Pope we need, thankfully not the Pope we deserve. Have you seen the picture of Cardinal Bertoglio kissing the feet of a little boy who, I’m guessing has AIDS? It’s on my blog:
    http://8kidsandabusiness.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/servant-of-the-servants-of-god/ I love this guy!

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I hadn’t seen the photo until just now. It’s beautiful Terry! Yes, we got the pope we need.

  • William T

    The pope we need? We got the pope we got, and he will have his impact on the Church. Pope John Paul will be remembered as the pope who refused to die. Presiding over the Church during his endless journey of phyisical and mental deterioration, was Cardinal Ratzinger. Thanks to that agonizing lesson, he became the first pope to resign, thus sparing the Church the agony of the long, long farewell. Probably a hundred years from now, history will say Pope Benedict had a much larger impact on the life of the Church than his charismatic predecessor. Now I wait, full of curiosity, to see what happens with Pope Francis. I like the name and the humble way he addressed and blessed the people. I hope I live long enough to begin to see his impact.

    • Theodore Seeber

      Why would Pope John Paul I be remembered as the Pope who refused to die? He was only in office for 33 days!

  • Bill S

    “He is unwavering in his support of traditional Catholic teaching on abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception.”

    That’s just ducky. I won’t say what my iPhone tried to change “ducky” to. But that too.

    “On gay marriage
    Let us not be naive, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

    I can only imagine how out of touch Catholics will be with the rest of the world by the end of this papacy.

    • Theodore Seeber

      Given how incredibly bad the world has gotten at hating pregnant women and children, I can only hope that you are right, Bill.

  • pagansister

    Am happy to see he is unhappy with those priests that refuse to baptize children of unwed mothers. However, I am not surprised to see that he won’t change any of the Church’s outlooks on ABC, SSM, abortion etc. I am assuming here, but he probably won’t change the views on women priests or marriage of priests either. Have wondered sometimes with the acceptance of married priests from other faiths, (Episcopal , Anglican) how the Church can continue to justify not allowing their priests to marry. With many if not a majority of the Cardinals having been appointed by the previous popes, I wasn’t expecting a more liberal pope to be elected.

    • Theodore Seeber

      I’m not so sure on the married priests bit- celibacy is after all, discipline, not dogma.

      The rest, I celebrate his conservativism on. Because I see no hope at all in a world dominated by a bunch of old liberal hippie pagans who think that pregnancy is a worse violence than domestic abuse.

      • Bill S

        “I see no hope at all in a world dominated by a bunch of old liberal hippie pagans who think that pregnancy is a worse violence than domestic abuse.”

        Back in the Clinton administration, there may have been a few old liberal ex-hippies running things. But, I think our time has passed. Obama is closer to your generation than mine. I am only against unwanted pregnancies, not all pregnancies. I advocate family planning as opposed to leaving things to chance, which in my opinion, can contribute to a cycle of domestic abuse and leave women hostages to their husbands who can abuse them because they have no way out. I am not an expert on domestic violence, but it seems to me that the more a woman keeps popping out kids, the more dependent she is on her husband and the harder it would be for her to get out of an abusive situation.

      • Savio Sequeira

        Celibacy is mandatory for everyone aspiring to be a Catholic Priest. Any one with a true calling (to the priesthood) ought to find out what is the requirement to be a catholic priest.
        Why is it that we now hear calls or read about demands made, for catholic priests to be allowed to marry. It is an irrational and totally absurd demand because no force or coercion is used on any one to become a catholic priest . It is absolutely voluntary.
        Who are the people making this demand and why? Did these people truly discern GOD’s call to become workers in HIS vineyard or were they just driven by their feelings ? The latter seems to be the case. If there was indeed GOD’s call to become a priest and having become one, if later on this urge to also be married has cropped up, one can conclude that the master deceiver (devil) is very much at work here. It is only through prayer and prayer alone that we can drive out or keep the devil at bay.
        Unfortunately, nowadays very little time is spent in prayer, as we are all too busy doing other things, hence the frequent attacks from the devil.
        We ought to introspect and find out whether what we are doing is pleasing or acceptable to GOD or are we only doing what we like to do (and presume it is pleasing/ acceptable to GOD’).
        GOD Bless.
        Savio

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Savio, one thing I’ve noticed is that with a few exceptions these demands are not coming from either priests or even people who are Catholic. Most of those who are raising this demand are people who criticize the Church as part of their professional identity.

          • pagansister

            Rebecca, I was wondering, as I mentioned above, now that there are married priests from other faiths who have converted to the Church, who came with their families, how does that affect the priesthood? If the converts to the faith can function as priests, and have families, how is it that others can’t? Just an observation, and a question—-I know the rules/tradition doesn’t allow it at this time.

            • Rebecca Hamilton

              My understanding is that it doesn’t affect the priesthood. However, I don’t know much about this. Maybe someone else an give a more complete answer.

  • Bill S

    “If there was indeed GOD’s call to become a priest and having become one, if later on this urge to also be married has cropped up, one can conclude that the master deceiver (devil) is very much at work here. It is only through prayer and prayer alone that we can drive out or keep the devil at bay.”

    Come again? A priest deciding that he wants to get married is the work of the devil? What if he just gets sick of a life with zero sexual gratification and chooses to enjoy life for a change. What is so terrible about that?


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