Pope Francis sermon for Palm Sunday – REVISED

I had originally worked with the official text that was released.  The Pope changed his sermon and here is the revised text.  That‘ll teach me!  This is going to be a big challenge for people following his sermons.  He departs from his text a lot.

However, once again he talks about the Devil!  Excellent.

Pope Francis sermon for Palm Sunday:


1. Jesus enters Jerusalem. The crowd of disciples accompanies him in festive mood, their garments are stretched out before him, there is talk of the miracles he has accomplished, and loud praises are heard: “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Lk19:38).

Crowds, celebrating, praise, blessing, peace: joy fills the air. Jesus has awakened great hopes, especially in the hearts of the simple, the humble, the poor, the forgotten, those who do not matter in the eyes of the world. He understands human sufferings, he has shown the face of God’s mercy, he has bent down to heal body and soul.

This is Jesus. This is his heart which looks to all of us, which sees to our sicknesses, to our sins. The love of Jesus is great. And thus he enters Jerusalem, with this love, and looks at us. It is a beautiful scene, full of light – the light of the love of Jesus, the love of his heart – of joy, of celebration.

At the beginning of Mass, we too repeatedit. We waved our palms, our olive branches, We too welcomed Jesus; we too expressed our joy at accompanying him, at knowing him to be close, present in us and among us as a friend, a brother, and also as a King: that is, a shining beacon for our lives. Jesus is God, but he lowered himself to walk with us. He is our friend, our brother. He illumines our path here. And in this way we have welcomed him today.

He illumines our path here. And in this way we have welcomed him today. And here the first word that I wish to say to you: joy! [He will explore three words, as he did in the first sermon he gave after his election.] Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy born of having many possessions, but from having encountered a Person: Jesus, in our midst; it is born from knowing that with him we are never alone, even at difficult moments, even when our life’s journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable, and there are so many of them! And in this moment the enemy, the devil, comes, often disguised as an angel, and slyly speaks his word to us. Do not listen to him! [This is FANTASTIC!  The Pope mentioned the Devil, our Enemy, twice in the first two days of his pontificate. Here he mentions the Enemy again.  Clearly this man is intent on making us aware of the spiritual warfare being waged.] Let us follow Jesus! We accompany, we follow Jesus, but above all we know that he accompanies us and carries us on his shoulders. This is our joy, this is the hope that we must bring to this world. Please do not let yourselves be robbed of hope! Do not let hope be stolen! The hope that Jesus gives us.

2. The second word. Why does Jesus enter Jerusalem? Or better: how does Jesus enter Jerusalem? The crowds acclaim him as King. And he does not deny it, he does not tell them to be silent (cf. Lk 19:39-40). But what kind of a King is Jesus? Let us take a look at him: he is riding on a donkey, he is not accompanied by a court, he is not surrounded by an army as a symbol of power. [Zechariah 9:9 – “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass.” Abraham rode an ass when he took Isaac for sacrfice to the mountain. Moses rode an ass. Abimelech’s 30 sons rode asses as a sign that they were the rulers of 30 cities. David rode an ass and he had Solomon ride an ass as a sign that he was David’s successor and then Zadok and Nathan anointed him.  Riding on an ass is in itself a sign of Christ’s kingly character.]He is received by humble people, simple folk who have the sense to see something more in Jesus; they have that sense of the faith which says: here is the Saviour. Jesus does not enter the Holy City to receive the honours reserved to earthly kings, to the powerful, to rulers; he enters to be scourged, insulted and abused, as Isaiah foretold in the First Reading (cf. Is 50:6). He enters to receive a crown of thorns, a staff, a purple robe: his kingship becomes an object of derision. He enters to climb Calvary, carrying his burden of wood. [Abraham, as priest, had Isaac, the victim, carry the wood. Christ, carrying the wood, is both sacrificing priest and the sacrifice.] And this brings us to the second word: Cross. Jesus enters Jerusalem in order to die on the Cross. And it is precisely here that his kingship shines forth in godly fashion: his royal throne is the wood of the Cross! It reminds me of what Benedict XVI said to the Cardinals: you are princes, but of a king crucified. [It is great that he quotes Pope Benedict.] That is the throne of Jesus. Jesus takes it upon himself… Why the Cross? Because Jesus takes upon himself the evil, the filth, the sin of the world, including the sin of all of us, and he cleanses it, he cleanses it with his blood, with the mercy and the love of God.   [sporcizia… when I hear this word now in the context of a papal address I cannot help but to think of Benedict, even before, Card. Ratzinger, decrying the “filth” that there is in the Church.]

Let us look around: how many wounds are inflicted upon humanity by evil! Wars, violence, economic conflicts that hit the weakest, greed for money that you can’t take with you and have to leave. When we were small, our grandmother used to say: a shroud has no pocket. [excellent image] Love of power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation! And – as each one of us knows and is aware – our personal sins: our failures in love and respect towards God, towards our neighbour and towards the whole of creation. Jesus on the Cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God’s love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection. This is the good that Jesus does for us on the throne of the Cross. Christ’s Cross embraced with love never leads to sadness, but to joy, to the joy of having been saved and of doing a little of what he did on the day of his death.

3. Today in this Square, there are many young people: for twenty-eight years Palm Sunday has been World Youth Day! This is our third wordyouth! [He did this three word pattern thing in his first sermon as Pope, to the Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel the day after his election.] Dear young people, I saw you in the procession as you were coming in; I think of you celebrating around Jesus, waving your olive branches. I think of you crying out his name and expressing your joy at being with him! You have an important part in the celebration of faith! You bring us the joy of faith and you tell us that we must live the faith with a young heart, always, a young heart, even at the age of seventy or eighty. Dear young people. With Christ, the heart never grows old! Yet all of us, all of you know very well that the King whom we follow and who accompanies us is very special: he is a King who loves even to the Cross and who teaches us to serve and to love. And you are not ashamed of his Cross! On the contrary, you embrace it, because you have understood that it is in giving ourselves, in giving ourselves, in emerging from ourselves that we have true joy and that, with his love, God conquered evil. You carry the pilgrim Cross through all the Continents, along the highways of the world! You carry it in response to Jesus’ call: “Go, make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19), which is the theme of World Youth Day this year. You carry it so as to tell everyone that on the Cross Jesus knocked down the wall of enmity that divides people and nations, and he brought reconciliation and peace. Dear friends, I too am setting out on a journey with you, starting today, in the footsteps of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI. We are already close to the next stage of this great pilgrimage of the Cross. I look forward joyfully to next July in Rio de Janeiro! I will see you in that great city in Brazil! Prepare well – prepare spiritually above all – in your communities, so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world. . Young people must say to the world: to follow Christ is good; to go with Christ is good; the message of Christ is good; emerging from ourselves, to the ends of the earth and of existence, to take Jesus there, is good! Three words, then: joy, Cross, young.

We are living out the joy of walking with Jesus, being with Him, carrying his Cross, with love, with a spirit that is always young!

Let us ask the intercession of the Virgin Mary. She teaches us the joy of meeting Christ, the love with which we must look to the foot of the Cross, the enthusiasm of the young heart with which we must follow him during this Holy Week and throughout our lives. Amen. (E così sia…. May it be so.)


No explicit mention of the Year of Faith.  I believe that Francis has mentioned the Year of Faith at least once, but it is not so far very high on his list of things to talk about.

The audio…

Some images of him preaching.

"And in this moment the enemy, the devil, comes, often disguised as an angel, and slyly speaks his word to us. Do not listen to him!"

"And it is precisely here that his kingship shines forth in godly fashion: his royal throne is the wood of the Cross! It reminds me of what Benedict XVI said to the Cardinals: you are princes, but of a king crucified."



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Pingback: Did Pope Francis Slam Socialism and Told U.S. Headed Towards Communism

  2. Potato2 says:

    Fr. Z.
    You need a blog post that goes into detail about what you are thinking about Pope Francis.

  3. mamajen says:



  4. acardnal says:

    And once again since being elected Supreme Pontiff eleven days ago, Pope Francis refers to Satan (here “the Evil One”) in his remarks. Perhaps something on exorcism will be mentioned in the near future.

    The “three word pattern thing” he often uses may be due to his Jesuit formation; Jesuits have a tendency to refer to things using an obvious trinitarian formula.

  5. mamajen says:

    I liked it. The first two parts were especially strong. I’m always a bit wary of attempts to appeal to “youth”, but there was certainly nothing objectionable in what he said.

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  7. Fr AJ says:

    Acardnal, this must be the original written homily. He went off text speaking of the devil coming dressed as an angel at one point to trick people.

  8. Traductora says:

    I was at this mass today, and he said one thing that is not in this text. He said that our beloved Benedict XVI said to a group of new cardinals that they were becoming princes – of a king who died on a cross. I found this really striking and I liked the fact that he quoted BXVI.

    It was a beautiful, faith-filled homily and also delivered very affectingly. I think he’s absorbed the right things from the Evangelicals. The Romans and everybody else seem to love Francis. And the mass was very well conducted, although I think the Sistine Chapel choir should buy some good boy sopranos from England. They were fine with homophony, but you had to cover your ears when they attacked Palestrina.

  9. scholastica says:

    Yes, the three words/points is Jesuit. We have a Jesuit priest locally who always outlines and speaks on three points. It can be very helpful from the pew.
    I do like that he has been consistent and direct in speaking of the devil, since the devil, of course, is quite effective when unrecognized.

  10. VexillaRegis says:

    Potato2: I have had the feeling since day one of the Pope’s pontificate, that Fr. Z tries to tell us something whithout saying it explicitly, hmm ;-) However, Fr. Z is a gentleman and I think we have to wait for that post for a little longer, *if* he writes it at all.

  11. Pingback: Pope Francis sermon for Palm Sunday from our @FatherZ - Catholic Faith Father Z Pope Francis I - FatherZ Holy Week Palm Sunday Pope Francis - AlwaysCatholic.com

  12. Happy Passion Sunday to all.

  13. Phil_NL says:

    It is much too early to think anything about Pope Francis, as Pope Francis, at all. Yes, there were first impressions, which were for some bordering on exstatic, for most a mixed bag, for some reason to go overboard. Most of it reflects our own preferences and fears much more than it reflects anything the new Holy Father has done or said.

    Most likely it will take the remainder of the year, or therebouts, to form a reasonable opinion on how Francis handles the barque of Peter. I’ve seen plenty of flashing yellow lights (especially his call for a dialogue with islam), I do think Francis talks very much like the NGO crowd – even though he insists that the Chruch is no NGO (his finest moment thusfar, if you ask me), and I think it’s a shame he stresses low-key celebrations (though I think the movement for more reverence will survive that). But at the end of the day, that is not defining for his papacy, unless he decides to make them the defining features over the coming months. As one would hope that a big cleanout in the curia would be high on the agenda, I think we should at least await that before we form an opinion on his person and pontificate, his agenda cannot be complete yet. For now, an opinion on what the Holy Father does and says will more than suffice.

    And that brings me to the point of the thread: this sermon can be read in so many ways that it is hard to draw any conclusions. It could be read in the happy-clappy mode and one could remark that sacrifice and sin are given a central place which swings the pendulum quite a bit back the other way. And that is, thusfar, typically Francis. It’s probably not the clear style many here would prefer, but we’ll have to wait and see. Wait and see what kind of Pope Francis will really be. In all fairness, the man himself has mst likely had barely time to consider that question, so it’s not too strange his speeches are a bit of everything right now.

  14. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Fr. Z knows Pope Francis to be the Pope. There is great respect due to Pope Francis as such. Since both of them are mortal men, they will not see everything in exactly the same way. That being said, they each serve the same Lord. May He bless their service and bring it to completion.

  15. Traductora says:

    @Fr AJ: are you in Rome now? I heard that in the homily today too, and I also heard the quote from BXVI that didn’t appear in the text. People clapped when he mentioned how the devil could mislead one. I think people want to hear about good and evil.

  16. Lepidus says:

    This might be too much to hope for, but when I hear references to the Devil appearing as an angel, I can’t help but think of a particular set of incidents in around the year 610 A. D. … where an “angel” allegedly appeared to a person … in the desert … and by their fruits you shall know them.

  17. eben says:

    I had intended to post something about our Parish Priest’s sermon today, but I guess this isn’t the appropriate place to do so. He spoke, as well, about not allowing ourselves to be discouraged. He did so in such a way as to bring home the “isness” of Holy Week and the Passion; of our participation in Christ’s ultimate triumph over evil. To me that’s extremely important to those of us living in the US, particularly at this time when doubtless the Supreme Court will strike down bans on unnatural marriage in its pursuit of relevance in an age when, as reported in a recent poll, the majority of US Americans now support unnatural marriage. Perhaps another time.

  18. bobbyfranky says:

    “Abraham rode an ass when he took Isaac for sacrifice to the mountain. Moses rode an ass….David rode an ass and he had Solomon ride an ass …Riding on an ass is in itself a sign of Christ’s kingly character.”

    Abraham and Moses were not kings, Saul was the first king. In the list given by Fr. Z, kings are but a subset. The more complete and thus proper description of the list would be ‘head of the house’, of which there is only one at any one time, and humility is an attribute often found in that head of the house, as the quoted passage from Zechariah itself states: “…Lo, your king comes to you…humble and riding on an ass…”

    God made it plain to Miriam and Aaron in Numbers 12 that the most humble Moses is the head of His house, through the punishment of Miriam for 7 days with leprosy:
    “Now, Moses himself was by far the meekest man on the face of the earth… Now listen to the words of the LORD: Should there be a prophet among you, in visions will I reveal myself to him, in dreams will I speak to him; Not so with my servant Moses! Throughout my house he bears my trust: face to face I speak to him, plainly and not in riddles. “

    And Hebrews 3 says: Every house is founded by someone, but the founder of all is God. Moses was “faithful in all his house” as a “servant” to testify to what would be spoken, but Christ was faithful as a son placed over his house.

    Thus, riding on an ass is in itself a sign of Christ being the humble head of the house.

    And the Pope didn’t set out to address all aspects, all attributes of Jesus, in today’s homily (could any one homily do that, since it is supposed in the Gospel of John that all the books ever written could not contain all that Jesus did? (John 21:25) One ‘eats’ something that is large, in small bites, lots of them! )

    God bless you.

  19. Suburbanbanshee says:

    “Ours is not a joy that comes from having many possessions, but from having encountered a Person….” That’s practically a direct quote from B16, albeit with a Francis twist.

  20. Rob22 says:

    In terms of ecumenical dialog and dialog with Muslims I think Pope Francis will re-emphasize the vision of V2 on this. It should be especially helpful with the Orthodox. But others too. If it is true he is not a big fan of the Ordinariate it may because he sees the more proper dialog to be with the whole Anglican Communion instead of small groups of Anglicans. On Islam a more positive approach is needed given that taken by some non-mainline Protestant groups. Basically no dialog but a lot of suspicion. Hopefully the Pope and the Catholic church can show the way on this.

  21. TLM says:

    The Telegraph news has a short video on you tube and Pope Francis puts Holy Water on the two Cardinals on each side of him. The first one receives the Holy Water and makes the sign of the cross. The other one seems like he is ready to run away as Pope Francis is approaching and only stays when the priest next to him holds his elbow. Then he simply makes a little bow to the Pope but does not make the sign of the cross.

    Just a curious observation. I am wondering who the would be runaway is.

    I do like Pope Francis references to Satan and to on guard because Satan can appear as one who is good, even an angel, in order to deceive us. Also, preaching Christ with the cross fits so well with is first homily to the cardinals where he said that if you don’t preach Christ with the cross, then you preach to Satan. Sorry that I don’t quote exactly as he said it because he said it so well.

  22. Traductora says:

    @tlm, that’s very interesting! I was there, right next to the place where he blessed the palms, actually, but I couldn’t see that part of it because somebody was holding up an iPad and moving it around to video the event, which effectively prevented anybody else from even seeing it…sigh.

    I saw lots of cardinals, but I couldn’t identify them. I assume they were Curia people with titular churches that probably don’t even exist anymore. I wonder who the cardinal was who “ran away”..?

  23. dmwallace says:

    Just watched the video of portions of the Mass. Did anyone notice this, or are my eyes and ears deceiving me? Did another priest or bishop chant the Per Ipsum instead of Pope Francis? I’ve been Nader the impression that because of his having only one lung, he can’t sing for extended periods. It seems too that he cannot genuflect either, no doubt because he is a man of penance and has been hard on the knees!

  24. majuscule says:

    Here is a link to the Telegraph video:


  25. Schiavona says:

    I understood (or misunderstood?) that the Pope was referring to himself. That he is now applauded as Christ once was and is trying to emulate his simplicity, but that he is about to be crucified, following in the footsteps of the previous two popes. I found the thought encouraging. (It also appears to me that the youth stuff was added on because Palm Sunday has also become Youth Sunday.)

  26. Rouxfus says:

    Here is the complete video of the Palm Sunday Mass from the Vatican YouTube channel:


    The part where Pope Francis blesses the cardinal to his right with holy water starts at 15:50.

  27. we must live the faith with a young heart, always, a young heart, even at the age of seventy or eighty. Dear young people. With Christ, the heart never grows old!

    One of the things I really like about the TLM is the prayers at the foot of the altar, which start out with precisely this thought. Introibo ad altare Dei: ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam. I will go to the altar of God: to the God Who gives joy to my youth.

  28. “a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement!”

    This is intellectually sloppy. What does he mean that we can’t be sad? Sorrow is quite unavoidable in this “veil (or valley) of tears”. Did not the Blessed Virgin Mary tell St. Bernadette that she would not be guaranteed happiness in this life? If not happiness, then what? Doesn’t the Gospel relate how Our Blessed Lord wept?

    Consult St. Thomas Aquinas, ST Pars I-II, Q35.

    How can there not be sadness and even discouragement in this world? Perhaps something was lost in translation? Are we talking here about the sin of despair? If so, that is something very different from sorrow and discouragement, which is, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, and plain old common sense, completely unavoidable in this world.

  29. benedetta says:

    A very beautiful homily for Palm Sunday!

  30. edm says:

    The problem with the sprinkling with Holy Water arises because Pope Francis confused two different acts. He was to have blessed PALMS. Therefore the palms are what should be sprinkled. In stead he behaved as one who is beginning the Asperges, touching his forehead with water and then going to the two cardinals. They were probably a bit confused.

  31. moosix1974 says:

    David, perhaps he meant that as opposed to being sad, a Christian must always be joyful. I would guess that “sad” was not meant to the opposite of “happy”, but the opposite of “joy”.

  32. boxerpaws1952 says:

    ” I’m always a bit wary of attempts to appeal to “youth”,
    not sure i understand this? I’m 60 yr old. It has occurred to me as i’m sure it did Blessed John Paul II that is the young who will be the future of the Church. Don’t think our age group is going to be around in the future.

  33. mamajen says:

    Regarding the video, I think that was Cardinal Amato who “shied away” from the holy water. Hard to tell what happened there, but I think he didn’t know exactly what was going on.

  34. mamajen says:


    I’m 32, and I like to fancy myself not too far from youth, though I should probably accept that I’m getting up there. It seems to me that a lot of the liturgical “goofiness” we’ve seen can be linked to an attempt to give young people what older people in the Church think they want. I’m not saying that Pope Francis did any such thing today or that he plans to, it’s just one of those buzzwords that makes my ears prick up. Yes, our youth are important to the future of the church, but 1) they do not need anything “watered down” for them, and 2) I don’t think we need to go to great pains to make them feel super special. Again, not accusing the pope of anything here. I’ve never really been into the whole World Youth Day thing, or children’s masses, etc. But what do I know? Maybe it works better than I think.

  35. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: sad — The Pope was using the word “tristi” (“tristes” in Spanish, and I think “triste” in French).
    I could be wrong about this, but my impression has always been that being “triste” is more like being depressed or hopeless, rather than just sad. It’s being desolate and dismal, sometimes with connotations of it being a romantic pose that you choose to dramatize yourself. I could be wrong about this, but that’s my impression.

  36. Therese says:

    “They were fine with homophony, but you had to cover your ears when they attacked Palestrina.”

    That’s quite an image, Traductora. ;-)

    I would suppose Our Lady rode upon an ass on the way to Bethlehem, and later with the infant Savior as they fled to Egypt.

  37. Juergensen says:

    I may have missed them, but I don’t see any comments criticising what Pope Francis is wearing.

  38. Potato2 says:

    The problem is not the engaging of the youth. For they are HUNGARY for the Truth. The problem is that “engaging the youth” has become code for less substance. Like feeding a starving person cardboard.

  39. Potato2 says:

    @ Mamajen
    You know why. (Wink)
    If I read between the lines of Fr Z I can sense something he really wants to say.

    What I am noticing is just how intellectually deep BXVI was. That was 7 quick years of one of the brightest theological minds in the Church maybe ever.
    Francis is no dummy or theological midget. That is not what I am saying. But Fr Z did not need to elaborate on BXVI’s theological points. He just pointed out their amazing miraculous genius.

    BXVI never really gave an opportunity to add to his thought. Francis seems to be more pastoral. While that might be what the liberal press is donning his style. I use it not as a dish or a compliment but as a way of saying ” I knew JFK and you are no JFK” (Metaphorically)

  40. mamajen says:


    Father Z doesn’t play games like that. If he wanted to tell us something, he would. If he had something on his mind (as we all do sometimes), but thought it wise not to share, he wouldn’t. And he wouldn’t “kind of” say it, either. I’ve seen people here and elsewhere giddy about the possibility of Father Z finally caving and bashing Pope Francis as they have. Ain’t going to happen. His header graphic says it all.

  41. Mary T says:

    Pope Francis, like me, had Italian grandmothers. Mine also also often said, “They don’t put pockets in shrouds!” Love it!

    But I am astonished at the snarky comments about youth. How many times did both John Paul II and Benedict XVI refer to youth, direct comments to young people, speak “especially” to the “dear young people,” and address them directly? Only about a gazillion times. Not to mention how many gazillions of young people they brought into the church, many of whom are now seminarians! And having been to two World Youth Days (and having had family and friends attend others) I can say from the bottom of my heart that they are among the greatest things those popes did for the church. If you can’t see the importance of calling the youth, as Pope Francis did, then as CS Lewis said, you could look all over the sky on a clear day at high noon and not see the sun. Where do you think so many of our young, vibrant, FAITHFUL and ORTHODOX priests are coming from? Ask them…. See how many say, “I was influenced by John Paul II or Benedict XVI.”

    Maybe some posters here are hanging around too many dead suburban parishes where engaging youth means horrible music. Where I visit (all over the world, in South America and many other places) it means Eucharistic Adoration, watching kids whos clothes or hair you might not like going DEAD SILENT and down on their knees for rosaries…. And I will NEVER EVER forget the presence of Jesus Christ at World Youth Day in Madrid, when Pope Benedict stayed with us during a terrible storm, and how committed, respectful, loving, and faithful the young people were!

    Seriously, I do not understand half of Father Z’s commenters.

  42. CatholicMD says:

    I am 30 years old. If I live for another 50 years I might not see a Pope with the intellectual depth of Benedict XVI. I am certain he will be named a Doctor of the Church at some point. No other Pope should be expected to live up to that level.

  43. Gaetano says:

    And in this moment the enemy, the devil, comes, often disguised as an angel, and slyly speaks his word to us. Do not listen to him!

    This line of thought come directly from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, who states in the Rules for the Discernment of Spirits:

    Fourth Rule. The fourth: It is proper to the evil Angel, who forms himself under the appearance of an angel of light, to enter with the devout soul and go out with himself: that is to say, to bring good and holy thoughts, conformable to such just soul, and then little by little he aims at coming out drawing the soul to his covert deceits and perverse intentions.

    Pope Francis is a man who has been formed by the Spiritual Exercises. That says a great deal of good.

  44. Potato2 says:

    @ mamajen

    You are right I suppose. It could be my own personal bias getting in the way. I hope the Pope and all of the faithful are of the same mind. But we may not be….

  45. Mary T says:

    David: “intellectually sloppy” my foot. Christians are never to forsake joy, and joy is with us EVEN in the midst of sorrow. The REAL intellectual sloppiness is to imagine joy and sorrow to be mutually exclusive. What IS mutually exclusive is joy and the kind of sadness that means discouragement —- literally losing heart. Many saints were joyful during their martyrdoms and illnesses (have you never read Therese of Lisieux or Elizabeth of the Trinity?). Blessed Pier Giorgio said the exact same thing the Pope said and I never heard anyone say he meant it the way you took it!

    Believe me, our Holy Father is not intellectually sloppy. But it is spiritually and charitably sloppy to jump down his throat by just making stuff up. And that is what about 99% of the criticisms of Francis are: deliberately twisting and interpreting everything he says in the WORST possible light, even if (or maybe especially when!) it is something Benedict XVI or the saints have said:

  46. Fr_Sotelo says:


    You are so right. Pope Benedict XVI spoiled us, in a sense. I imagine that those who lived during the pontificates of Pope Leo the Great or Pope Gregory the Great had the same feeling of having been led by a truly lofty and inspired mind. Benedict, I believe, is a great saint as well, and that outstanding holiness permeates everything he did and said. But Pope Francis will make his mark in other ways. He is a son of Ignatius, which bodes well.

  47. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Mary T and David — The English translation could have been a bit clearer. But we’re also just getting used to this Pope’s POV, without the benefit of a pre-existing familiarity with his previous body of work.

    Benefit of the doubt is what we need to give.

  48. Potato2 says:

    @ maryt
    I am always so frustrated with the POV that you have given. Some of us live in a place where the EF is suppressed. Where all parishes are suburban deserts and “Catholic communities” Where Lifeteen is the ONLY youth program authorized. It is not so simple as “go somewhere else” And frankly I find being on the “front lines” rather noble. ( of course I don’t have a choice unless I wish to go the SSPX rout. And I dont. I don’t have a cozy orthodox, reverent, parish to run to. So I work with the youth in my own parish in the lifeteen program. I try to provide some nourishment to a starving generation. I have been to WYDs and Steubenville Conferences with our youth. I know exactly what the model is and what the abuses are. I know that it is not just in my dioceses but across a wide region that this model and fluff is pushed in the “spirit of JPII”
    I know that in a 2 hour youth program we give 15 minutes of dumbed down information with pizza and games for 100 kids. These are kids who go to school and learn physics, world history, literature and music and we somehow think good deep theological information is beyond them.
    They really are starving and the modern “revitalize the youth movement” is feeding them rotten food.
    Running around saying the youth are our future is the equivalent of “let them eat cake”
    I am not just annoyed with the sacrifice of substance in the name of “youth” but rather, I get in and get my hands dirty.

  49. lmo1968 says:

    Maybe because I live in one of those “dynamically orthodox” dioceses, but I know some holy and devout priests who discovered their vocations as teens during the World Youth Days. I know of young men who because of pizza and movie nights (alternated with some serious lectio divina) are now in seminary. I know a mom whose teen son recently was on confirmation retreat and came home talking about what his vocation could be. (There was Adoration for vocations during the retreat.)

    There is a way to minister to the youth without dumbing it down. I think Pope Francis this morning was singling them out for attention and encouragement without making it seem like he was infantilizing their faith.

  50. boxerpaws1952 says:

    CatholicMD said,No other Pope should be expected to live up to that level.Good point! We have 33 doctors and only 2 of them were Popes.

  51. VexillaRegis says:

    Potato2 at 9.15: eh hm, is the youth Magyarország? ;-)))

  52. BLB Oregon says:

    “The problem is not the engaging of the youth. For they are HUNGARY for the Truth. The problem is that “engaging the youth” has become code for less substance. Like feeding a starving person cardboard”

    That homily may have been geared as an exhortation rather than as dense catechesis and it may have been geared for listeners rather than readers (for in many places it employs blunt language instead of poetic or scholarly language), but it was not dumbed down. Dumbed down is “Jesus loves you, aren’t clouds lovely, and that’s it…do what you will” and stops there. It isn’t this: “Let us look around: how many wounds are inflicted upon humanity by evil! Wars, violence, economic conflicts that hit the weakest, greed for money that you can’t take with you and have to leave. When we were small, our grandmother used to say: a shroud has no pocket. Love of power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation! And – as each one of us knows and is aware – our personal sins: our failures in love and respect towards God, towards our neighbor and towards the whole of creation. Jesus on the Cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God’s love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection.” That is laying out the wages of sin in very blunt language, and not implying that it is someone else’s sin, either. To say, “Prepare well – prepare spiritually above all – in your communities, so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world” is also not letting anyone off easy. That is no cardboard, at least not to my ears. I hear that as a blunt challenge.

    After all, it is not the number of syllables in the words or the number of words in the sentences that counts. It is the amount of truth that the listener is required to face, and how squarely and fully the listener is required to face it that counts. Many of the “red letter” passages in the Gospels, after all, are the very ones that a ten year old can understand very well.

  53. boxerpaws1952 says:

    mamajen s .hope you understand .i wasn’t actually criticizing your comment as much as not being sure what you meant exactly. You’re half my age.So you see we begin to think in terms-at this age-more in terms of what we will not live to see and therefore what we hope for. That hope is for the generation that follows then.

  54. Juergensen says:

    I would like to ask of all those in a snit over the relative petty “changes” by Pope Francis: Why were you quiet when Pope Benedict XVI changed the formal title of the pope by eliminating “Patriarch of the West”, which was first adopted in the year 642 by Pope Theodore I?

    Why was that change by Pope Benedict XVI acceptable to you, but change by Pope Francis is a cause for derision by you?

  55. mamajen says:


    It’s quite alright! I didn’t feel like you were being critical. I was too vague at first and you challenged me to explain better. I’m sorry others interpreted that as “snark”–that’s not what I intended at all. I’ve seen countless examples of dumb youth outreach, and very few youth who actually stay with the Church, so that is coloring my opinion…but I’ll defer to the experts as far as how to best reach people.

  56. charismatictrad says:

    Good to see the pallium :-)

  57. Suburbanbanshee says:

    1. Actually, I seem to remember a lot of moaning and groaning and complaining about “Patriarch of the West” going west. A lot of people were convinced that B16 was a liberal at heart.

    2. Many of the complainers and worriers have calmed down a lot this week. Seeing B16 and F1 together seems to have been a real “strengthen the brethren” moment for some, although others found it weird and hard to process. (And it is weird and different, so they’re not wrong; it’s just not weird in a sinister way.)

  58. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I know that in a 2 hour youth program we give 15 minutes of dumbed down information with pizza and games for 100 kids. These are kids who go to school and learn physics, world history, literature and music and we somehow think good deep theological information is beyond them.
    They really are starving and the modern “revitalize the youth movement” is feeding them rotten food.
    Running around saying the youth are our future is the equivalent of “let them eat cake”
    I am not just annoyed with the sacrifice of substance in the name of “youth” but rather, I get in and get my hands dirty.”

    Unfortunately, I’m going to have to side with potato2, in general, in this matter. It is too early to say anything about Pope Francis viz., youth, but, in general, the extraordinary focus on the youth of today (quite unknown in times past – no, don’t quote me Socrates – I’m talking Catholic apologetics) is telling. The reason there is a focus on outreach to youth is because they no longer have a spiritual patrimony to fall back on. In times past, when there were intact families and respect for authority, the youth were gradually inculcated in the ways of adulthood. They were regarded as, “little men,” or “little women,” (c.f., Louisa May Alcott), but their primary contact was, first and foremost, with a history-preserving and presenting patrimony.

    Ever since Modernism destroyed (or, rather, infiltrated) the sense of historical continuity in so many areas, the youth have become rebels and often rebels standing on the shoulders of the ghosts of feelings rather than on the giants of truth – as a result, their, “grand experiments,”, their non-conformisms, more often than not, lack substance. When these youth grow up, they have nothing to pass on to their children except a vague sense of unease. Thus, it was in the 1970’s and early 1980’s.

    These children, for all of the outreach provided in modern times, will grow up little better than their parents unless they are drilled and drilled in the truth – unless a connection to the spiritual patrimony of the Church can be re-established. Moses said, “Take to heart these words I enjoin on you, today. Drill them into your children…” Pizza and a movie just won’t cut it. Going to a World Youth Day may show commitment, but it does not display learning. It does not display a practicality that incorporates and brings to focus the teachings of the Faith to the problems of modern life. Ask them whether or not abortion is wrong and 99% of these youth will say, yes. Ask them if what they see on t.v. or the Internet (whatever their daily habit) is worth watching (and if it isn’t, why are they?) and, maybe 60% will say, no, but 99% will go right on watching. Their feelings have completely swamped out their discipline. Now, this is a common occurrence in youth of any generation, but it is the intensity of the appeals to feelings over reason which is unparalleled with times, past.

    A feel-good conference, which is little more than a group sleep-over, won’t cut it. A thirty minute talk on some apologetically topic won’t cut it. These kid will have to go out and confront a world of other kids and adults who have no compunction about using any and every underhanded way to make a point, who are skilled in the art of reason just enough to sound intellectual and convincing, who have no sense of sin, who speak in analogies and metaphors and jump discourse levels with abandon, who want to dialogue and argue, but don’t believe that there are fixed and permanent truths about anything.

    There are 23 references to youths in the documents of Vatican II and 22 of them talk about the education of youth. Only one talks about the apostolic activity of youth. That ratio is reversed, as far as I can see, at things like, World Youth Day. We exort our kids to go out and conquer the world for Christ and, yet, they have less training in living the Faith in maturity than a 12 year old from 1850. Worse, they memorize answers from apologetics books and think they know the answers and are discouraged when their opponent easily gets the upper hand. Few kids are taught clear thinking, any more. Why should they be? Everything is provided for them. They don’t have to suffer and work and slave to find the answers to their problems. When they get stuck, they more often cry and rail instead of rolling up their sleeves and getting to work.

    What I am saying is that, while it is good to exort the youth to action, it is more important to first train them, slowly and clearly, so that when they do act, when they do attempt to bring Christ’s love to the world, they will have at least some clear idea what that love means. Many youth get caught up in the emotionalism of being a Catholic, but have no clue how to deal with their life when Catholicism becomes tedious, without any spiritual highs, or worse, a source of pain. These are the lessons, solutions, and encouragements that a good spiritual patrimony can provide to the youth. The only places I see this happening – and even then in a haphazard fashion – are in homeschooled youth.

    Youth have a lot to offer, but we must first offer them a stable base from which to build their brave new world. Adults have failed them, so far, and in the multi-media crazed world in which youth live today, I fear this will continue. St. Augustine heard a voice sysing, “Take and read.” He did not hear a voice saying, “Pass the popcorn.”

    Oh, if only youth could be quiet. If only they could focus. So often, what we present of Catholicism to the young should be labeled, CCD for the ADD. It was never this way in the past and I refuse to believe that children have mutated into substantially different beings in recent years, even if the world around them has. Teach the young, but first, be a true father or mother. That is what the Church must be for them, as well.

    The Chicken

  59. Juergensen says:


    Actually, there was nothing but glee from the orthodox when Pope Benedict XVI unilaterally eliminated “Patriarch of the West” as a title of the pope, as it was seen as an affirmation of the pope’s authority over the universal Church.

  60. mamajen says:

    @The Chicken


  61. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Chicken, interesting, as always.

    Don’t know as to how far I agree, but anyway it is worthy of making my mind up so far.

    Ask them whether or not abortion is wrong and 99% of these youth will say, yes.
    Which is good. What is, perhaps, more, my class of religion, in great majority non-practising with a teacher himself critical of the Church’s teaching on abortion, after being quietly presented the facts on it by this same teacher (a rare thing, and one that has my utmost respect), in something similar to unison said that using unnatural means to prevent birth is intrinsically evil. Wow.

    Ask them if what they see on t.v. or the Internet (whatever their daily habit) is worth watching (and if it isn’t, why are they?) and, maybe 60% will say, no, but 99% will go right on watching.
    Why are they? For the fun of it. The distinction of St. Thomas (S. th. II/II 141 VI ad 1) between absolute necessary and still necessary which is roughly everything becoming not prejudicial to necessities, would be, if it would be presented, felt as little more than a cop-out (a word I learned in this combox, thanks!). Maybe the boldness to call a feast “necessary” should be revived; but as it is it is, it is dead.

    Yet even so, the youth agrees and so do Catholics, that we are allowed very much we do not absolutely need. This, after all, is what freedom is about: being allowed to choose between unforbidden things, even things of different value, just as long as they have no definite disvalue.

    If we should find out that a certain programme is definitely, and objectively, and without reference to the standards of a past time, distasteful and only appealing because of stimulating sinful instincts, or so, it would be a different thing; but that case would need to be presented and estimated, and I might also say that youth is, regrettably, not alone in having diffuculties with overcoming sinful attachments.

    I agree, though, that it is dangerous to send people out for apostolate, nay more, urge them with a huge amount of moralizing, when they do not know what this means. If they are simply unknowing but fervent in their faith, then the danger is perhaps not as great; after all, they got a garantee of Holy Spirit assistance (not only youth, of course). Yet then they should, and will of themselves, learn. (This is not the time to talk much of the sin of curiosity, at least not where it refers to actual knowledge concerning the deposit of faith, or genuine science and philosophy, or so. Private revelations are another matter…)

    If, on the other hand, they have actually been infused problematic things, maybe danger comes in. The question “do you believe that?” is a valid one. So would be, in principle, “is your faith a living one?”, when strictly interpreted “did you not sin mortally since your last Confession”. (Only for good reasons we do not ask it.) Yet the question “do you really believe that?” with all possible emphasis on the “really”, is not a valid one. I do not look down on emotions, but creating a hill of guilt-feeling emotions for not feeling emotions and that without reason, is another thing.
    A Catholic should, ever more deeply, learn about Jesus Christ. Doing so, he sometimes will be converted from sins; sometimes feel that he had unconsciously known that a long time ago, and so on. A Catholic will, perhaps, even be perfected in morality, perhaps be granted some emotions of closeness to God. But it is wrong to formulate the task of “get to know Jesus Christ”. A Catholic does this, supernaturally, in the sacraments of the dead(!); naturally, in first education about some Bible stories of the Lord which precede the reception of Holy Communion. Surpassing all that is Holy Communion itself. Then he has a eo ipso a constant relationship with Our Lord which can only be broken from his part by mortal sin, but not by slackening in feeling the thing. To talk about “getting to know Jesus Christ” objectively borders on ingratitude.

    Some problems that might be dubbed “youth apostolate that does not accept child baptism”. I say “accept” in the sense apt for apostolate. They might quite well accept it for the authority that has enacted it; but while dissenting obedience, or obedience that does not admit to be dissenting, is enough to not-sin, it is not enough for apostolate. You can only propagandize for something you are convinced of.

    Yet the idea to get the youth together, older people absent, is in itself not bad. The young tend to actually want that, whatever the problem about older people telling them what to want. And the “youth has a right to youth”, some area for “youth must be led by youth”, and the rest that came with the Scouts (and the Wandering-Bird) was not totally dismissible. In citing the latter maxime, I have already given sufficient hint to inherent problematicism, but let us remember that the Hitler Youth rather abused these things than stemmed from them.

  62. Mariana says:

    TLM, Traductora,

    “The other one seems like he is ready to run away as Pope Francis is approaching and only stays when the priest next to him holds his elbow. Then he simply makes a little bow to the Pope but does not make the sign of the cross.”

    He is carrying things in both hands, maybe he turned aside try to give one of the things to someone so he could have his right hand free. As it is, he cannot make the sign of the cross, so the bow is in fact very nice.

  63. Anchorite says:

    My first thought when I saw the photos of the Palm Sunday procession was: “Who is this Anglican bishop?” Then I realized my mistake, and thought how Papal Pope Benedict XVI looked last year during the same ceremonies, wearing a beautiful mitre that he also wore for his installation, I think ( http://www.benediktxvi.ru/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=917&Itemid=75 ).
    Bp. Francis of Rome appears consistently “episcopal” while some Italian bishops look more “papal” (here is what Patriarch Moraglia of Venice looked like last year: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-mAN1apL5AeY/T3jgdu4gAsI/AAAAAAAABY4/j3JnjCyTHg0/s1600/moraglia+palme+2.jpg ,
    and Card. Scola of Milan here: http://milano.repubblica.it/cronaca/2013/03/24/foto/domenica_delle_palme_scola_cita_francesco_e_benedetto_xvi-55258862/1/ ).
    Better yet, here is Card. Bagnasco of Genoa from yesterday: http://telenord.it/2013/03/24/domenica-delle-palme-da-bagnasco-messaggio-di-pace/ – I guess he didn’t get that Mahony tweet! Man, he is so behind the program…

  64. Kathleen10 says:

    I defer to the wisdom of Fr. Z., certainly, and frequent commenters on this blog, regarding what we all know has been a time of “watching and waiting”. Let’s face it, it has been a time of uncertainty, and that seems natural given the rare nature of what we have experienced in the Church in the last few weeks. We should be vigilant about our beloved “Mother”.
    As for myself, the uneducated eye, I see a different style, certainly, but, one that still resonates in my heart and soul. I love the plain talk about the devil. I hear exhortations that are homier but retain the critical essence of the message, love Jesus and serve Him alone, love His Mother, and very importantly, know there is an evil force at work in the world and we must resist. Live life for God alone. He will hopefully touch the hearts of millions of Latinos who have become evangelicals to return home to the Roman Catholic Church. His style will touch the hearts of people who have perhaps been unable to relate to other styles of communicating, and right now, the Holy Spirit said we need Pope Francis. I listen to him with the intent of garnering what God is emphasizing at this point in time. He may be able to connect with secularists and humanists, and that would be an incredible thing, although I admit I found this unnerving. Even if they don’t know it, they search for God and have not been able to find Him. Maybe this Holy Father will touch their hearts of stone. Amen to that!
    I have the definite feeling, after seeing him walk out onto that loggia, and seeing him in photographs and short clips, that if any of us were to encounter him personally, we would be enveloped in warmth. I think as long as nothing is contrary to truth, we have a responsibility to extend our support and love to him.

  65. DisturbedMary says:

    dmwallace — Is not genuflecting after the Consecration a Jesuit thing? The one Jesuit-taught priest in my parish only bows.

  66. acardnal says:

    Chicken wrote, “Teach the young, but first, be a true father or mother. That is what the Church must be for them, as well.”

    Perhaps I misunderstood your point, but neither the Church, the government nor any other institution, can ever be an adequate substitute for two parents – a male and a female – and an intact family. Society’s acceptance of divorce and remarriage resulted in children with step-parents and various value systems inculcated in the offspring – especially regarding the meaning of love.

  67. Angie Mcs says:

    On this matter of the devil appearing as an angel or as a “good” person in order to deceive us: the Bible has many references to angels appearing, and people being afraid or in awe.

    Would you all know if this happened to you and that the person appearing to you was Satan? I have also been told that the closer you are to Christ, the more power for good you have, such as a priest, the more desirable target you are. I am not a priest, just an ordinary, weak person. I don’t know if I could discern who was in front of me if an angel appeared. I know the Church gives us many tools for strength -even if we use them regularly aren’t we still vulnerable? Please don’t laugh at me or think less of me for my question, my fear. I’d just like to know if any of you have thought of this.

  68. mamajen says:

    @Angie Mcs

    I’ve read up a bit on unapproved apparitions, and one of the main indicators as to whether it is likely genuine or not is what the apparition says. The devil can disguise himself, sure, but he can’t hide his true nature. This quote from Monsignor Farges (I know nothing about him, hopefully he is a good source) explains:

    “The signs of diabolical intervention are well known. The devil’s deeds always carry with them at least some ridiculous, unseemly, or coarse details; or even something opposed to faith and morals. If his vices were too obvious his influence would soon be unmasked; they are therefore always disguised under more or less inoffensive appearances, even under deceitful traits of virtue and sanctity. He transforms himself at will into an angel of light. God occasionally allows him to assume the most majestic forms, such as those of our Lord, the Blessed Virgin, or the saints. Nevertheless – for God could not otherwise permit it – the disguise, no matter how bold, is never complete, and he always betrays himself in some particular which cannot escape an attentive and prudent observer. Furthermore, the work of the devil becomes very soon unmasked by evil results, for an evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit.”

    But how many of us would be capable of attentive and prudent observance under such amazing circumstances? This is why if we were to have such a vision, we should seek out guidance immediately. Yeah, it’s definitely more than a little creepy to think about, but as long as we remember to think rationally and not emotionally, we needn’t be afraid.

  69. nanetteclaret says:

    mamajen & Angie Mcs –

    A good and holy priest once said that an apparition of Our Lord which does not have the marks of the Passion is not Our Lord. (I am assuming that pertains to apparitions of Our Lord as an adult and not as a child.) In addition, I have also heard that apparitions of Our Lady which do not show her (human) feet are suspect. This fits in with the apparitions seeming to appear correct, but with details amiss which give them away. “By their fruits you shall know them” also pertains to those who see apparitions. My understanding (extremely limited) is that the seers in approved apparitions always go on to lives of holiness as a religious (e.g., Bernadette). It seems suspect to me when seers claim to see Our Lady, but then do not give their lives to Our Lord.

    It seems to me that if we are well-versed in Sacred Scripture, we will know immediately when messages, actions, or fruits do not line up with the teachings of Our Lord and His Church.

  70. JacobWall says:

    @Angie Mcs,

    I believe mamajen’s advice of “seek out guidance immediately” is very sound. I cannot offer any wisdom, but I would also add pray as soon as it occurs to you. God hears our prayers. If it were the Enemy or one of his own, I don’t think they would be able to stand it.

    Finally, this is not only about appearances and encounters with angels. Such events leave us impacted, shocked and wondering. The devil appearing as an angel of light may come in many forms in our lives, and I believe that often the most subtle and unsuspecting aspects of hour lives in which this false “angel of light” does not even appear but quietly leads to do wrong or be ambivalent to good are more dangerous simply because they do not leave you shocked enough to wonder about or question them.

  71. boxerpaws1952 says:

    mamajen s . Now i understand what you were getting at. :)
    It’s funny. When we get older we hope in the youth who bring to the Church their vitality and exuberance. When we are young we hope in our elders to give us their experience and wisdom.I would be willing to bet that when the conclave was being held that some of the older folks thought we might get a younger pope;i bet some of the younger folks were hoping for a Pontiff around the same age as Pope Emeritus Benedict when he was first elected.
    The truth is only health of body might impede the exuberance of our elders and many of our saints were barely adults.IMHO though the reason we focus on youth is,as Blessed John Paul II knew,they are the future of the Church. We don’t discern a vocation at 60(generally speaking);we begin to do that-or should-in early adulthood.We can thank Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI for the seminarians the Church has had in recent years.
    You also said, they do not need anything “watered down” for them,Amen!
    Or as Chicken said, ” St. Augustine heard a voice saying, “Take and read.” He did not hear a voice saying, “Pass the popcorn.” good way of putting it.
    We seem to be watching Pope Francis almost like vultures though.I understand the caution but it’s becoming every little movement,twitch,syllable and my gosh did you see the way he looked at that guy?
    I noticed he did not sing or chant from the beginning and he continued not to sing or chant although i’ve seen him ATTEMPT to( i think during the Our Father.) At first you could have drawn the conclusion our new Pope was anti chant or singing.After this many times,his lack of one lung combined w/ his age-it’s not that he’s anti chant or singing. He probably can’t.He has an odd way of walking and although not crippled there is some minor health problem.
    We can certainly be honest in our assessment of the new Pope but could we be going just a little overboard? I feel like we will be getting out the microscope next.
    Two final thoughts,though i’ve rambled on plenty already.
    The exhortation in his homily that we must never be sad and his emphasis on joy.
    We wait in joyful hope for the coming of Our Savior comes to mind here. The best tool for evangelization may be our joy. The culture of death gives us gloom and doom.It has nothing else to offer. Maybe Pope Francis is not saying we won’t have pain,suffering,disappointments but we can show others the joy that comes from being grounded in our faith (in spite of difficulties).

    ” And he(Jesus) led them out until [they were] over against Bethany: and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.”
    It seems to me Pope Francis brings his own life experiences to the Pontificate;.Blessed John Paul brought his as did His Holiness Benedict the XVI. It doesn’t seem like you throw your past experience out the window when you become Pope.
    The other thought was re the Muslim outreach. I think Pope Benedict tried to have an open dialogue with Muslim leaders. I realize the Popes are men of peace;not men who beat the war drum. Unfortunately i don’t think you can have dialogue,let alone OPEN and HONEST dialogue with ppl who are not the least bit interested in talking things over.
    You can try(as PBXVI did)but from what i’ve seen and heard over the last 10 yr has convinced me peace is not in their vocabulary.

  72. JacobWall says:

    About World Youth Days, on one level, I agree with the skepticism expressed above, about the “meat” and substance of such events. On the other hand, when combined with influences of greater substance, such events can contribute in important ways to something good already happening:


    Obviously, this is just one story, and it’s very clear that other strong factors were already at play in this future-priest’s life. Yet seeing Blessed John Paul II, and hearing his simple exhortation was clearly one of the defining moments. Has anyone been similarly inspired by words from Benedict XVI, or from one of the few sermons of Pope Francis? We don’t know unless someone shares a story. I imagine, reading what we’re reading above, with other positive factors in their life present, the answer would be “yes.” Especially seeing the Pope in person for the first time, hearing such words in person could be very inspiring, even if the even as a whole does not offer much substance.

    We have to avoid extreme judgements, either placing too much hope and enthusiasm on the power of WYDs in and of themselves, but also writing them off too easily.

  73. jmgarciajr says:

    I gingerly step past the various points of contention to offer the following small insights:

    1- Pope Francis’ preaching style is VERY Jesuit. The “three points” thing, for one. Another Jesuit hallmark is a) saying what he’s going to say, b) saying it, and c) saying what it was he just said.

    2- To those of us who have been following now-Pope Francis, it’s amazing how much he’s sticking to prepared text. If you see videos of his homilies, you’ll notice there is hardly ever ANY prepared text. This pope loves to extemporize and, praise God, does so very well.

    3- After a Polish pope and a German one it takes some getting used to one who really — and I mean REALLY — talks with his hands.

  74. Anchorite says:

    Here is the latest ecumenical response to Bp. Francis’s extended hand to Islam: Allam leaves the Church: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2013/03/a-prominent-muslim-convert-leaves-the-catholic-church/

  75. Angie Mcs says:

    @ mamajen, nanetteclaret and JacobsWall, Many thanks for your responses. I do not go around in fear of this all the time, although I am aware of the spiritual warfare that is all around us. HH Francis homily and reference to the devil in this context set off this fear ” Do not listen” responds His Holiness, yet it takes some wisdom and strength to know what to do and even recognize what one is seeing or hearing.

    I am not expecting an apparition, nor do I go around in constant fear of one, but it seems a strong enough possibility to our Holy Father to bring this up during his homily on Palm Sunday. You have all brought up comforting ideas and thoughts. Yes, mamajen, it would certainly be the time to get help and guidance. I cannot imagine that I would be able to handle such a situation on my own. Also, I understand the concept of being pulled in a direction in which i should not go, and being pulled very subtlely, so that i am hardly aware. I will soon be coming upon my first year as a Catholic and one of the things I learned very clearly is what is at stake and the constant work I need to do. The devil is real, and the belief in his existence changes everything. I have been learning but have so much more to learn. As I learn more, I feel I will have more tools, clarity and strength with which to fight. In the meantime, I pray, go to mass and turn to the sacraments. But sometimes I feel especially vulnerable, and His Holiness’ ‘ words struck a chord. Thank you again for reaching out to me.

    I wish everyone here a blessed Holy Week and Happy Easter.

  76. mamajen says:

    @Angie Mcs

    Congratulations on becoming a Catholic! My husband is a convert, and I remember him being concerned about the devil as he was learning more about the faith. It’s good to be concerned about such things. Sometimes we “cradle Catholics” could use a reminder.

  77. McCall1981 says:

    I find it powerful that when Pope Francis speaks about topics like the devil, he does so in a matter-of-fact kind of way. He’s very stark and direct, and I think it adds a kind of urgency to what he’s saying. It’s the opposite of what you hear a lot, where people try to intellectualize the devil away into a kind of vague concept. He really brings home it into concrete reality, and I think that’s something we all really need.

  78. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Good grief mamajen says she’s “getting up there” at the ripe old age of 32?! (love your posts, dear – will say one to St. Gerard for you on the way home this evening)

    At my age my mindset is anybody under 45 should still be called “girl” or “boy”. (all with love)


    I hate getting old. :-/


  79. Traductora says:

    Chicken, I agree. The “youth” are being treated as if they were from solid Catholic families and backgrounds and schools and teaching (while nothing could be further from the truth!) and they just needed a bit of stirring up.

    However, I was at the Pope’s Palm Sunday Mass…which was attended by 25000 of my closest friends of any and all ages…and one of the things that he said really caught my attention. When he was talking to the “youth,” he said that we are all young in Christ, there is no one who is old.

    I went to World Youth Day in Madrid two years ago (and I’m not “youth” at all!) and I would say that about 25% of the attendees were not young in years, but were people who had suddenly decided to came back to the faith after seeing and hearing BXVI and were, in a sense, young and new in the faith.

    These events are essentially becoming big revivals. World Youth Day in Madrid brought thousands of adult Spaniards out of hiding and back to the faith. I was on a bus going back from the airfield where the event had been held – after a terrifying thunder and wind storm where only the prayerful presence of BXVI managed to stop a million people from panicking – and Spaniards in their 50s and 60s, some of them Madrilenos who had awakened at dawn with a sudden irresistible impulse to go out there and some people from the more remote parts of Spain who had been traveling for days, suddenly started singing and reciting prayers and even bursting into tears (the Spanish are usually very stoic and reserved).

    They were young and flowering again, after the terrible drought of Vatican II, and they came back to the Faith after their exile. I think this is what Francis wants to do in Brazil and everywhere.

  80. JacobWall says:

    @Angie Mcs

    “sometimes I feel especially vulnerable” – remember when we are weak, then we are strong. (2 Cor. 12:10)
    I’m just arriving at 2 years myself (April 24.)

  81. JacobWall says:


    Wonderful story! It reminds me of my father-in-law. Last year, for the first time in decades (or perhaps ever?) he sat through and listened to an entire Mass. It was Pope Benedict’s Mass at the Cerro de Cubilete in Guanajuato, Mexico (where the huge statue of Christ the King is.)

    On the next hill over is the village where he was born. He was so excited.

    Unfortunately, he could only watch it on T.V. I think if he had been able to go in person, the impact would’ve even been greater (and deeper.) Had I known he had any interest whatsoever, I would’ve bought his bus ticket for him. As things are, I don’t see him drawing any closer to the Church, unfortunately.

  82. Mary T, I’m going to remove your uncharitable, judgmental and invalid ad hominem from your comment to get the brass tacks of your rebuttal:

    “Christians are never to forsake joy, and joy is with us EVEN in the midst of sorrow. The REAL intellectual sloppiness is to imagine joy and sorrow to be mutually exclusive.”

    This isn’t a rebuttal at all, because I completely agree with you! You just proved my point. You do realize that my point was the Pope appeared to make them mutually exclusive, right? The Pope said pretty clearly that the Christian cannot be sad.

    This point is really bothering me. Even if we translate the word as depression or losing heart, those things don’t amount to the sin of despair.

    Our Blessed Lord, Himself, grew sorrowful and sad. Matt 26:36-37 — Then Jesus came with them into a country place which is called Gethsemani; and he said to his disciples: Sit you here, till I go yonder and pray. And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to grow sorrowful and to be sad.

    And a quick comment about Mary T’s vitriol. It certainly isn’t just her. I understand that people are being hyper-sensitive about any criticism of Pope Francis, but don’t blame those making the criticisms for this hyper-sensitivity. The questions ought to be asked: why are people getting so angry about perfectly valid criticisms, and what are these people trying to convince themselves of?

    I think that a goodly number of people are equating the Church with the Pope. A criticism of the Pope is considered to be an attack on the Church. This isn’t the case. There seems to be an overly simplistic understanding of papal primacy and how it is exercised, due largely, I suspect, on the Apologetics movement. I don’t know; that’s just the beginning of a thought. However, I do know that this phenomenon is as though there have been only four popes in the entire history of the Church and to criticize any one of them is tantamount to blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

  83. McCall1981 says:

    @ David Werling
    I really don’t think the Pope’s point is that Christians should literally never feel sadness. It’s an exhortation to have hope and faith. Jesus said, “do not be afraid”, no one takes that to mean that human beings should somehow literally never feel the emotion of fear.

    Sure some people may be overly anxious to defend Francis, but if you’re really saying “the Pope ordered us to never feel sadness again”, that seems to me like looking pretty hard to find a fault.

  84. mamajen says:

    @Midwest St. Michael

    You made me laugh! Thank you so much for your prayers.

  85. McCall1981 says:

    A little off topic, but NCR confirmed that Pope Francis did NOT say the quote about “the Carnival is over”. He said “I prefer not to” to Monsignor Marini.


  86. “I really don’t think the Pope’s point is…”

    Well, I’m interested in what the Pope is trying to say, not another’s interpretation.

    If we’re not supposed to take it literally, then what is the allegorical meaning? If a Christian can never be sad, then a Christian can’t be a human being in a fallen world. Obviously that is not what the Pope means, and I realize that, but the lack of specificity is intellectually sloppy. What is he, Pope Francis, and not a legion of his unsolicited defenders, trying to say here?

    When Our Blessed Lord said “be not afraid” the objects of fear are rather specific and obvious when you read them in context. Luke 12:4 — “Be not afraid of those who can kill the body.” John 6:20 — The disciples thought they were seeing a ghost walking on the water, and Jesus assures them “be not afraid it is I” as opposed to something that would harm them.

    Maybe you are referring to the “be not afraid” that Pope John Paul II delivered at his election. At that time, I figured he was referring to him being Polish, which I suppose could be frightening. (That was a joke, btw.)

    And even in this case, Pope John Paul II saying “be not afraid” is very different than if he had said “a Christian can never be afraid”. While the object of fear is ambiguous, we know that he isn’t speaking of the passion, but about an object of the passion.

    I’m certainly not going out of my way to find fault, since the words were emboldened above by Fr. Z, and I assume that that was done because he thought those words were somehow important or profound. If Fr. Z thinks they are important or profound, why should I be accused of grousing if I should critique them? If Fr. Z isn’t guilty of flattery by emboldening those words, then I’m certainly not guilty of grousing for questioning their meaning.

  87. Seerauber says:

    @David Werling

    So, to be clear and cut through the verbiage, you believe Pope Francis’ point was that “A Christian is never allowed to feel sad, for any reason.”?

  88. JacobWall says:


    Thanks for sharing! That article is most certainly a worthwhile read. Of course, a good article from NCR … who else but John Allen

  89. @Seerauber,

    I clearly stated the following: “If a Christian can never be sad, then a Christian can’t be a human being in a fallen world. Obviously that is not what the Pope means, and I realize that, but the lack of specificity is intellectually sloppy.”

    Did you catch that part of my last comment in reply to McCall1981?

    I think it pretty clear that I DON’T KNOW WHAT HIS POINT WAS because it was sloppy and unspecific! That’s certainly not my fault. I’m simply questioning why it was highlighted as important or profound when it really doesn’t seem to make any sense.

  90. California Girl 21 says:

    The “three word thing”–I’ve been wondering if that’s a deliberate, personal homiletic style of his. I had noticed it in several of his talks.

    It’s in this sermon (joy, Cross, young), and the sermon at the cardinals’ Mass (walking, building, professing).

    But also in his meeting with the journalists (truth, beauty, and goodness); Sunday at St Anne’s (Jesus praying alone, then being with the people, then alone with the woman); his inaugural homily (Joseph protected with discreet silence, faithful attentiveness, and tender goodness); his audience with the diplomats (fighting poverty, building peace, and constructing bridges).

    It’s interesting to hear that this is part of his Jesuit culture. (And nice to know that I was not imagining things!)

  91. Katylamb says:

    What does he mean? I don’t see how it is confusing. He said “Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! ”

    He’s talking about basic attitude here when he says “men and women of sadness” and “never give way.” It seems clear to me that he means that we are not to be sad people in our basic outlook, not that we can never experience the feeling of sadness. Of course we can be sad if someone dies or for another reason, but experiencing sorrow will not make us men and women of sadness. A Christian should always have that underlying joy that is Christ. Jesus even mentions that joy in the bible so how can it be sloppy?

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