Pope Francis Credits Nun with Saving His Life

 

Like every pope before him, Pope Francis brings his own history to the Papacy.

Pope John Paul II was deeply influenced by his experiences living under the Nazis and then the Communists. Pope Benedict XVI was influenced by his academic background as well as growing up under the Nazis and then living in a country divided into slave and free. These life experiences added human understanding and dimension to the way they lived their office.

Pope Francis comes from, as he said, “the ends of the earth,” which is to say a world far removed from the Europe of the mid-twentieth century. But like these two men, he has faced unjust governments. He has also pastored people who live in abysmal poverty, in a land where children of the poor search through dumps for the means of survival while the extremely wealthy live in a separate and rarified world.

One of the most powerful formative experiences of his life must have been the illness that cost him a lung. The book I Foretti di Papa Francisco, reveals that the Holy Father credits a nun who ignored doctor’s orders and increased his dosage of antibiotics with saving his life.

It’s a powerful story that tells us a lot about this holy man.

From The Telegraph:

In a new book, I Fioretti di Papa Francesco, (The Little Flowers of Pope Francis), Andrea Tornielli, a veteran Vatican journalist, the pontiff speaks of his gratitude to the nuns who worked in the hospital where he was ill as a young man.

“I am alive thanks to one of them,” Pope Francis said. “When I had lung problems in the hospital, the doctor gave me penicillin and antibiotics in small doses.

“The nun who was on the ward tripled that because she had an intuition, she knew what to do, because she was with the ill all day long,” the pope said.

“The doctor, who was very good, spent his time in a laboratory, but the nun was living on the front line and talking with those on the front line every day.”

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Defenders Describe Attack on Argentine Cathedral as “Satanic, Part of an Anti-Christian World Revolution”

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I thought when I began work on this post that I would have a lot to say. But the more I read, the less I understood.

My first thought was that the nudity of some of the women protesters might link the riot in the video above to the activities of Fenem in Europe. That may be true, but I can’t find anything that says one way or the other.

Fenem is a small group of young women who began their activities in the Ukraine and have since moved to Paris. They show up nude from the waist up at various public events, and are known for doing outlandish things such as tossing water in an Archbishop’s face and urinating on photos of the Ukrainian president.

I’ve looked at their website and their Facebook page and I can’t find anything that explains what they are doing. If they have a manifesto or a philosophy or even a set of demands, I can’t find them. On the other hand, I did find a listing of things they oppose on Wikipedia, and I have to admit, I agree with them about some of these things.

According to Wikipedia, Fenem began in the Ukraine under the leadership of Anna Hutsol. The group opposes legalizing prostitution, sex tourism and human trafficking. These are all things where I agree with them.

Fenem is also evidently pro abortion and strongly in favor of gay rights, although I am not sure what particular form this support of gay rights takes.

I don’t have any idea what the point of stripping to the waist and tossing water in people’s faces is about. I do get the message in urinating on the president of the Ukraine’s photo. I’m just think there are better, more effective and less vulgar ways to make the statement.

Does Fenem have any connection to the riot in the video at the top of this post? I don’t know.

I haven’t had much luck finding press coverage of the incident recorded in the video. According to the articles I did find, the rioters gathered for the National Meeting of Women in San Juan de Cuyo, Argentina. Evidently, this group has a history of these kinds of “excesses” which have been documented in other videos.

Prior to the attack on the Cathedral, the rioters marched through the city, painting anti-Catholic slogans such as “burn the churches” or “set fire to the churches” on signs and homes. They then moved to attack the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, which, based on the things they were painting on signs and buildings, they probably intended to burn.

Some of the female rioters stripped to the waist, but the rioters were not just women. It also wasn’t a feminist demonstration, at least not as I would think of it. While Fenem does at least talk about legitimate feminist concerns such as human trafficking, sex tourism and prostitution, this group of about 1500 men and women seems to have been focused almost entirely on attacking the Church. The only issues raised that I read anything about were homosexuality, gay marriage and abortion.

However the real issue appears to have been the Church itself.

After tormenting and degrading what appear to be mostly young men who formed a human chain to protect their church, the rioters burned Pope Francis in effigy, dancing around it while it burned. Local law enforcement refused to protect the Cathedral or interfere with the vandalism.

I can hear the young men on the video, praying the Rosary while they are being attacked. I think we owe these young men a great debt. I am proud of their courageous and non-violent defense of my faith. We should be grateful to them.

I imagine they will have bad dreams about this for long time. Many of them described the experience afterwards as a “satanic attack, with demonic figures” and as “part of an anti-Christian world revolution.”

“I think that this goes beyond religious discrimination,” Bishop Juan Martinez of Posadas said. “If this had been done to a synagogue, everyone would have condemned it as anti-Semitism. They do this against Catholics and many people look the other way.”

This is a new kind of movement, in that it does not appear to have any real purpose or plan. I saw spiritually sick people in that video. It was disturbing on many levels to watch it.

I think the world needs Christ and that, whatever else we eventually decide about all this, our call to evangelize is appallingly clear.

Sources: Wikipedia, Catholic News Agency, TFP Student Action, Protect the Pope, Women of Grace

 

 

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I am Hooked on Pope Francis

Maybe it’s my working-class, slum-school background.

Maybe it’s long years of representing a district where, more times than not, I’m the only white person and the only college-educated person at the table.

I dunno exactly what it is.

But I am hooked on Pope Francis. Red shoes, black shoes, no shoes, it doesn’t matter a bit to me. He’s my pope. I love that he’s from this hemisphere. I love that he’s Argentinian. I love that he was so sick as a young person that he lost a lung and probably learned about suffering at an early age. I love, love, love that he talks about the poor, the disenfranchised, the least of these.

I take inspiration from his strong pro life stance. I find courage in the way, as cardinal, he defended traditional marriage. I even like the fact that the President of Argentina had the temerity to publicly chastise Cardinal Bergoglio for standing for Church teaching. It makes me hope that he “gets” it, that perhaps he has some idea of what life is like down here in the pits with the rest of us.

I don’t think that God has given us a hot house plant pope who doesn’t have the first clue what the rest of us are about. This immigrant son of a railway worker probably “gets” it and “gets” us, including the us that is so afraid of him and what he’s saying.

It’s taken me days to come up with a theory for why some people are so disturbed about what I see as the niggely little things this man has changed. I think — and I want to emphasize that this is just me, saying what I kinda think today — I think that they don’t “get” it.

The world is a butcher shop.

Let me say that again.

The world is a butcher shop.

The world is cruel, unjust and indifferent.

More and more, people live in their little silos of existence and actively do their best to shelter themselves from experiencing what life is like for anyone else. Here in this country, we have “super zip codes” of wealth and privilege where like-thinking, self-congratulating scions of the new upper class congregate and become more ingrown and arrogant with each passing day. These are the people who have been to the “right” schools and trained to think in the “right” way.

Meanwhile, the world is a hope-killig butcher shop.

Without hope, people die inside. And when the world is a butcher shop, hope is a fragile plant starved for the sunlight.

This man, this good man, who is our new pope seems to understand this. He seems to know that hopelessness breeds every kind of evil and destruction and that hopelessness is the gift we’ve bestowed on untold millions of people all around the globe.

No wonder he makes some people uncomfortable. The Gospel message is like that. It discomfits the haves, the self-congratulatory, the smug every single time.

Commenters on this blog have reminded me that the red of the red shoes signifies the blood of the martyrs, the willingness on the part of the pope who wears them to be a martyr. Fine. I have no quarrel with that. If Pope Francis takes to wearing red shoes in the next few weeks, it’s ok by me.

But we don’t need shoes to signify the blood of the martyrs. The blood of the martyrs is soaking into the ground of Nigeria right now as we speak. The blood of the martyrs flowed through the tubes attached to the vacuums in the abortion clinics while I was typing this sentence. The blood of the martyrs stains the pavement in India and the prison floors in Pakistan.

We don’t — or we shouldn’t — need shoes to remind us of that.

Without hope, people don’t die, their souls do. We live in a hope-stealing, soul-sucking world that devastates millions of its inhabitants from the inside out.

But the message of Christ is hope. It is impossible for anyone who truly understands the great dignity they hold as a child of God, who knows the free gift of eternal life, to be bereft of hope. Our hope is universal and eternal.

That is the beginning of real change. That is the message that leavens societies from the bottom up rather than the top down.

Perhaps what disturbs some people about Pope Francis is that, when you’re safe, fed and fat, living in your plush silo of privilege, the Gospel message isn’t a comfort. It’s a challenge. Maybe people who have been taught to think in narrow, self-congratulatory ways are both frightened and angered by challenges of this sort.

The Gospel of Christ offers everything there is to anyone who will say yes. But it asks everything you have in return. The world is a butcher shop because so many of us have failed to follow through on that Gospel challenge with Gospel living that transcends our self-made silos and projects us into the uncomfortable world of being our brothers’ and our sisters’ keepers.

Pope Francis is scary because there’s the fear, not of black shoes, but the Gospel message and the call to conversion that lie behind the black shoes.

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The Lord Loves Us So Much, He Gave Us This Immense Gift

“The Lord loves us so much, He gave us this immense gift.”

That’s how retired Cardinal Estanisiao Karlic of Argentina describes the election of his friend, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to the Papacy.

Cardinal Karlic says that Pope Francis “carries in his heart the message of the Gospel so that it be spread throughout the world and received by all men and women, that it may infuse in us a missionary and evangelical spirit, to the ends of the earth, such that there be no place in the world where the name of Jesus is not heard.”

 

The Holy Father “is a very simple man” who is “capable of confronting the simplest and also the most complex of issues,” Cardinal Karlic continued.

“He is a man of reflection who puts his wisdom into action. He did so first in leading the Jesuits, later in the Diocese of Buenos Aires, and now in leading the Church as the Supreme Pontiff.”

.- The retired cardinal of Parana, Argentina, described his friend Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio – now Pope Francis – as an able pastor with the heart of a missionary.

In an interview with CNA, Cardinal Estanislao Esteban Karlic said it was a “huge surprise” to see his friend appear on the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica dressed in white.

“The Lord loves us so much, he gave us this immense gift.”

“I pray to God that I will not forget that moment so that I can thank him and so that I can pray for our beloved brother Jorge whom we will now call Francis,” the cardinal said.

Cardinal Karlic said Pope Francis will help everyone “understand once again that we all have something to give to others, we all have something to receive from others.”

This is true, he said, “because the truth of God, of the Church, of humanity, is communion among those who love each other as brothers and sisters, as individuals, as families, as nations.”

The Holy Father “is a very simple man” who is “capable of confronting the simplest and also the most complex of issues,” Cardinal Karlic continued.

“He is a man of reflection who puts his wisdom into action. He did so first in leading the Jesuits, later in the Diocese of Buenos Aires, and now in leading the Church as the Supreme Pontiff.” (Read the rest here.)

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Pope Francis I: Powerfully Pro Life

Pundits who were pushing for a pope who would abandon 2,000 years of Catholic teaching and go chasing after the moral fashions of the world will probably be disappointed in Pope Francis I.

The new Holy Father has a decades-long record of supporting the sanctity of human life, traditional marriage and the Gospel support of the poor. For instance, he called abortion a “death penalty” for unborn children in a 2007 speech.

The LifeNews.com article describing this says in part:

The archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio … once called abortion a “death sentence” for unborn children, during a 2007 speech and likening opposition to abortion to opposition to the death penalty.

In an October 2, 2007 speech Bergoglio said that “we aren’t in agreement with the death penalty,” but “in Argentina we have the death penalty.  A child conceived by the rape of a mentally ill or retarded woman can be condemned to death.” …

… The remarks came during the presentation of a document called the Aparecida Document, a joint statement of the bishops of Latin America.

The new pontiff also denounced euthanasia and assisted suicide, calling it a “culture of discarding” the elderly. (Read the rest here.)

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