Pope Francis (born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on 17 December 1936) is the current Pope of the Catholic Church. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as the son of Italian parents, Bergoglio worked briefly as a chemical technician and nightclub bouncer before entering the seminary. He was ordained a priest in 1969, and from 1973 to 1979 was Argentina's Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus. On being elected Pope on 13 March 2013, he chose the papal name Francis in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi.
- The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.
- Said during a gathering of Latin American bishops, as quoted in 'Option for the Poor' alive and well in Latin America, National Catholic Reporter (21 May 2007)
- El cristiano ve a la Iglesia como Cuerpo de Cristo, como el recipiente que guarda íntegro el depósito de la fe, como la Esposa fiel que comunica sin mengua ni falta todo lo que Cristo le dejó como encargo … La Iglesia como realidad “santificada” plenamente y capaz de recibir y de comunicar — sin errores ni carencias, desde su propia pobreza y aun con sus pecados — toda la santidad de Dios, no es un “complemento” o un “agregado institucional” a Jesucristo, sino participación plena de su Encarnación, de su Vida, de su Pasión, muerte y Resurrección. … Al defender su pureza, su indefectibilidad, su santidad de Esposa, la Iglesia está defendiendo el “lugar” por donde pasa el Don la Vida de Dios al mundo y el don de la vida del mundo a Dios. Este don – cuya expresión más plena es la Eucaristía – no es un don más entre otros sino del don total de la Vida más íntima de la Trinidad que se derrama para la vida del mundo y la vida del mundo asumida por el Hijo que se ofrece al Padre.
- The Christian sees the Church as the Body of Christ, as the vessel that guards with absolute integrity the deposit of faith, as the faithful Spouse who communicates without addition or subtraction all that Christ entrusted. … The Church as a fully “sanctified” reality and capable of receiving and of communicating – without error or defect, from its own poverty and even with its own sins — the full sanctity of God, is not a “complement” or an “institutional addition” to Jesus Christ, but a full participation of his Incarnation, of His Life, of His Passion, death and Resurrection. … In defending its purity, its indefectibility, its sanctity as the bride, the Church is defending the “place” through which the gift of the life of God passes on to the world and the gift of the life of the world to God. This gift – the fullest expression of which is the Eucharist – is not another gift among ourselves but the supreme gift of the most intimate life of the Trinity that poured forth for the life of the world and the life of the world assumed by the Son that is offered to the Father.
- Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that creates huge inequalities.
- Said in criticism of the government of Néstor Kirchner, former President of Argentina, in 2009, as quoted in "Pope Francis: the humble pontiff with practical approach to poverty" by Mark Rice-Oxley, in The Guardian (13 March 2013)
- Está en juego la vida de tantos niños que serán discriminados de antemano privándolos de la maduración humana que Dios quiso se diera con un padre y una madre. Está en juego un rechazo frontal a la ley de Dios, grabada además en nuestros corazones.
Recuerdo una frase de Santa Teresita cuando habla de su enfermedad de infancia. Dice que la envidia del Demonio quiso cobrarse en su familia la entrada al Carmelo de su hermana mayor. Aquí también está la envida del Demonio, por la que entró el pecado en el mundo, que arteramente pretende destruir la imagen de Dios: hombre y mujer que reciben el mandato de crecer, multiplicarse y dominar la tierra. No seamos ingenuos: no se trata de una simple lucha política; es la pretensión destructiva al plan de Dios. No se trata de un mero proyecto legislativo (éste es sólo el instrumento) sino de una “movida” del padre de la mentira que pretende confundir y engañar a los hijos de Dios.
Jesús nos dice que, para defendernos de este acusador mentiroso, nos enviará el Espíritu de Verdad.
- Letter to nuns of Buenos Aires, regarding a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children in Argentina (6 July 2010), as quoted in "Nuevo papa Francisco I se pronunció en 2010 contra el matrimonio gay" in Globovision (13 March 2013)
- At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God's law engraved in our hearts. … Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God's plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a "move" of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.
- Variant translation: Let's not be naïve, we're not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.
- This is what I want, a poor Church for the poor.
- First audience at the Vatican, as quoted in Pope Francis describes wish for 'poor church for the poor', NBC News, (16 March 2013)
- The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. "But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good." Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him. Instead, this "closing off" that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God. That we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.
- The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! "Father, the atheists?" Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. "But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!" But do good: we will meet one another there.
- As quoted in "Pope at Mass: Culture of encounter is the foundation of peace" at Vatican Radio (22 May 2013)
- You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying — and this is the fundamental thing — that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.
- As quoted in "Leading Atheist: Pope Francis “Is The Kind Of World Leader We Need”" by Joe Keohane, at Esquire (12 September 2013)]
- The Marxist ideology is wrong. But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended. … The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefiting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor. This was the only reference to a specific theory. I was not, I repeat, speaking from a technical point of view but according to the church’s social doctrine. This does not mean being a Marxist.
- Response to critics who have called him a Marxist, because of his criticism of capitalist theories in "Pope Francis: I’m Not a Marxist" in TIME magazine (15 December 2013)
Interview in La Repubblica (2013)
- Interviewed in "How the Church will change" by Eugenio Scalfari in La Repubblica (1 October 2013), as translated from Italian to English by Kathryn Wallace
- Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us. Sometimes after a meeting I want to arrange another one because new ideas are born and I discover new needs. This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.
- Agape, the love of each one of us for the other, from the closest to the furthest, is in fact the only way that Jesus has given us to find the way of salvation and of the Beatitudes.
- Ignatius, for understandable reasons, is the saint I know better than any other. He founded our Order. I'd like to remind you that Carlo Maria Martini also came from that order, someone who is very dear to me and also to you. Jesuits were and still are the leavening not the only one but perhaps the most effective — of Catholicism: culture, teaching, missionary work, loyalty to the Pope. But Ignatius who founded the Society, was also a reformer and a mystic. Especially a mystic.
- mystics is a philosophy.
- mystics; Francis also was in many aspects of his life, but I do not think I have the vocation and then we must understand the deep meaning of that word. The mystic manages to strip himself of action, of facts, objectives and even the pastoral mission and rises until he reaches communion with the Beatitudes. Brief moments but which fill an entire life.
- When the conclave elected me Pope. Before I accepted I asked if I could spend a few minutes in the room next to the one with the balcony overlooking the square. My head was completely empty and I was seized by a great anxiety. To make it go way and relax I closed my eyes and made every thought disappear, even the thought of refusing to accept the position, as the liturgical procedure allows. I closed my eyes and I no longer had any anxiety or emotion. At a certain point I was filled with a great light. It lasted a moment, but to me it seemed very long. Then the light faded, I got up suddenly and walked into the room where the cardinals were waiting and the table on which was the act of acceptance. I signed it, the Cardinal Camerlengo countersigned it and then on the balcony there was the '"Habemus Papam".
- [St. Francis] is great because he is everything. He is a man who wants to do things, wants to build, he founded an order and its rules, he is an itinerant and a missionary, a poet and a prophet, he is mystical. He found evil in himself and rooted it out. He loved nature, animals, the blade of grass on the lawn and the birds flying in the sky. But above all he loved people, children, old people, women. He is the most shining example of that agape we talked about earlier.
- I say that politics is the most important of the civil activities and has its own field of action, which is not that of religion. Political institutions are secular by definition and operate in independent spheres. All my predecessors have said the same thing, for many years at least, albeit with different accents. I believe that Catholics involved in politics carry the values of their religion within them, but have the mature awareness and expertise to implement them. The Church will never go beyond its task of expressing and disseminating its values, at least as long as I'm here.
- I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God, there is God and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation. Jesus is my teacher and my pastor, but God, the Father, Abba, is the light and the Creator. This is my Being.
- God is the light that illuminates the darkness, even if it does not dissolve it, and a spark of divine light is within each of us. In the letter I wrote to you, you will remember I said that our species will end but the light of God will not end and at that point it will invade all souls and it will all be in everyone.
- I think so-called unrestrained liberalism only makes the strong stronger and the weak weaker and excludes the most excluded. We need great freedom, no discrimination, no demagoguery and a lot of love. We need rules of conduct and also, if necessary, direct intervention from the state to correct the more intolerable inequalities.
- We will also discuss the role of women in the Church. Remember that the Church (la chiesa) is feminine.
- Transcendence remains because that light, all in everything, transcends the universe and the species it inhabits at this stage.
The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium)
- Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.
- Section 54
- While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.
- Section 56
- Inconsistency on the part of pastors and the faithful between what they say and what they do, between word and manner of life, is undermining the Church’s credibility.
- As quoted in AWAKE! (February 2014)
- The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity, this is something truly good, a gift from God.
- … exclude the need for appearances: what counts is not appearances; the value of life does not depend on the approval of others or on success, but on what we have inside us.
- When we shut ourselves in any form of selfishness or self-complacency; when we allow ourselves to be seduced by worldly powers and by the things of this world, forgetting God and neighbour; when we place our hope in worldly vanities, in money, in success. Then the Word of God says to us: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”. Why are you searching there? That thing cannot give you life! Yes, perhaps it will cheer you up for a moment, for a day, for a week, for a month … and then?
- I urge you to work together in promoting a true, worldwide ethical mobilization which, beyond all differences of religious or political convictions, will spread and put into practice a shared ideal of fraternity and solidarity, especially with regard to the poorest and those most excluded.
- Children have the right to grow up in a family with a father and mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child's development and emotional maturity. Today marriage and the family are in crisis. We now live in a culture of the temporary, in which more and more people are simply giving up on marriage as a public commitment. The revolution in mores and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.
- The human heart desires joy. We all desire joy, every family, every people aspires to happiness. But what is the joy that the Christian is called to live out and bear witness to? It is the joy that comes from the closeness of God, from his presence in our life. From the moment Jesus entered into history, with his birth in Bethlehem, humanity received the seed of the Kingdom of God, like the soil receives the seed, the promise of a future harvest.
- Not only does each person have the freedom and the right to say what they think for the common good, they have a duty to do so Because while it is true that is wrong to react with violence, If my good friend Mr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch in the nose. … It's normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others. … There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others. They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to Mr Gasparri if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a limit. … One cannot make war… kill in the name of one’s own religion, that is, in the name of God.
- Statements quoted in ("Pope Francis: 'You cannot make fun of the faith of others'" 2015)
Encyclical Letter Laudato si' of the Holy Father Francis on Care for Our Common Home
- Saint Francis of Assisi ... felt called to care for all that exists. His disciple Saint Bonaventure tells us that, “from a reflection on the primary source of all things, filled with even more abundant piety, he would call creatures, no matter how small, by the name of ‘brother’ or ‘sister’”. Such a conviction cannot be written off as naive romanticism, for it affects the choices which determine our behaviour. If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously. The poverty and austerity of Saint Francis were no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled.
- § 11
- Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. ... To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues. It is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption.
- § 50
- Economic powers continue to justify the current global system where priority tends to be given to speculation and the pursuit of financial gain, which fail to take the context into account, let alone the effects on human dignity and the natural environment. Here we see how environmental deterioration and human and ethical degradation are closely linked. Many people will deny doing anything wrong because distractions constantly dull our consciousness of just how limited and finite our world really is.
- § 56
- Everything is connected. Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society.
- § 91
- Moreover, when our hearts are authentically open to universal communion, this sense of fraternity excludes nothing and no one. It follows that our indifference or cruelty towards fellow creatures of this world sooner or later affects the treatment we mete out to other human beings. We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationships with other people.
- § 92
Quotes about Francis
- Sorted alphabetically by author or source
- The papacy is mysterious and magical: it turns a septuagenarian into a superstar while revealing almost nothing about the man himself. And it raises hopes in every corner of the world — hopes that can never be fulfilled, for they are irreconcilable. The elderly traditionalist who pines for the old Latin Mass and the devout young woman who wishes she could be a priest both have hopes. The ambitious monsignor in the Vatican Curia and the evangelizing deacon in a remote Filipino village both have hopes. No Pope can make them all happy at once.
- Howard Chua-Eoan and Elizabeth Dias, in "Pope Francis, The People’s Pope" in TIME magazine (11 December 2013)
- The five words that have come to define both the promise and the limits of Francis’ papacy came in the form of a question: “Who am I to judge?” That was his answer when asked about homosexuality by a reporter in July. Many assumed Francis, with those words, was changing church doctrine. Instead, he was merely changing its tone, searching for a pragmatic path to reach the faithful who had been repelled by their church or its emphasis on strict dos and don’ts. Years of working closely with parish priests have taught him that the church seemed more comfortable with narrow issues than human complexity, and it lost congregants and credibility in the bargain. He is urging his army to think more broadly.
- Howard Chua-Eoan and Elizabeth Dias, in "Pope Francis, The People’s Pope" in TIME magazine (11 December 2013)
- Francis and Benedict appear to get on well: both men flatter each other, and Francis was especially generous with quotations from Benedict in his recent exhortation. In any case, Francis needs to keep his predecessor on his side, for it was Benedict who codified the conservative views of John Paul II, the hero of many Catholics, particularly those on the right of the spectrum.
Francis will continue the policy of both John Paul II and Benedict on détente and fraternal relations with Judaism. (Francis plans to visit Israel in May.) But with his experience working with the Muslim immigrant population of Argentina, Francis will extend a warmer hand toward Islam than Benedict, who famously infuriated that religion’s clerics with a scholarly aside in an otherwise innocuous speech. And he has proved himself amenable to Protestant, evangelical piety, scandalizing conservative Catholics in Argentina by kneeling and being blessed by Pentecostal preachers in a Buenos Aires auditorium.
While still in his home country, the future Pope also said that priestly celibacy is a recent development (it dates to about the year 1000) and has seemed open to change. Again, in Argentina, he startled conservatives by attending the funeral of a rebel bishop who left the church to marry, comforting the deceased prelate’s widow, who used to concelebrate Mass with her husband.
- He talks about Christ’s love like a man who has found something wondrous and wants nothing more than to share it. “He is waiting for us,” Francis says. And when he comes to the end of his homily, the script drops once more. “This thought gives us hope! We are on the way to the Resurrection. And this is our joy: one day find Jesus, meet Jesus and all together, all together — not here in the square, the other way — but joyful with Jesus. This is our destiny.”
- He won’t wear the shoes. He doesn’t bait the gays, or hound the nuns, or call Mohammed “evil and inhuman,” or fear the mean-girl Vatican cardinals whose solid gold multi-millennium party he’s so genially wrecking. Instead Pope Francis spends his days publicly worrying about social justice, calling attention to the problems of runaway capitalism, and entreating people to be decent to one another.
- I want to thank His Holiness Pope Francis, whose moral example shows us the importance of pursuing the world as it should be, rather than simply settling for the world as it is…
- Barack Obama, giving thanks to Francis for his involvement in initiating dialogue between the US and Cuba, in his "Statement on Cuba Policy Change" (17 December 2014)
- If the Church becomes like him and becomes what he wants it to be, it will be an epochal change.
- Eugenio Scalfari, in "How the Church will change" in La Repubblica (1 October 2013), as translated from Italian to English by Kathryn Wallace
- I continue to be pleased with what Francis is talking about and his openness — despite papal authorities’ attempts to retract his statements. … He’s offering very universal ideas — not closing the door and saying you have to be a Catholic in order for good things to happen. This is the kind of world leader that we need in a position of power that the pope has if we want hope for a more universal community. … Had he been rigid and conservative in his approach, I think he really would have kept pushing on the backs of those who were ready to flee the church. So what he’s doing gives some solace to those who are a little more progressive, which is a growing number in the church. It gives a chance for those folks to remain involved. I think that from a Catholic standpoint he’s doing the right thing. He’s doing pretty much all he can do for the good of the Catholic Church.
- Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of the American Humanist Association, as quoted in "Leading Atheist: Pope Francis “Is The Kind Of World Leader We Need”" by Joe Keohane, at Esquire (12 September 2013)
- Pope Francis had quite a 78th birthday. The pontiff began Wednesday with prayers and a birthday celebration with tango dancers near St. Peter’s Square. His day ended with a historic diplomatic breakthrough between Cuba and the United States — and the disclosure that the Argentine pope played a key role as broker.
Francis is being credited for helping bridge the divide by first sending letters to President Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba, and then having the Vatican host a diplomatic meeting between the two sides in October.
“The Holy Father wishes to express his warm congratulations for the historic decision,” Francis said in a statement released Wednesday night by the Vatican.
- Jim Yardley and Gaia Pianigiani, in "Pope Francis Credited With Crucial Role as Diplomatic Broker" in The New York Times (17 December 2014)