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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

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Thursday, 14 March 2013

POPE FRANCIS



(From "L´espresso" no. 49, November 28 - December 5, 2002, original title: "Bergoglio in Pole Position")

Midway through November, his colleagues wanted to elect him president of the Argentine bishops´ conference. He refused. But if there had been a conclave, it would have been difficult for him to refuse the election to the papacy, because he´s the one the cardinals would vote for resoundingly, if they were called together to choose immediately the successor to John Paul II.

He´s Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Bueno Aires. Born in Argentina (with an Italian surname), he has leapt to the top of the list of the papabili, given the ever-increasing likelihood that the next pope could be Latin-American. Reserved, timid, and laconic, he won´t lift a finger to advance his own campaign - but even this is counted among his strong suits.

John Paul II made him a cardinal together with the last group of bishops named to the honor, in February of 2001. On that occasion, Bergoglio distinguished himself by his reserve among his many more festive colleagues. Hundreds of Argentinians had begun fundraising efforts to fly to Rome to pay homage to the new man with the red hat. But Bergoglio stopped them. He ordered them to remain in Argentina and distribute the money they had raised to the poor. In Rome, he celebrated his new honor nearly alone - and with Lenten austerity.

He has always lived this way. Since he was made archbishop of the Argentinian capital, the luxurious residence next to the cathedral has remained empty. He lives in a nearby apartment, together with another bishop, old and sickly. In the evening, he himself cooks for both of them. He rarely drives, getting around most of the time by bus, wearing the cassock of an ordinary priest.

Of course, it´s more difficult now for him to move about unnoticed, his face becoming always more familiar in his country. Since Argentina has spun into a tremendous crisis and everyone else´s reputation - politicians, business leaders, officials, intellectuals - has fallen through the floor, the star of Cardinal Bergoglio has risen to its zenith. He has become one of the few guiding lights of the people.

Yet he´s not the type to compromise himself for the public. Every time he speaks, instead, he tries to shake people up and surprise them. In the middle of November, he did not give a learned homily on social justice to the people of Argentina reduced by hunger - he told them to return to the humble teachings of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. "This," he explained, "is the way of Jesus." And as soon as one follows this way seriously, he understands that "to trample upon the dignity of a woman, a man, a child, an elderly person, is a grave sin that cries out to heaven," and he decides not to do it any more.

The other bishops follow in his footsteps. During the Holy Year of 2000 he asked the entire Church in Argentina to put on garments of public penance for the sins committed during the years of the dictatorship. As a result of this act of purification, the Church had the credibility to be able to ask the nation to acknowledge how its own sins had contributed to its current disaster. At the celebration of the Te Deum at the most recent national feast, last May 25th, there was a record audience for Cardinal Bergoglio´s homily. The cardinal asked the people of Argentina to do as Zacchaeus had done in the Gospel. Here was a sinister loan shark. But, taking account of his moral lowliness, he climbed up into a sycamore tree, to see Jesus and let himself be seen and converted by him.

There isn´t a politician, from the right to the extreme left, who isn´t dying for the blessing of Bergoglio. Even the women of Plaza de Mayo, ultraradicals and unbridled anti-catholics, treat him with respect. He has even made inroads with one of them in private meetings. On another occasion, he visited the deathbed of an ex-bishop, Jeronimo Podestá, who had married in defiance of the Church and was dying poor and forgotten by all. From that moment, Mrs. Podestá became one of his devoted fans.

But Bergoglio has also had his difficulties with his ecclesiastical environment. He is a Jesuit of the old school, faithful to St. Ignatius. He became the provincial superior of the Society of Jesus in Argentina just when the dictatorship was in full furor and many of his confreres were tempted to take up the rifle and apply the teachings of Marx. Once removed from his position as superior, Bergoglio returned to obscurity. He came back into the public eye in 1992 when the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Antonio Quarracino, made him his auxiliary bishop.

From there, his ascent began. The first - and almost only - interview he has given was to a parish news bulletin, "Estrellita de Belém," as if to make the point that the Church is in the minority and shouldn´t cultivate illusions of grandeur.

He travels as little as possible. He visits the Vatican only when strictly necessary, the four or five times a year they summon him. He reserves a small room in a residence for clergy (the "Casa del Clero" on Via della Scrofa), and every morning at 5:30 he´s already awake and praying in the chapel.

Bergoglio excels in one-on-one communication, but he can also speak well in public when necessary. At the last synod of bishops in the fall of 2001, they unexpectedly asked him to take the place of one of the speakers who had withdrawn. Bergoglio managed the meeting so well that, at the time for electing the twelve members of the secretary´s council, his brother bishops chose him with the highest vote possible.

Someone in the Vatican had the idea to call him to direct an important dicastery. "Please, I would die in the Curia," he implored. They spared him.

Since that time, the thought of having him return to Rome as the successor of Peter has begun to spread with growing intensity. The Latin-American cardinals are increasingly focused upon him, as is Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. The only key figure among the Curia who hesitates when he hears his name is Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano - the very man known for supporting the idea of a Latin-American pope.

my source: Sandro Magister


Cardinal Bergoglio is elected as Pope Francis I!!

ROME, March 13, 2013 - By electing as pope at the fourth scrutiny the archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the conclave has made a move as surprising as it is brilliant.

Surprising for those - almost everyone - who had not noticed, during the preceding days, the effective appearance of his name in the conversations among the cardinals. His relatively advanced age, 76 years and three months, led him to be classified more among the great electors than among the possible elect.

In the conclave of 2005 the opposite had happened for him. Bergoglio was one of the most decisive supporters of the appointment of Joseph Ratzinger as pope. And instead he found himself voted for, against his own will, precisely by those who wanted to block the appointment of Benedict XVI.

The fact remains that both one and the other became pope. Bergoglio with the unprecedented name of Francis. 

A name that reflects his humble life. Having become archbishop of Buenos Aires 1998, he left empty the sumptuous episcopal residence next to the cathedral. He went to live in an apartment a short distance away, together with another elderly bishop. In the evening he was the one who saw to the cooking. He rarely rode in cars, getting around by bus in the cassock of an ordinary priest.

But he is also a man who knows how to govern. With firmness and against the tide. He is a Jesuit - the first to have become pope - and during the terrible 1970's, when the dictatorship was raging and some of his confrères were ready to embrace the rifle and apply the lessons of Marx, he energetically opposed the tendency as provincial of the Society of Jesus in Argentina. 

He has always carefully kept his distance from the Roman curia. It is certain that he will want it to be lean, clean, and loyal.

He is a pastor of sound doctrine and of concrete realism. To the Argentines he has given much more than bread. He has urged them to pick the catechism back up again. That of the ten commandments and of the beatitudes. “This is the way of Jesus,” he would say. And one who follows Jesus understands that “trampling the dignity of a woman, of a man, of a child, of an elderly person is a grave sin that cries out to heaven,” and therefore decides to do it no more.

The simplicity of his vision makes itself felt in his holiness of life. With his few and simple first words as pope he immediately won over the crowd packed into St. Peter's Square. He had them pray in silence.

And he also had them pray for his predecessor, Benedict XVI, whom he did not call “pope,” but “bishop.”

The surprise is only beginning.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the new Pope of the Catholic Church: Francis


my source:Vatican Insider - La Stampa

The new Pope, the 76-year old Argentinean Jesuit, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was Ratzinger’s main contender in the last Conclave. He is unusual in that he has always rejected posts in the Roman Curia and only visited the Vatican when it was absolutely necessary. One thing he hates to see in the clergy is “spiritual wordliness”: ecclesiastical careerism disguised as clerical refinement. 


The new Pope was born in Buenos Aires and later became its archbishop, on 17 December 1936. He was born to a Piedmontese family, graduated as a technical chemist and then entered the novitiate of the Company of Jesus. He completed studies in the humanities in Chile and obtained a degree in Philosophy and Theology in Argentina. He was Professor and Rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel and vicar of the Patriarch of  San José, in the Diocese of San Miguel. 


In 1986 he completed a PhD in Germany, after which he returned to Argentina, where his superiors made him spiritual director and confessor in the Jesuit Church of Cordoba. In 1992 John Paul II appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires, in 1997 he became coadjutor bishop and a year later he succeeded Cardinal Antonio Quarracino for six years, until 2011, when he became President of the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina. 



He doesn’t have a chauffeur and preferred to use the metro to get around Buenos Aires. In Rome he prefers to get around on foot or use public transport. Those who know him well see him as a true man of God: the first thing he always asks people to do is pray for him. 

In the pre-Conclave General Congregations, the new Pope spoke of Christianity as merciful and joyful. His favourite priests are those who work in the “villas miserias”, the slums of the Argentinean capital. Instead of driving people away with rigid doctrinal preachings, he tries to look at all possible solutions in an attempt to embrace those who are the furthest from the Christian community. The Church, he insists, must show the merciful side of God. 






The Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church speaks about HH Pope Francis I. (thanks to Father Deacon Daniel G. Dozier):

Patriarch Sviatoslav on Pope Francis:

"I would first like to say that the newly elected Pope Francis was mentored by one of our priests, Stepan Chmil who is now buried in the basilica of St. Sophia in Rome. Today’s Pope, during his time as a student of the Salesian school, awoke many hours before his classmates to concelebrate at our Divine Liturgy with Fr. Stepan. He knows our Tradition very well, as well as our Liturgy.

The last time I had an opportunity to see him was as I was preparing to leave Argentina for Ukraine. I asked him to bear witness to the process of beatifying Fr. Stepan Chmil, to which, he gladly agreed. The Holy Father very well knows not only of our Church, but also our liturgy, our rites, and our spirituality.

Apart from this, Pope Francis, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, was assigned as ordinary for Eastern Catholics, specifically those who at the time did not have members of their own hierarchy. Our Eparchy in Argentina is, let’s say, suffragan to the Archbishop’s seat of Buenos Aires. In this way, Cardinal Bergoglio, always took care of our Church in Argentina; and as a young bishop, I took my first steps in episcopal ministry under his watchful eyes and help. Because of this, I am positive that the Holy Father will be a great help to our Church, and I expect that great things await our Church with this Pope.

In regards to the personality of the new Holy Father - he is an incredibly modest person. For example, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, he never relied on his own automobile, rather relying on public transportation, always in simple clothing. He mostly stands out in his enormous care for the less-fortunate, visiting the most impoverished neighborhoods. He is a person, I would say, of great pastoral foundation.

As a Jesuit, Pope Francis is an incredibly deep intellectual. I can attest to the fact that his homilies are quite short, sometimes no longer than five or six sentences, but he manages to fill them with such deep meaning, always leaving the faithful in silent contemplation upwards of five-to-seven minutes".
my source: The Morning Offering

A Jesuit with a Franciscan's Simplicity A Russian Orthodox tribute to the new Pope.

In Catholic tradition, Francis of Assisi had a mystical vision in which Christ told him to rebuild his Church. In taking the name Francis, this pope seems to be pledging himself to rebuild the image and integrity of a church that has suffered from widespread allegations of corruption, and the cover-up of the child sex abuse by innumerable members of her clergy.

After becoming archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, he sold the archbishop's palace, preferring instead to live in an apartment. He was known to cook his own meals, and rejected the services of a chauffeur, preferring instead to ride the bus. As Jesuit Provincial, he put an end to the Liberation Theology being taught among Jesuits under him, demanding they stop their involvement in politics, and place their energies on serving the spiritual needs of their people.

This is the man who went to a hospice during Holy Week, and washed the feet of twelve aids patients. Known for a simple lifestyle and for dedication to social justice, as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he had taken a strong stand against the corruption of politicians and business men in Argentina. He has not only been a champion of the poor, but a champion of democracy.

Pope Francis, upon coming out on the papal balcony, asked the crowd to join him in praying "for our emeritus bishop, Benedict XVI." Following the "Our Father," the "Ave Maria," and "Glory Be" prayers in Italian, the Argentinean then continued: "Now, let's start working together, walking together...this is part of the governance of love, of trust."

And before giving the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing to those in the crowd, the Argentinean asked "for a favor. Before the bishop blesses his people, he asks that you pray to the Lord to bless me, the prayer of the people for the blessing of their bishop." As he said these words, he bowed his head and clasped his hands. A 15-second silence lasted in the reported 100,000-person crowd.

In taking the name of a saint known for humility and a simple lifestyle, Pope Francis promises to be the Christ-like image of leadership the Roman Catholic Church, and, dare I say, the whole world, needs. With the rise of secularism, atheism, and Islam, the Christ-like witness we see in this pope, promises to be a leaven for the rebuilding of a Christianity that has been in decline. This, to my mind, is a pope we Orthodox can work with, and a man we can love.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

THE FIRST HOMILY OF THE NEW POPE
TO THE CARDINALS WHO ELECTED HIM.


In these three readings I see that there is something in common: it is movement. In the first reading, movement in walking; in the second reading, movement in the building up of the Church; in the third, in the Gospel, movement in confession.

To walk, to build up, to confess.

To walk. “House of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” This is the first thing that God said to Abraham: Walk in my presence and be without reproach. To walk: our life is a journey and when we stop it is no good. To walk always, in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, seeking to live with that irreproachability which God asked of Abraham, in his promise.

To build up. To build up the Church. Stones are spoken of: the stones have substance; but living stones, stones anointed by the Holy Spirit. To build up the Church, the bride of Christ, on that cornerstone which is the Lord himself. This is another movement of our lives: to build up.

Third, to confess. We can walk as much as we wish, we can build many things, but if we do not confess Jesus Christ, it is no good. We will become a humanitarian NGO, but not the Church, bride of the Lord.

When one does not walk, one halts. When one does not build on stone what happens? That happens which happens to children on the beach when they make sand castles, it all comes down, it is without substance. When one does not confess Jesus Christ, I am reminded of the expression of Léon Bloy: "He who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil.” When one does not confess Jesus Christ, one confesses the worldliness of the devil, the worldliness of the demon.

To walk, to build/construct, to confess. But the matter is not so easy, because in walking, in building, in confessing, at times there are shocks, there are movements that are not properly movements of the journey: they are movements that set us back.

This Gospel continues with a special situation. The same Peter who has confessed Jesus Christ says to him: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. I will follow you, but let us not speak of the cross. This has nothing to do with it. I will follow you with other possibilities, without the cross.

When we walk without the cross, when we build without the cross and when we confess Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord: we are worldly, we are bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord.

I would like that everyone, after these days of grace, should have the courage, truly the courage, to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the cross of the Lord; to build up the Church upon the blood of the Lord that was shed upon the cross; and to confess the only glory: Christ crucified. And in this way the Church will move forward.

I hope for all of us that the Holy Spirit, through the prayer of the Virgin Mary, our Mother, may grant us this grace: to walk, to build up, to confess Jesus Christ crucified. So may it be.




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