Francis in no mood to reach out to critics
Pope Francis was not in a reconciliatory mood over the holiday season, John Allen observed at Cruxnow.com. During the Pope’s speech to the Curia, Allen pointed out, he accused some critics of doing the Devil’s work, which was “not exactly the tone of a leader for whom job number one is healing”. Then, on New Year’s Eve, “Francis warned Christians against being ‘narrow-minded’, succumbing to ‘sterile nostalgia’, and being ‘prisoners of an all-or-nothing attitude’.”
“Bottom line,” Allen declared, was: “The holidays seemed to offer Pope Francis chances to reach out, and he didn’t bite.” Allen speculated that Francis was “convinced he’s on the right course” or had concluded that “efforts at compromise and bipartisanship just don’t work.”
Or maybe it’s just the Pope’s style, Allen suggested. “Close friends of Pope Francis say he’s got a bit of a stubborn streak, and isn’t temperamentally inclined to rethink decisions,” he said.
“There’s a Jesuit element too, since Jesuit superiors are expected to consult widely before reaching conclusions but be firm about applying them once they have… Whatever the case, what the holiday season appeared to indicate is that Francis is moving full steam ahead.”
Jesuits learn to accept a wayward ex-pupil
Ethicist Michael Pakaluk was troubled by a passage in Amoris Laetitia. It is not the infamous footnote concerning “the help of the sacraments”, but a passage that is “lifted almost verbatim from a 1995 essay in theology by Archbishop Victor Fernández – raising troubling questions about Fernández’s role as ghostwriter, and the magisterial force of his ideas.” Pakaluk said the lifting constituted plagiarism because Pope Francis was the official author of the document, not Fernandez, and its source was not cited.
Worse, Pakaluk said, the essay implied that “all are saved” and criticised limits on the reception of Communion. “If [these ideas] are affirmed, the essential nature of Christianity as involving test and probation changes; the moral law is rendered irrelevant; and the distinction between mortal and venial sin breaks down,” he said.
Jesuits learn to accept a wayward ex-pupil
At Word on Fire, Jared Zimmerer reflected on the Netflix documentary Eddie Strongman, about Eddie Hall’s drive to become the world’s strongest man. Zimmerer was struck by one scene where strongmen are asked why they do what they do. “Each of the men explain in their own way that when they are lifting, training, and competing, something deep within them is ignited.”
Zimmerer wondered if the “ascetic nature of pushing your body to its limit just might awaken the soul to the endless depth and possibility of coming to know something beyond the material world.”
✣ A father and son served Mass together at St Peter’s Basilica in honour of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Fr David Parker from Green Bay, Wisconsin, had been ordained a
few days before as a Legionary of Christ, and his father, David Parker, had recently been made a deacon.
Mr Parker told Rome Reports: “It was unbelievable to be so close to the Holy Father and to embrace him before Mass, and then to be so close to him during Mass.
“He’s like a father to us, so it was just beautiful,” he said.
✣ A lift in a Catholic pastoral centre in America has received a blessing from a bishop.
Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh usually blesses the doors during an annual Epiphany prayer service for staff. This year, the lift got a blessing too – after the bishop got stuck in it a year ago.
✣ A Dutch designer has collaborated with the Dominicans to create a new unisex version of the friars’ habit. Borre Akkersdijk, founder of ByBorre, said the new habit was meant to be practical, with easily reachable pockets and a hood to keep off the rain, and intended for either gender. He told the website Dezeen: “How great would it be if the Dominicans eventually started their own label, with this collection as a foundation?”
✣The week in quotations
I have also encountered moments of darkness in my faith – but with a little time we rediscover it Pope Francis visiting a parish outside Rome Associated Press
It is Pentecost made personal Bishop Philip Egan on Confirmation Pastoral letter
All of society is exposed. Priests are not spared Bishop Vera López on violence in Mexico Catholic News Service
His work has been a jewel in the crown of the pro-life movement in Britain John Smeaton of SPUC on Jack Scarisbrick SPUC press release
✣Statistic of the week
5,000 Estimate of how many migrants died in the Mediterranean in 2016 Source: UN
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