Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Pope Francis - What on Earth is he doing?

My purpose in these posts is to bring a variety of Christian and other writers in a desire to share significant writings that in my estimation contribute to the common good and directly or indirectly give glory to God and extend the Lord's work of salvation to all of humanity. G.S.


Christ is risen, alleluia!

There is so much controversy and confusion surrounding polemics around the pandemic and vaccines that it is hard to find the truth. I have read reliable testimony that many of the stem cells used in research were not from aborted babies at all but were taken ethically from ordinary people... all human beings have stem cells.... There are also innumerable other controversial issues surrounding Pope Francis that he really does merit a closer look and a great deal of reflection and introspection....

It is true to say that Pope Francis is, at first view, very confusing; that is, until we realize what it is that he is actually doing.

Jesus is a human being, now risen from the dead and at the Father's "right hand" in heaven. He is also the only-begotten Son of the Father, which makes Him infinitely rich, wonderful, deep, and attractive. No single pope could ever completely represent Him. Jesus seems to have been pleased to allow his chosen popes to represent "something" of Him in each generation....

Pope Pius XII represented Jesus in his scholarly, rabbinical dimension... among other things....

Pope John XXIII represented Jesus in his human, grandfatherly dimension, but also as a reformer... among other things....

Pope Paul VI represented Jesus in his thoughtful, prayerful dimension, and as a "man rejected"... among other things....

Pope John Paul I represented Jesus in his warm attractive dimension, and as one who died young... among other things....

Pope John Paul II represented Jesus in his outgoing missionary dimension, and as a bold lover of God... among other things....

Pope Benedict XVI represented Jesus in his authentic one-on-one dimension, and as brilliant teacher... among other things....

Pope Francis is representing Jesus in his fierce dedication to sinners, the poor, the outcasts, as a fearless reformer, and as a joyful man of peace close to the ordinary people... among other things....

All these wonderful popes have been gifts of God to his Church and to humanity, bringing nobility and profound qualities of humanity to be "put on display" before all of humanity. All of them have been authentic and faithful witnesses to Jesus, "the way, the truth, and the life", adhering closely to the Word of God, the Tradition of the Faith, and the teachings of the Magisterium. I would challenge anyone to prove any of these bishops of Rome as defaulting in any of these respects. Pope Francis, in particular, is probably one of the best formed of all these popes, having been schooled as he has in Saint Ignatius of Loyola's "Rules for the Discernment of Spirits".

If you are interested, Dear Reader, I would highly recommend as the absolute best biographer and "interpreter" of Pope Francis Austen Ivereigh, who has known him personally since the time he was a bishop in Argentina. He has published three authoritative "biographies" of Pope Francis:

2014 - "The Great Reformer" Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope

2019 "Wounded Shepherd" Pope Francis and His Struggle to Convert the Catholic Church

2020 "Let Us Dream" The Path to a Better Future - the author is actually Pope Francis because these are all his words, but Austen worked with the Holy Father in a close dialogue to help the Pope develop this text.

You know, my genuine impression is that Pope Francis is giving us a taste of exactly what it was like for people - religious leaders as well as ordinary people - when they encountered, saw, and heard Jesus. Jesus definitely comforted the disturbed and disturbed the comfortable, much as Mother Teresa and all the saints have done in every age.

Our western world definitely has a strong bias in favour of the wealthy, influential, and powerful, which explains why such a large segment of the world population is confined irremediably to the peripheries of life. It was exactly so in Jesus' day too. As Jesus put the sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers and other "undesirables" front and centre - and why the religious leaders ground their teeth at Him; so too does Pope Francis do this. This is the principal reason why he is so hated, misunderstood, and maligned worldwide, and especially in the U.S.A., the most favoured nation on Earth with one of the greatest gaps between the wealthy and powerful and the rest of society.

When in 2004 I was on a 4-month sabbatical in Chicago, at a market at a booth I met a representative of a sort of association representing what they call the "working poor". These are people who don't want welfare and hold 1 or 2 or 3 jobs but still can't afford proper health insurance. At that time they numbered 75 million, which was around 22% of the population. I was shocked to discovery that what we take for granted here, in Canada, as a normal family home and life - in the U.S.A. for a family to live as an ordinary family here lives - the couple both need professional salaries in the six figures. This is due to the high cost of health care, among other things, such as the high cost of legal fees. People are constantly at risk of being sued by some shark out to destroy them or seize their assets. Only the poor don't need to worry too much about lawyers, but if they get sick, then they lose their homes and they're out on the street, literally. Pope Francis preaches against financial and economic interests that treat people as disposable.

Pope Francis doesn't put people from the peripheries into the centre for political reasons or to make any points. He does it because Jesus did it and calls us to do the same. When I was in seminary, our professor for the mission of the Church told us that all of our Church history, the Magisterium, the Scriptures, Canon Law, and Jesus Himself all make the same point, namely, that we cannot "be Church" without all categories of the poor and discarded in our very midst, in the very centre of us. Without them, all we can be is a variety of "country clubs" of those who are young, beautiful, talented, well established, comfortable, healthy, and successful. I was shocked, and quite frankly, this truth continues to be very shocking, and this is one of the reasons why they felt that Jesus had to be killed, He had to disappear. It is the principal reason they hate Pope Francis, though they may deny it or not even be conscious of it.


My purpose in these posts is to bring a variety of Christian and other writers in a desire to share significant writings that in my estimation contribute to the common good and directly or indirectly give glory to God and extend the Lord's work of salvation to all of humanity. G.S.


© 2004-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2004-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC

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