Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lowly but Chosen

Here are a few quotes from and about Pope Francis, the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge  Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires.  He chose, "Lowly but Chosen," as his Papal motto.

Since I posted the below quotes, which I cobbled together from various sources, the Jesuit magazine America posted Quotes from Pope Francis. America Magazine.  March 13, 2013.  Their compilation of quotes is better. It shows more of the surrounding context and sounds more powerful.

Lifestyle

As Archbishop, he gave up a palace for a small apartment, rode public transportation instead of a chauffeur-driven car and cooked his own meals.

Bergoglio regularly visited the slums that ring Argentina’s capital. He accused fellow church leaders of hypocrisy and forgetting that Jesus bathed lepers and ate with prostitutes.

Evangelization

“Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony. Go out and interact with your brothers. Go out and share. Go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit,” Bergoglio told Argentina’s priests last year.

"Only someone who has encountered mercy, who has been caressed by the tenderness of mercy, is happy and comfortable with the Lord...The privileged locus of the encounter is the caress of the mercy of Jesus Christ on my sin."

Morality

"In front of this merciful embrace–and I continue along the lines of Giussani’s thought–we feel a real desire to respond, to change, to correspond; a new morality arises. We posit the ethical problem, an ethics which is born of the encounter, of this encounter which we have described up to now. Christian morality is not a titanic effort of the will, the effort of someone who decides to be consistent and succeeds, a solitary challenge in the face of the world. No. Christian morality is simply a response. It is the heartfelt response to a surprising, unforeseeable, “unjust” mercy (I shall return to this adjective). The surprising, unforeseeable, “unjust” mercy, using purely human criteria, of one who knows me, knows my betrayals and loves me just the same, appreciates me, embraces me, calls me again, hopes in me, and expects from me. This is why the Christian conception of morality is a revolution; it is not a never falling down but an always getting up again."

"In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don't baptize the children of single mothers because they weren't conceived in the sanctity of marriage," Bergoglio told his priests. "These are today's hypocrites. Those who clericalize the Church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it's baptized!" 

"We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least. The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers."

The Church

"At the last feast of Saint Cayetano, during the sermon, Father Bergoglio told all those who were there in front of him: some of the hundreds of thousands of Argentineans who as every year packed the outlying neighborhood where the shrine stands to ask favors from the saint of bread and work or thank him for those received. “Let me ask you a question: is the Church is a place open only for the good?”; and all in chorus: “Nooo!”. The cardinal, in reply: “Is there room for the bad guys, too?”. And the others, still all together, “Yeeees!!!”. “Do people get thrown out because they’re bad? No, on the contrary, they’re welcomed with more affection. And who taught us that? Jesus taught us. Imagine, then, how patient the heart of God is with all of us”. 
"We have to avoid the spiritual sickness of a self-referential church," Bergoglio said recently. "It's true that when you get out into the street, as happens to every man and woman, there can be accidents. However, if the church remains closed in on itself, self-referential, it gets old. Between a church that suffers accidents in the street, and a church that's sick because it's self-referential, I have no doubts about preferring the former."

General Philosophy

"On the other hand, to interrogate oneself in the face of these signs, one needs an extremely human capacity, the first one we have as men and women: wonder, the capacity to be amazed, as Giussani calls it, in the last analysis, a child's heart. The beginning of every philosophy is wonder and only wonder leads to knowledge.
"Notice that moral and cultural degradation begin to arise when this capacity for wonder is weakened or cancelled or when it dies. The cultural opiate tends to cancel, weaken, or kill this capacity for wonder. Pope Luciani once said that the drama of contemporary Christianity lies in the fact that it puts categories and norms in the place of wonder. But wonder comes before all categories; it is what leads me to seek, to open myself up; it is what makes the answer - not verbal or conceptual answer - possible for me. If wonder opens me up as a question, the only response is the *encounter*, and only with the encounter is my thirst quenched. And with nothing else it is quenched more."  - A Generative Thought

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