Today our new Pope spoke to a group of people I would not have guessed he would have spoken to: journalists... yikes!
Secular journalists are, on the whole, a vilified breed (at times justly so), some branches of the religious press we consider are even worse (they should know better), and just a few are decent religious journalists. For me, those of The Catholic Herald are some of the decent ones! But of course this vilifying is not of Christ...so what did our Pope Francis do?
Many told us that Pope Francis is media shy, but today he granted an audience to over 5000 journalists and their families. Our Pope of surprises strikes again! Here are just a couple of quotes that are interesting:
We aren’t called to communicate about ourselves, but on this trinity of truth, goodness and beauty...
Your work needs study, sensibility, experience like all other professions, but needs to also give special attention to truth, goodness and beauty...
My ears pricked up because these themes are of course ones that our last holy Father emphasised time and time again, and are, I think, crucial in our understanding of the New Evangelisation. Inviting journalist to effectively be part of this work was a master-stroke.
Last summer my attention was drawn to these three 'transcendentals', as they are known, when we listened to Prof Tracey Rowland speak to us about the Ordinariate and the New Evangelisation.
He also explained how he came to choose "Francis" and also the implications of this for the Church, especially our call to serve the poor. ( For more go here.)
Cardinals at the Clementine Hall
I keep on returning to Pope Francis' talk to the Cardinals in the Clementine Hall. During it he spoke warmly of the spiritual patrimony of Pope Benedict XVI, and rightly pointed out that we will all continue to benefit from it. He drew attention to the action and presence of the Holy Spirit in the Conclave but also through all the work of the Church, reminding us that although the Paraclete gives us different charisms he also draws us together in unity. Where the Spirit is, there is harmony.
I also loved the way in which he acknowledged age in the company of Cardinals, but also said that like good wine, those who sit on the seat of wisdom need to pass this on to the young.
The full text can be found here.
The other thing I've noticed is that our new Papa is not afraid to mention the Devil. Not that our previous Holy Fathers eschewed mentioning him, but it might be just me but it does seem the Devil has been mentioned several times. In the Clementine Hall he said:
Let us never give in to pessimism, to that bitterness that the devil tempts us with every day. Let us not give into pessimism and let us not be discouraged. We have the certainty that the Holy Spirit gives His Church, with His powerful breath, the courage to persevere, the courage to persevere and to search for new ways to evangelise, to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Christian truth is attractive and convincing because it responds to the deep need of human existence, announcing in a convincing way that Christ is the one Saviour of the whole of man and of all men. This announcement is as valid today as it was at the beginning of Christianity when the Church worked for the great missionary expansion of the Gospel.These are wonderful words we shall need to keep reminding ourselves of. The Devil will of course be trying to have a go at anything that is building up the Church. While we know that the Devil cannot have final victory, nor that he will prevail over the Church, nevertheless we need to make sure that we keep up the prayer, as our Holy Father keeps inviting us to do.
We could do much worse than try to follow Pope Francis' lead and pray the Rosary each day - or as much of it as our circumstances will allow.