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The field hospital is open: reflections on Pope Francis’ interview

October 02, 2013
 
By Father Robert Barron
 
By Father Robert Barron *

As by now everyone in the world knows, Pope Francis offered a lengthy and wide-ranging interview to the editor of Civilta Cattolica, which was subsequently published in sixteen Jesuit-sponsored journals from a variety of countries. As we’ve come to expect practically anytime that this Pope speaks, the interview has provoked a media frenzy. To judge by the headlines in The New York Times and on CNN, the Catholic Church is in the midst of a moral and doctrinal revolution, led by a maverick Pope bent on dragging the old institution into the modern world. I might recommend that everyone take a deep breath and prayerfully (or at least thoughtfully) read what Pope Francis actually said. For what he actually said is beautiful, lyrical, spirit-filled, and in its own distinctive way, revolutionary.

The first question to which the Pope responded in this interview as simple: “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio (his given name)?” After a substantial pause, he said, “a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon.” At the heart of the matter, at the core of the “Catholic thing,” is this encounter between us sinners and the God of amazing grace. Long before we get to social teaching, to debates about birth control and abortion, to adjudicating questions about homosexual activity, to disputes about liturgy, etc., we have the graced moment when sinners are accepted, even though they are unacceptable. Pope Francis aptly illustrated his observation by drawing attention to Caravaggio’s masterpiece, “The Conversion of St. Matthew,” which depicts the instant when Matthew, a thoroughly self-absorbed and materialistic man, found himself looked upon by Christ’s merciful gaze. Because of that look, Matthew utterly changed, becoming first a disciple, then a missionary, and finally a martyr.

I believe that this first answer given by Pope Francis provides the interpretive lens for reading the rest of the interview. He is confessing to be a sinner who has found grace and conversion and who has thereby been transformed into a missionary. On the basis of that master insight, he is able to survey both Church and society with astonishing clarity and serenity. One of the most commented upon remarks in the interview is the following: “This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people.” What the Pope is signaling here is that the Church, as his predecessor Paul VI put it, doesn’t have a mission; it is a mission, for its purpose is to cause the merciful face of Jesus to gaze upon everyone in the world. It is not an exclusive club where only the morally perfect are welcome, but rather, a home for sinners, which means a home for everybody.

And this insight provides the right context for understanding another controversial remark from the interview: “The Church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you.”

Read the rest here:  http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/column.php?n=2692

Father Robert Barron is the founder of the global ministry, Word on Fire, and is the Rector/President of Mundelein Seminary near Chicago. He is the creator of the documentary series, “Catholicism,” airing on PBS stations and EWTN. The documentary has been awarded an esteemed Christopher for excellence. Learn more about the series at www.CatholicismSeries.com

Study: Thousands of Taxpayer-Funded Abortions Part of Obamacare

Tax dollars will subsidize health plans for tens of thousands of annual abortions, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute.


National Catholic Register
0/022013
opa.ca.gov
Doctor and patient
– opa.ca.gov
 

WASHINGTON — Federal taxpayer funds could end up subsidizing tens of thousands of abortions each year through the health-care legislation that is going into effect, according to a new study.

“The issue of whether the Affordable Care Act creates streams of taxpayer funding for abortion has been hotly debated,” said Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute. “Research done by the Lozier Institute makes clear that, through the multistate plans alone, Americans will be complicit in the deaths of thousands of unborn children each year through their tax dollars.”

The Lozier Institute is the education and research arm of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. Its report examines the Affordable Care Act’s multistate plans, which are present on the new health-insurance exchanges.

The institute estimates federal taxpayers will heavily subsidize between 71,000 and 111,500 abortions per year through federal premium tax credits and Medicaid expansion for subscribers to plans that cover abortion.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/study-thousands-of-taxpayer-funded-abortions-part-of-obamacare?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register#When:2013-10-2%2014:06:01#ixzz2gg6oAgt6

26 campus ‘safe houses’ will help protect atheists from religion

Secularist students are given refuge from the omnipresence of Christians

By Ted Byfield Oct 3, 2013
The Christians

Students at an atheist Reason Rally in Washington.
Students at an atheist Reason Rally in Washington.

                          

America’s atheists had some heartening news this week for America’s Christians. Jesse Galef, spokesman for a national organization called the Secular Student Alliance, announced that “Christianity is so prevalent” on U.S. campuses that atheist students need refuges – what he calls “secular safe zones” – to protect themselves against it. Such zones have now been established on 26 American campuses, he said.

The safe zones are rooms or areas set aside specifically for nonreligious students, “where they can help build community, foster service projects and educate individuals about atheism.”Atheists now see themselves as victims. They cite a 2006 University of Minnesota survey showing they face prejudice and distrust. It found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants and gays. Few Americans would let their child marry an atheist.

Atheism takes some really determined believing



Those pernicious Christians are everywhere.
Those pernicious Christians are everywhere.

Now it is hardly surprising that the atheist needs a refuge, not only from Christianity but from the galling evidence presented by life itself. It is a challenging faith. An atheist must believe that by chance something hit our sun or otherwise happened to place our planet at precisely a position where liquid water could exist; a tiny fraction closer or farther away from the sun and it could not. By a million further astounding chances, life appeared. Then by an even more amazing chain of additional coincidences, that life turned into creatures like us and the vast multitude of species we see around us. All by pure chance. Doubts must continually assail such believers. They need a place to be alone, to restore their spirits, safe from the bullying world without and the gnawing uncertainties within – a kind of chapel or monastery where they can have the advantage of mutual reassurance. 

Read the rest at:
http://thechristians.com/?q=node/702&utm_source=The+Christians+Book+Buyers&utm_campaign=ce22a6b2f5-TCH-Issue0127-BB&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e2d8bf6d30-ce22a6b2f5-57142977

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – October 2, 2013

Talking about the “things that matter most” on October 2

4:00 – Kresta Comments

4:20 – Understanding Pope Francis
Following up on the Pope’s two most recent interviews in America Magazine and La Repubblica, we talk to Ed Echeverria, a professor of Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary about what he sees as 3 categories of Pope Francis’ comments: 1) obscure, 2) perplexing, and, yes, 3) troubling. We do this all through the light of Francis’ Encyclical, Lumen Fidei.

5:00 – Kresta Comments

5:20 –  Lift Jesus Higher: A Day of Evangelization
Lift Jesus Higher . . .Blessed John Paul II proclaimed, “Be open to Christ, welcome the Spirit, so that a New Pentecost can take place in every community! A new humanity, a joyful one, will arise from your midst; you will again experience the saving power of the Lord and ‘what was spoken to you by the Lord’ will be fulfilled.” Renewal Ministries’ “Lift Jesus Higher” is a response of the urgent call by Blessed John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis for a New Evangelization. It is a place to encounter the living Jesus Christ and an encouragement to open your hearts to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, and the grace of a New Pentecost. Peter and Debbie Herbeck of Renewal Ministries are here to talk about evangelization in the New Evangelization.

Women Want Romance and Men Want Sex, Right? Not So Fast…

It has been a truism in both secular and Christian culture that “women want romance and men want sex” or “women give sex to get love and men give love to get sex.”  I have always HATED these sentiments because, although I know they ring true for many they have NEVER rung true for me.  [Read More...]

The Married Guide to Surviving and Thriving over the Holidays

Patheos Book Club is featuring Lisa’s and my new book, Just Married: The Catholic Guide to  Surviving and Thriving in the First Five Years of Marriage.   They asked us to write a piece that could help couples at every stage of the marital journey make it through the holidays in one piece.  Check it out! Staying Married through the Holidays: Mission…Possible? Before [Read More...]

Missing the Evangelical Point: Our Impoverished Reception of the Pope’s Words

1st Oct 2013         

See more at: http://prolife.org.uk/2013/09/repentant-abortionist-lays-surgical-instruments-feet-pope/#sthash.2NCS1ypU.dpuf

The Pope: how the Church will change

 

The Pope: how the Church will change
Pope Francis (ap)
Dialogue between Francis and La Repubblica’s founder, Eugenio Scalfari: “Starting from the Second Vatican Council, open to modern culture”. The conversation in the Vatican after the Pope’s letter to La Repubblica: “Convert you? Proselytism is solemn nonsense. You have to meet people and listen to them.”
 

by EUGENIO SCALFARI

Pope Francis told me: “The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old. The old need care and companionship; the young need work and hope but have neither one nor the other, and the problem is they don’t even look for them any more. They have been crushed by the present. You tell me: can you live crushed under the weight of the present? Without a memory of the past and without the desire to look ahead to the future by building something, a future, a family? Can you go on like this? This, to me, is the most urgent problem that the Church is facing.”

Your Holiness, I say, it is largely a political and economic problem for states, governments, political parties, trade unions.“Yes, you are right, but it also concerns the Church, in fact, particularly the Church because this situation does not hurt only bodies but also souls. The Church must feel responsible for both souls and bodies.”

Your Holiness, you say that the Church must feel responsible. Should I conclude that the Church is not aware of this problem and that you will steer it in this direction?“To a large extent that awareness is there, but not sufficiently. I want it to be more so. It is not the only problem that we face, but it is the most urgent and the most dramatic.”

The meeting with Pope Francis took place last Tuesday at his home in Santa Marta, in a small bare room with a table and five or six chairs and a painting on the wall. It had been preceded by a phone call I will never forget as long as I live.
It was half past two in the afternoon. My phone rings and in a somewhat shaky voice my secretary tells me: “I have the Pope on the line. I’ll put him through immediately.”

I was still stunned when I heard the voice of His Holiness on the other end of a the line saying, “Hello, this is Pope Francis.” “Hello Your Holiness”, I say and then, “I am shocked I did not expect you to call me.” “Why so surprised? You wrote me a letter asking to meet me in person. I had the same wish, so I’m calling to fix an appointment. Let me look at my diary: I can’t do Wednesday, nor Monday, would Tuesday suit you?”
I answer, that’s fine.
“The time is a little awkward, three in the afternoon, is that okay? Otherwise it’ll have to be another day.” Your Holiness, the time is fine. “So we agree: Tuesday 24 at 3 o’clock. At Santa Marta. You have to come into the door at the Sant’Uffizio.”

I don’t know how to end this call and let myself go, saying: “Can I embrace you by phone?” “Of course, a hug from me too. Then we will do it in person, goodbye.”

And here I am. The Pope comes in and shakes my hand, and we sit down. The Pope smiles and says: “Some of my colleagues who know you told me that you will try to convert me.”

Read the rest here: http://www.repubblica.it/cultura/2013/10/01/news/pope_s_conversation_with_scalfari_english-67643118/

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – October 1, 2013

Talking about the “things that matter most” on October 1

4:00 – 6:00 – The Pope Interview: Take 2
Pope Francis has again causes a sensation with a lengthy interview, telling the Italian daily La Repubblica that he will work toward a Church “that is not just top-down but also horizontal.” The interview—which appeared on the same day the Pope began consulting with the Council of Cardinals about possible Vatican reforms— ranged over the Pope’s hopes for the Church, his concerns about youth unemployment and neglect of the elderly, his favorite saints, and other topics. The interview was conducted by Eugenio Scalfari, the atheist founder of the left-leaning Repubblica. Earlier in September the newspaper had published a long letter from Pope Francis, responding to an editorial by Scalfari. Now, Scalfari reveals, the Pontiff followed up with a phone call, suggesting a meeting. That meeting, which took place last week at the Pope’s apartment in the Casa Sanctae Marthae, furnished the material for the interview. Scalfari opened the conversation by expressing some misgivings that the Pope might try to convert him. The Pope quickly put him at ease. “Proselytism is solemn nonsense,” he said. “We need to get to know each other.” In answer to a leading question about the problems facing the Church today, Pope Francis answered: “The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old.” We look at this most recent interview.

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