This is an interview with Pope Francis, six months ago. He begins reflecting on the Year of Faith and the idolatrous ideologies of relativism and consumerism.
I think this interview helps to explain Pope Francis' exhortations on Poverty in the Year of Faith. I think also helps us to understand continuity between Pope Benedict's teaching and the thought of our new Pope Francis. Goodness knows he hasn't had the chance to explain himself yet - so this really helps.
Superfluous Spending: First the Pope mentions what is spent on pets. Now I know there are a lot of pet owners out there (we have tropical fish at the presbytery), so this is very challenging. He suggests we idolise our pets - they become too important, and we end up spending money needlessly on them. Many years ago I read a statistic that suggested we spend more on pet food than on overseas aid. I suspect it might still be true looking at some shopping trolleys. Secondly he criticised the spending on cosmetics: millions spent on our visual appearance yet there are children dying in poverty. He says, Pope Benedict speaks about beauty of the Spirit, but so many people are spending money on a beauty that is transient, whilst also ignoring the poverty in the world.
This is of course tremendously important teaching and the Pope is drawing our attention to the plight of the poor in the world in order to lure us away from our idolatries - our superfluous spending.
Theological Virtues: he shows how this divine gift of faith, hope and love, given at baptism is diminished by our self-sufficiency.
Latin American Catholic Culture: he tells of how the Latin American Catholic Culture can be a resource for all the Church. He speaks of devotion to Our Lady, the Saints, the Incarnation and Redemption. He believes modern relativism is trying to erode our faith, but this popular devotion in Latin American through grace will, he thinks, resist.
Prayer: The Pope asks, how do we pray? It is not just asking God and thanking Him. Do you adore Him in your prayers? He says, as well as Catholics being mendicants (beggars) we need to make sure our prayer builds up our faith. He suggests if we do not worship God, truly worship God, we will replace God with something else - which is idolatry (worship our pets, worship our appearance ...).
Wednesday, 20 March 2013
An Ordinariate priest who operates within the diocese of Brentwood has contributed the following to a discussion on a blog and I thought it worth sharing as a post:
Pope Francis’ recent comments have made me think quite deeply about the Ordinariate and its contribution to mission. The more I think (always dangerous) the more I wonder if we might not have a particular role to play in the pope’s prophetic vision of a “poor church”. We are travelling light: few buildings, no pensions, masses at ‘inconvenient times’. But our priests are working hard, looking after ordinariate groups, but also serving diocesan parishes where there is a shortage of priests, spending hours in schools, and assisting the local dioceses whenever there is need. Our laity are giving generously (considerably more so than many diocesan catholics), they are using their different skills to serve the ordinariate and wider catholic church, they have left the comfort and security of the buildings they have worshipped in all their lives, they now worship at times which may be inconvenient but they do so happily and rejoice to be Catholics. Our congregations are growing as diocesan catholics attend (often in addition to attending a diocesan mass) because they feel nourished by this particular approach to homiletics and liturgy. And passers by come in and links are made and the new evangelization lives.
It may just be that this pontificate will enable us to understand ourselves and our patrimony a little more. In any case, we should not worry but simply be faithful. We joined the ordinariate because we believed it offered a means for mission. We will be known by our fruits ... Fr David Waller
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