Posted by: Walk.Build.Proclaim | September 23, 2013

A Big Heart Open to God…a lay persons response

Thursday September 19th turned out to be a historic day. Thursday Sept. 19th was the day that the groundbreaking and historical interview with Pope Francis was published across the globe in 16 different Jesuit Publications, simultaneously.

Its been Titled A Big Heart Open to God…a lay persons response.  pope1_0

Since the publication was released, there has been a variety of response / analysis from people like Chris Matthews on Hardball. There were segments dedicated to the interview on CNN. Journalists and Bloggers have weighed in about what the Pope said in this interview. Some have looked at and interpreted what Pope Francis did and didn’t say.

I had been thinking about how this blogger wanted to respond, after all the blog’s title came from Pope Francis’s first homily to the Cardinals the day after he was elected Pope, he told the Cardinals their job was to Walk.Build.Proclaim.  As seems to be Pope Francis style, he knew he wasn’t solely speaking to the audience in front of him, the message was meant for his whole flock.

Sunday Sept. 22nd an article from David Gibson, Religion News Service surfaced. David Gibson looked at 5 Things we learned about Pope Francis blockbuster Interview.

In that vein, of the 5 Things we learned about Pope Francis, I would like to share the 5 things that I learned FROM Pope Francis and will take with me into my Ministry. (My response will be split into two parts just for lengths sake.) Watch for part two on Tuesday!

1. It’s OK to admit your faults and learn and grow from them! 

The very first question asked by Antonio Spodaro, S.J. is;  “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” He stares at me in silence. I ask him if I may ask him this question. He nods and replies: “I ​​do not know what might be the most fitting description…. I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.”

This is one of the “sound bites” that has gotten a lot of attention and for good reason. Who would expect the answer that Pope Francis gave, “I am a sinner?”  We tend to hold the office of Pope and the person who holds that office to a higher standard. The response is a good reminder for all of us Catholic or not, that Pope Francis is as human as the rest of us are. He has faults, just as we all have faults. Everyday he strives to live a better life and make a mends.  I personally appreciated the realization that we all have some course corrections to make in our lives, and it’s OK.

2:  Consultation is key!  I was personally very impressed and excited to read about Pope Francis’s desire for consultation. Not just consultation with one or two people, but with as many people as possible or reasonable that is related to any particular topic / issue or reform.  Pope Francis clearly stated that he learned from the mistakes he made at a young age when put in a position of authority.

I have worked with a variety of people that have made broad stroke decisions with little or no consultation, inevitably the decisions that were made didn’t serve the needs of the people very well. When true consultation and collaboration take place is when the best changes / reforms take place and people are better served.

3. Young & Old Churches: It wasn’t that long ago that there were some 3.1 Million People Young Adults in Rio De Janeiro celebrating World Youth Day 2013. They were singing and dancing with the Pope as he celebrated Mass on Copacabana Beach. As we saw footage of this in the United States and around the world, there was a sense of the church being alive and thriving. The question looms about how a young church finds their place in a church that is steeped in tradition. How do these two “generations” learn to co-exist and learn from each other?   The Popes response was; “The young Catholic churches, as they grow, develop a synthesis of faith, culture and life, and so it is a synthesis different from the one developed by the ancient churches. For me, the relationship between the ancient Catholic churches and the young ones is similar to the relationship between young and elderly people in a society. They build the future, the young ones with their strength and the others with their wisdom. You always run some risks, of course. The younger churches are likely to feel self-sufficient; the ancient ones are likely to want to impose on the younger churches their cultural models. But we build the future together.”

I worked in Youth Ministry for 17-years. During that lifetime, I repeatedly saw the coming together of the young and the older; they learned from each other, and they shared faith journey’s and learned what it meant for each generation to live the gospel. I completely agree with Pope Francis that one generation isn’t better than the other, they need each other to learn from, this is when there are vibrant communities of prayer and worship.

I will be back with my last two areas of response. I’d love to hear (read) what any of your thoughts are related to this historical interview.  Feel free to leave a comment, thought, reaction to the Pope Francis Interview.


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Gary Neal Hansen

Theology. It's good for you.

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