There’s still so much to say about Pope Francis. I could probably link and quote and post and link all night, just based on what has surfaced today.
But before I start a massive link-up, I’d just like to ask…
Has anyone read Cardinal Sodano’s homily before the Cardinals went into the conclave? It’s hard for me to believe no one has pointed this out yet, but I haven’t seen it anywhere. After reading Cardinal Sodano’s homily on Tuesday morning, I almost immediately wondered which Cardinal had dedicated their ministry to serving the poor. That would be our next Pope, I surmised.
If you remember, Cardinal Ratzinger’s homily before the conclave pointed towards the need to preach to a world held under a dictatorship of relativism. So the Cardinals went into the conclave and elected Ratzinger. With that in mind, I paid attention to Cardinal Sodano’s homily. What was the second-to-last message they would hear? (There was also a homily preached after everyone else left the Sistine Chapel.) The homily was about the Bishop of Rome’s responsibility to serve.
“This mission of mercy has been entrusted by Christ to the pastors of his Church. It is a mission that must be embraced by every priest and bishop, but is especially entrusted to the Bishop of Rome, Shepherd of the universal Church. It is infact to Peter that Jesus said: Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?… Feed my lambs (John 21:15). In his commentary on these words, St. Augustine wrote: ‘May it be therefore the task of love to feed the flock of the Lord’ … It is indeed this love that urges the Pastors of the Church to undertake their mission of service of the people of every age, from immediate charitable work even to the highest form of service, that of offering to every person the light of the Gospel and the strength of grace.
This is what Benedict XVI wrote in his Lenten Message for this year (#3). ‘Sometimes we tend, in fact, to reduce the term “charity” to solidarity or simply humanitarian aid. It is important, however, to remember that the greatest work of charity is evangelization, which is the “ministry of the word”. There is no action more beneficial – and therefore more charitable – towards one’s neighbour than to break the bread of the word of God, to share with him the Good News of the Gospel, to introduce him to a relationship with God: evangelization is the highest and the most integral promotion of the human person.'”
Charity — both in word and deed. Serving the poor and preaching the Gospel.
Sodano also spoke about unity, but then before closing he returned to this theme of service and charity. “…this service of charity is part of the intimate nature of the Church. Pope Benedict XVI reminded us of this fact when he said: “The service of charity is also a constitutive element of the Church’s mission and an indispensable expression of her very being… It is a mission of charity that is proper to the Church, and in a particular way is proper to the Church of Rome, that in the beautiful expression of St. Ignatius of Antioch, is the Church that ‘presides in charity”… My brothers, let us pray that the Lord will grant us a Pontiff who will embrace this noble mission with a generous heart.”
I’m not saying that Sodano told them who to vote for and they all obeyed. But it seems that after weeks of speaking about what the Church needs, and days of General Congregation meetings, perhaps this homily was culmination of all those discussions.
I hope everyone has had a chance to hear all the wonderful stories emerging — that he came out to the Square to greet the people before he was finished greeting each staff member, because he felt sorry for the people standing in the cold waiting; that he rode the bus back to the Domus Sanctae Marthae with the other cardinals, instead of taking the police-escorted car; that after the cardinals toasted him at dinner, he toasted them, saying, “May God forgive you;” that he returned to his hotel today to get his things, pay his bill, and greet the hotel staff.
John Thavis has an account on his blog: Doing it His Way
George Weigel’s analysis of everything is great: The First American Pope
Video of Cardinal Dolan answering questions about Pope Francis
The U.S. Cardinals’ thoughts: U.S. cardinals describe Pope Francis as ideal choice for modern times
Father Barron’s take: Word from Rome
And, perhaps the most important link, Pope Francis’ homily this morning
One story that touched me particularly was about the way Cardinal Bergoglio chose to spend Holy Thursday in 2005. He celebrated Mass at a maternity hospital with expectant and new mothers. He washed their feet (and yes, traditionalists would probably go nuts over it, but I’m willing to give him a pass for this-)
“Some of you are holding your babies in your arms. Others of you are carrying them in your womb. All of you are women who have chosen life. I, as a priest, am going to repeat the act of Jesus, and carry out a concrete act of service for women who have said yes to life. In washing your feet, I am washing those of all mothers, and of my mother, who felt me in her womb.”
And if this doesn’t make you tear up/give you the chills/make you excited to be Catholic… you must not be Catholic. ; )