Tuesday, April 12, 2016

radical Pope Francis is more radical than your political radical

So argues Kathryn Lopez and she's exactly right.  Lopez:


Mercy. Mercy. Mercy!
It seems all Pope Francis is capable of talking about, whatever the issue.
Then Bernie Sanders announces the pope’s more radical than he is on Morning Joe on MSNBC Friday morning, and that seems to drive the story line where hopes and dreams and Rolling Stone covers are invested in the Holy Father up-hauling Church doctrine and announcing one day soon same-sex marriage and any-/every-thing else is A-Okay.
That didn’t happen, of course, in “The Joy of Love,” released Friday from Pope Francis… and don’t miss the joy and the love in the frenzy of sound bytes and commentary.
But Sanders is right. Pope Francis is more radical than the socialist senator from Vermont. He’s radical in the ways of the Gospel.
How about that?  Even Sanders recognizes Pope Francis' challenge to world comes from sources far deeper and broader than anything Sanders himself use or references.  More Lopez:
I like to call Pope Francis the Jesuit spiritual director for the world. Of course, the problem with doing that is it unintentionally encourages all types of recycled Jesuit jokes.
Why I do it anyway is he is often a Jesuit at his best—making use of the great gift of St. Ignatius Loyola, his Spiritual Exercises. If you listen to Francis – especially in his daily Mass homilies at Santa Marta – you hear a good shepherd guiding the people of God in an examination of conscience.
I can’t remember a time where he didn’t call me out on something I needed to be called out on. He draws you deeper into prayer.
You often hear his prayers, which are so often focused deep on the suffering of those who are most overlooked, ignored, cast aside, and forgotten. And, yes, that includes the impoverished, the sick, the prisoner, and those vulnerable and seen as disposable often under false and confused banners of mercy and freedom and flourishing.
After relating stories involving Mother Angelica's legacy, including the role her television ministry played in the reversion of a popular male model, Lopez add this:
Pope Francis wants everyone to encounter this. He doesn’t want to excuse sins he wants to unite sinners in that sacrament of mercy, the one we have been known to hide from – or even, implausibly, feel excluded from. He wants to lead people to the sacramental waters. He wants them to be renewed in Christ.
That road isn’t always going to be simple. Ours is a culture that has long affirmed and encouraged sin – even in the Church. Ours is a Church whose moral authority is not seen as scandals have exposed such rot within its ranks of men, obscuring the often hidden and unappreciated holy, saintly ones.
It’s a Church, too, with leaders and members who found themselves living as chameleons and turtles, as Harvard Law professor and former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Mary Ann Glendon has put it –either blending in with the culture or ducking for cover, privatizing our faith.
Thanks be to God for a Holy Father who knows the Holy Spirit.
Lopez hits the nail right on the head.  Pope Francis's pursuit of mercy--for himself, for the Church, and for the world itself--cuts through miles of earthly obstruction to the roots of the Christian gospel itself.  And that root is mercy--which God shows us first.  After years of reflection, I've started to explain the Lord's Prayer to my students as an ethical blueprint.  After invoking the coming of God's kingdom--surely no light, breezy request--we then ask God to grant us our daily bread and forgive us as we forgive others.  In other words, those experiences of giftedness and mercy come as experiences of God's kingdom.  Pope Francis knows this--and that's a far more radical revolution than any political platform.

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