Saturday, December 17, 2016

Happy birthday, Pope Francis!

Happy eightieth birthday to the unstoppable Pope Francis, who continues to teach and us less by words (which I think he sees as a secondary tool) than by gesture and example, in which his real homilies are to be found. 

“How many of you speak Spanish?” Pope Francis prays with refugees in Rome.

He is certainly a Pope who pulls no punches: man has, he says, “slapped nature in the face”; young people are to “renounce the sofa” — and remember the “Curse my mother; expect a punch” line?  People don't realise how much tougher a nut he is than Benedict ever was!  But he has to be tough.  Time is short.  The world is awash with wrongdoing and riven by evil, and Francis has more to contend with even than the unfolding spiritual decline of the West.  As I have pointed out before, I think he wants to concentrate on the rest of the world before Europe, whose faithful remnant, with its particular mission, can still draw on the (far-from-exhausted) well of teaching of Benedict and St. John Paul, in addition to Francis's, for years to come.

“Pray for me,” he has asked us, so we should do so.  And the same for his predecessor.

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