Tag Archives: Pope John Paul II

Pope Francis – There’s More Here than Politics

26 May Pope Francis Internet Memes - The Heart of the Matter
 I was struck during the events leading up to the election of Pope Francis. I got zero work done
the day the white smoke went up. I was glued to the streaming video feed from the Vatican. The
time between the white smoke and the actual announcement of exactly who was chosen to be the
new pope was almost unbearable. I was filled with so much anticipation and I just wanted to see
who it was. What was interesting for me and my friends was how much our experience contrasted
that of the recent presidential elections in our own country. We didn’t have the same sort of worry
or anxiety about who the next elected official would be, and where his ideologies would lead his us.
Our lives can change drastically depending on which civil politician is elected to office, and there is
a lot of uncertainty. It could go either way, if the wrong person is elected, it could damage this
country; and all my hope for a new beginning of the new age of prosperity, whatever, rides on the
right guy getting elected.
Pope Francis - There’s More Here than Politics
On the other hand, during these recent events in Rome, no one campaigned or tried to impress
us or dissuade us from liking his opponents. We weren’t swept up into the speculations between
the popular categories of ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative.’ To us, it didn’t matter who was elected. In my
friends who have met Christ and are changed by Him, I have found something exceptional,
something that provokes me and promises fulfillment and this is irrevocable. Images of Saint
Peter’s Square from that night come to mind. It was filled with Romans and pilgrims from across
the globe with signs that read “viva il papa”, long live the pope. It didn’t matter who would come out
those balcony doors. All those people were there and so excited and so happy to meet the new
pope, which means ‘papa.’  The words, “We have a pope” were such beautiful words to finally hear.
When Pope Benedict XVI announced he was stepping down, I was confronted with a unique
situation, and I was first confused and saddened. But it wasn’t the end of me, nor of my
religio-politcal leanings or ideologies. I was sad to see Benedict go, but I was certain the people of
the world would be guided well by the new pope. And indeed, I think we will be guided very well by
Pope Francis, I already feel an affection for him. His concrete gestures of humility and poverty, as
one of if not the most influential figure on the planet, really stick in my imagination. Its enjoyable to
watch the popular media scramble to squeeze him into one of their preconceived political
categories, “is he conservative or liberal?” Neither. He is pre-political. He proposes Christ to us;
reminds us of who loves our destiny truly. It’s not Obama and its not Romney.

– PJ Butler

In other news, Pope Francis internet Memes:

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The Strength to Forgive

11 Jul

What does it take to forgive? In our media-saturated world increasingly focused on scandal and violence, we rarely see public examples of reconciliation. In March of 2000, Pope John Paul II arrived in Israel for a historic visit to the holy land. His mission was simple: to dialogue, to love, and to seek forgiveness.

Perhaps the climax of this trip was a visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Amid a historical record that has seen violence at times perpetuated by Christians in the name of Jesus against their neighboring Jews, John Paul II offered a prayer of forgiveness. He wrote,  “[W]e are deeply saddened by the behavior of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer, and asking your forgiveness we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the Covenant.”

Pope John Paul II at the Wailing Wall

Pope John Paul II at the Wailing Wall

The prayer offered is a foundational act of the Church–to be reconciled with others, to both offer and seek forgiveness. There are many (perhaps now reading this) who tremble at the thought of entering a church, let alone to sit, stand, or kneel in attendance at a Mass. There are some who have felt injustice and been wronged by a member of the Church. Their experience may have caused them to grow cynical and disaffected. They may even view the Church as out of touch and unapproachable.

For those who live everyday with an experience like this–we are deeply sorry. To be called to a life of Christ is to be called to be reconciled with one another. The Church aims to bring all together for dialogue and to seek forgiveness for past wrongs. And, however clumsily She may have done so in the past and present, She still offers a hand to all seeking reconciliation and peace. It is a hard but beautiful thing to say to another, “I forgive you,” but it may change–and save–your life forever.

– Tim DeCelle