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 (and) 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
- 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.
Evangelii Gaudium · The Joy of the Gospel
- Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.
- Section 53
- 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
- Our world is being torn apart by wars and violence, and wounded by a widespread individualism which divides human beings, setting them against one another as they pursue their own well-being. In various countries, conflicts and old divisions from the past are re-emerging. I especially ask Christians in communities throughout the world to offer a radiant and attractive witness of fraternal communion. Let everyone admire how you care for one another, and how you encourage and accompany one another: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35). This was Jesus’ heartfelt prayer to the Father: “That they may all be one... in us... so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21). Beware of the temptation of jealousy! We are all in the same boat and headed to the same port! Let us ask for the grace to rejoice in the gifts of each, which belong to all.
- Section 99
- The Church acknowledges the indispensable contribution which women make to society through the sensitivity, intuition and other distinctive skill sets which they, more than men, tend to possess. I think, for example, of the special concern which women show to others, which finds a particular, even if not exclusive, expression in motherhood. I readily acknowledge that many women share pastoral responsibilities with priests, helping to guide people, families and groups and offering new contributions to theological reflection. But we need to create still broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church. Because “the feminine genius is needed in all expressions in the life of society, the presence of women must also be guaranteed in the workplace” and in the various other settings where important decisions are made, both in the Church and in social structures.
- Section 103
- Today, as the Church seeks to experience a profound missionary renewal, there is a kind of preaching which falls to each of us as a daily responsibility. It has to do with bringing the Gospel to the people we meet, whether they be our neighbours or complete strangers. This is the informal preaching which takes place in the middle of a conversation, something along the lines of what a missionary does when visiting a home. Being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others, and this can happen unexpectedly and in any place: on the street, in a city square, during work, on a journey.
- Section 127
- In this preaching, which is always respectful and gentle, the first step is personal dialogue, when the other person speaks and shares his or her joys, hopes and concerns for loved ones, or so many other heartfelt needs. Only afterwards is it possible to bring up God’s word, perhaps by reading a Bible verse or relating a story, but always keeping in mind the fundamental message: the personal love of God who became man, who gave himself up for us, who is living and who offers us his salvation and his friendship.
- Section 128
- Dialogue is much more than the communication of a truth. It arises from the enjoyment of speaking and it enriches those who express their love for one another through the medium of words. This is an enrichment which does not consist in objects but in persons who share themselves in dialogue. A preaching which would be purely moralistic or doctrinaire, or one which turns into a lecture on biblical exegesis, detracts from this heart-to-heart communication which takes place in the homily and possesses a quasi-sacramental character: “Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ” (Rom 10:17).
- Section 142
- Every form of catechesis would do well to attend to the “way of beauty” (via pulchritudinis). Proclaiming Christ means showing that to believe in and to follow him is not only something right and true, but also something beautiful, capable of filling life with new splendour and profound joy, even in the midst of difficulties. Every expression of true beauty can thus be acknowledged as a path leading to an encounter with the Lord Jesus. This has nothing to do with fostering an aesthetic relativism which would downplay the inseparable bond between truth, goodness and beauty, but rather a renewed esteem for beauty as a means of touching the human heart and enabling the truth and goodness of the Risen Christ to radiate within it. If, as Saint Augustine says, we love only that which is beautiful, the incarnate Son, as the revelation of infinite beauty, is supremely lovable and draws us to himself with bonds of love. So a formation in the via pulchritudinis ought to be part of our effort to pass on the faith. Each particular Church should encourage the use of the arts in evangelization, building on the treasures of the past but also drawing upon the wide variety of contemporary expressions so as to transmit the faith in a new “language of parables”. We must be bold enough to discover new signs and new symbols, new flesh to embody and communicate the word, and different forms of beauty which are valued in different cultural settings, including those unconventional modes of beauty which may mean little to the evangelizers, yet prove particularly attractive for others.
- Section 167
- God’s heart has a special place for the poor, so much so that he himself “became poor” (2 Cor 8:9). The entire history of our redemption is marked by the presence of the poor. Salvation came to us from the “yes” uttered by a lowly maiden from a small town on the fringes of a great empire. The Saviour was born in a manger, in the midst of animals, like children of poor families; he was presented at the Temple along with two turtledoves, the offering made by those who could not afford a lamb (cf. Lk 2:24; Lev 5:7); he was raised in a home of ordinary workers and worked with his own hands to earn his bread. When he began to preach the Kingdom, crowds of the dispossessed followed him, illustrating his words: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor” (Lk 4:18). He assured those burdened by sorrow and crushed by poverty that God has a special place for them in his heart: “Blessed are you poor, yours is the kingdom of God” (Lk 6:20); he made himself one of them: “I was hungry and you gave me food to eat”, and he taught them that mercy towards all of these is the key to heaven (cf. Mt 25:5ff.).
- Section 197
- Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defence of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defence of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, “every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offence against the creator of the individual”.
- Section 213
- There also exists a constant tension between ideas and realities. Realities simply are, whereas ideas are worked out. There has to be continuous dialogue between the two, lest ideas become detached from realities. It is dangerous to dwell in the realm of words alone, of images and rhetoric. So a third principle comes into play: realities are greater than ideas. This calls for rejecting the various means of masking reality: angelic forms of purity, dictatorships of relativism, empty rhetoric, objectives more ideal than real, brands of ahistorical fundamentalism, ethical systems bereft of kindness, intellectual discourse bereft of wisdom.
- Section 231
- We hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked, for “the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29). The Church, which shares with Jews an important part of the sacred Scriptures, looks upon the people of the covenant and their faith as one of the sacred roots of her own Christian identity (cf. Rom 11:16-18). As Christians, we cannot consider Judaism as a foreign religion; nor do we include the Jews among those called to turn from idols and to serve the true God (cf. 1 Thes 1:9). With them, we believe in the one God who acts in history, and with them we accept his revealed word.
- Section 247
- In order to sustain dialogue with Islam, suitable training is essential for all involved, not only so that they can be solidly and joyfully grounded in their own identity, but so that they can also acknowledge the values of others, appreciate the concerns underlying their demands and shed light on shared beliefs. We Christians should embrace with affection and respect Muslim immigrants to our countries in the same way that we hope and ask to be received and respected in countries of Islamic tradition. I ask and I humbly entreat those countries to grant Christians freedom to worship and to practice their faith, in light of the freedom which followers of Islam enjoy in Western countries! Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.
- Section 253
- The Synod Fathers spoke of the importance of respect for religious freedom, viewed as a fundamental human right. This includes “the freedom to choose the religion which one judges to be true and to manifest one’s beliefs in public”. A healthy pluralism, one which genuinely respects differences and values them as such, does not entail privatizing religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual’s conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques. This would represent, in effect, a new form of discrimination and authoritarianism. The respect due to the agnostic or non-believing minority should not be arbitrarily imposed in a way that silences the convictions of the believing majority or ignores the wealth of religious traditions. In the long run, this would feed resentment rather than tolerance and peace.
- Section 255
- Christ’s resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force. Often it seems that God does not exist: all around us we see persistent injustice, evil, indifference and cruelty. But it is also true that in the midst of darkness something new always springs to life and sooner or later produces fruit. On razed land life breaks through, stubbornly yet invincibly. However dark things are, goodness always re-emerges and spreads. Each day in our world beauty is born anew, it rises transformed through the storms of history. Values always tend to reappear under new guises, and human beings have arisen time after time from situations that seemed doomed. Such is the power of the resurrection, and all who evangelize are instruments of that power.
- Section 276
- At the same time, new difficulties are constantly surfacing: experiences of failure and the human weaknesses which bring so much pain. We all know from experience that sometimes a task does not bring the satisfaction we seek, results are few and changes are slow, and we are tempted to grow weary. Yet lowering our arms momentarily out of weariness is not the same as lowering them for good, overcome by chronic discontent and by a listlessness that parches the soul. It also happens that our hearts can tire of the struggle because in the end we are caught up in ourselves, in a careerism which thirsts for recognition, applause, rewards and status. In this case we do not lower our arms, but we no longer grasp what we seek, the resurrection is not there. In cases like these, the Gospel, the most beautiful message that this world can offer, is buried under a pile of excuses.
- Section 277
- There is a Marian “style” to the Church’s work of evangelization. Whenever we look to Mary, we come to believe once again in the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness. In her we see that humility and tenderness are not virtues of the weak but of the strong who need not treat others poorly in order to feel important themselves. Contemplating Mary, we realize that she who praised God for “bringing down the mighty from their thrones” and “sending the rich away empty” (Lk 1:52-53) is also the one who brings a homely warmth to our pursuit of justice. She is also the one who carefully keeps “all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Lk 2:19). Mary is able to recognize the traces of God’s Spirit in events great and small. She constantly contemplates the mystery of God in our world, in human history and in our daily lives. She is the woman of prayer and work in Nazareth, and she is also Our Lady of Help, who sets out from her town “with haste” (Lk 1:39) to be of service to others. This interplay of justice and tenderness, of contemplation and concern for others, is what makes the ecclesial community look to Mary as a model of evangelization.
- Section 288
- The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity, this is something truly good, a gift from God.
- 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)
- … 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.
- inside every Christian is a Jew
- 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.
- This is the Church’s destination: it is, as the Bible says, the “new Jerusalem”, “Paradise”. More than a place, it is a “state” of soul in which our deepest hopes are fulfilled in superabundance and our being, as creatures and as children of God, reach their full maturity. We will finally be clothed in the joy, peace and love of God, completely, without any limit, and we will come face to face with Him! (cf. 1 Cor 13:12). It is beautiful to think of this, to think of Heaven. We will all be there together. It is beautiful, it gives strength to the soul. … At the same time, Sacred Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this marvellous plan cannot but involve everything that surrounds us and came from the heart and mind of God. The Apostle Paul says it explicitly, when he says that “Creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:21). Other texts utilize the image of a “new heaven” and a “new earth” (cf. 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1), in the sense that the whole universe will be renewed and will be freed once and for all from every trace of evil and from death itself. What lies ahead is the fulfillment of a transformation that in reality is already happening, beginning with the death and resurrection of Christ. Hence, it is the new creation; it is not, therefore, the annihilation of the cosmos and of everything around us, but the bringing of all things into the fullness of being, of truth and of beauty.
- 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.
- The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. There is no more meaningful time than the beginning of a new year to hear these words of blessing.
- New Year Messages, National Catholic Register (January 2015)
- Peace requires the force of meekness, the force of nonviolence of truth and of love. We are also called to acknowledge the violence and injustices present in many places around the world, and we cannot allow ourselves to be indifferent and immobile. Everyone must work to build a society of solidarity and one that is truly more just.
- New Year Messages, National Catholic Register (January 2015)
- 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 on his official plane traveling from Sri Lanka to the Philippines, reported in "Pope Francis: 'You cannot make fun of the faith of others (15 January 2015)
- The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.
- Twitter (18 June 2015)
Announcement of the Jubilee of Mercy
- Jesus’ reminder urges each of us never to stop at the surface of things, especially when we have a person before us. We are called to look beyond, to focus on the heart in order to see how much generosity everyone is capable of. No one can be excluded from the mercy of God; everyone knows the way to access it and the Church is the house where everyone is welcomed and no one is rejected. Her doors remain wide open, so that those who are touched by grace may find the assurance of forgiveness. The greater the sin, the greater the love that must be shown by the Church to those who repent. With how much love Jesus looks at us! With how much love He heals our sinful heart! Our sins never scare Him.
- Dear brothers and sisters, I have often thought of how the Church may render more clear her mission to be a witness to mercy; and we have to make this journey. It is a journey which begins with spiritual conversion. Therefore, I have decided to announce an Extraordinary Jubilee which has at its centre the mercy of God. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy.
- I am confident that the whole Church, which is in such need of mercy for we are sinners, will be able to find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and rendering fruitful God’s mercy, with which we are all called to give comfort to every man and every woman of our time. Do not forget that God forgives all, and God forgives always. Let us never tire of asking forgiveness. Let us henceforth entrust this Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey: our penitential journey, our year-long journey with an open heart, to receive the indulgence of God, to receive the mercy of God.
Laudato si' : 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
- It is difficult to make a general judgement about genetic modification (GM), whether vegetable or animal, medical or agricultural, since these vary greatly among themselves and call for specific considerations. The risks involved are not always due to the techniques used, but rather to their improper or excessive application. Genetic mutations, in fact, have often been, and continue to be, caused by nature itself. Nor are mutations caused by human intervention a modern phenomenon. The domestication of animals, the crossbreeding of species and other older and universally accepted practices can be mentioned as examples. We need but recall that scientific developments in GM cereals began with the observation of natural bacteria which spontaneously modified plant genomes. In nature, however, this process is slow and cannot be compared to the fast pace induced by contemporary technological advances, even when the latter build upon several centuries of scientific progress.
- § 133
- Although no conclusive proof exists that GM cereals may be harmful to human beings, and in some regions their use has brought about economic growth which has helped to resolve problems, there remain a number of significant difficulties which should not be underestimated. In many places, following the introduction of these crops, productive land is concentrated in the hands of a few owners due to “the progressive disappearance of small producers, who, as a consequence of the loss of the exploited lands, are obliged to withdraw from direct production”. The most vulnerable of these become temporary labourers, and many rural workers end up moving to poverty-stricken urban areas. The expansion of these crops has the effect of destroying the complex network of ecosystems, diminishing the diversity of production and affecting regional economies, now and in the future. In various countries, we see an expansion of oligopolies for the production of cereals and other products needed for their cultivation. This dependency would be aggravated were the production of infertile seeds to be considered; the effect would be to force farmers to purchase them from larger producers.
- § 134
Address at the White House
- I am deeply grateful for your welcome in the name of all Americans. As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families.
- Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation.
- Mr. President, together with their fellow citizens, American Catholics are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination. With countless other people of good will, they are likewise concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty. That freedom remains one of America’s most precious possessions. And, as my brothers, the United States Bishops, have reminded us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.
Address to the United States Congress
- I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of dreams. Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people.
- In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants.
- Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our 'neighbors' and everything around us.
- Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident that we can do this.
Inauguration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy
- Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In a few moments I will have the joy of opening the Holy Door of Mercy. We carry out this act, so simple yet so highly symbolic, in the light of the word of God which we have just heard. That word highlights the primacy of grace.
- The fullness of grace can transform the human heart and enable it to do something so great as to change the course of human history.
- This Extraordinary Holy Year is itself a gift of grace. To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them. This will be a year in which we grow ever more convinced of God’s mercy. How much wrong we do to God and his grace when we speak of sins being punished by his judgment before we speak of their being forgiven by his mercy! But that is the truth. We have to put mercy before judgment, and in any event God’s judgement will always be in the light of his mercy. In passing through the Holy Door, then, may we feel that we ourselves are part of this mystery of love. Let us set aside all fear and dread, for these do not befit men and women who are loved. Instead, let us experience the joy of encountering that grace which transforms all things.
- Wherever there are people, the Church is called to reach out to them and to bring the joy of the Gospel. … May our passing through the Holy Door today commit us to making our own the mercy of the Good Samaritan.
Mercy Is 'What Pleases God Most'
- Statements from a general audience, as quoted in "Pope Francis: Mercy Is 'What Pleases God Most'" (9 December 2015)
- In our age of profound change, the Church is called to offer its unique contribution, by making visible the signs of the presence and closeness of God. And the Jubilee is a favorable time for us all, for in contemplating the Divine Mercy, which surpasses every human limitation and shines on the darkness of sin, we can become more convincing and effective witnesses.
- This Jubilee is a privileged moment for the Church to learn to choose only ‘what pleases God most.’ And what is it that ‘pleases God most’? To forgive his children, to have mercy on them, so that they too might forgive their brothers and sisters, and become shining like torches of God’s mercy in the world.
- God’s joy is to forgive. God’s being is mercy. Therefore, over the course of this year we need to open our hearts, so that this love, this joy of God might fill us all with this mercy.
- Only a merciful Church shines! Were we to forget, even only for a moment, that mercy is ‘what pleases God most,’ all our efforts would be in vain, for we would become slaves of our institutions and our structures, however renewed they might be. We would always be slaves.
- Today, I don't think that there is a fear of Islam as such but of ISIS and its war of conquest, which is partly drawn from Islam. It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew's Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.
- INTERVIEW Pope Francis by Guillaume Goubert and Sébastien Maillard for La Croix (17 May 2016); translation by Stefan Gigacz.
- I encourage you to welcome refugees into your homes and communities, so that their first experience of Europe is not the traumatic experience of sleeping cold on the streets, but one of warm welcome.
- Let us turn our backs on power and treachery.
- As Reported by Vatican Insider, August 11, 2016
Visit to Mexico (February 2016)
- A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel. … I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and I will give him the benefit of the doubt.
- What is scandal? Scandal is saying one thing and doing another; it is a double life, a double life. A totally double life: "I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass, I belong to this association and that one; but my life is not Christian, I don’t pay my workers a just wage, I exploit people, I am dirty in my business, I launder money …" A double life. And so many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others. How many times have we heard — all of us, around the neighborhood and elsewhere — "but to be a Catholic like that, it’s better to be an atheist." It is that, scandal. You destroy. You beat down. And this happens every day, it’s enough to see the news on TV, or to read the papers. In the papers there are so many scandals, and there is also the great publicity of the scandals. And with the scandals there is destruction.
- Homily at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta (23 February 2017), as quoted in "Pope: Don't put off conversion, give up a double life" at Vatican Radio (23 February 2017); also quoted in "Did Pope Francis Say It Was Better to Be an Atheist Than a Bad Catholic? at snopes.com (28 February)
- Every step, every effort, every test, every fall and every recovery has a sense within God’s design for salvation, as He wants life – not death – and joy – not pain – for His people … This doesn’t mean that he did everything and we don’t have to do anything.
- Ash Wednesday General Audience (1 March 2017), as quoted in "Pope Francis: ‘we do not go to heaven in a carriage’" at Vatican Radio (1 March 2017)
- We recognize the great development there has been over the course of recent decades with regard to disability. Greater awareness of the dignity of each person, especially of the weakest, has led to the espousal of courageous positions for the inclusion of those who live with various forms of handicap, so that no one should feel like a stranger in his own home. Yet, at the cultural level, through a prevailing false understanding of life, expressions that harm the dignity of these persons still persist.
An often narcissistic and utilitarian vision, unfortunately, leads not a few to consider persons with disabilities as marginal, without grasping their manifold human and spiritual richness. In the common mind-set, there is still too strong an attitude of rejection of this condition, as if it prevents one from achieving happiness and self-fulfilment. It is demonstrated by the eugenic trend of ending the lives of the unborn who show some form of imperfection.
In reality, we all know many people who, despite even serious fragility, have found, albeit with difficulty, the path of a good life, rich with meaning. Likewise, on the other hand, we know people who are seemingly perfect, yet they despair! After all, it is a perilous deception to think we are invulnerable. As said by a girl whom I met on my recent journey to Colombia: vulnerability is intrinsic to the essential nature of mankind.
The answer is love: not that false, saccharine and sanctimonious love, but that which is true, concrete and respectful.
- Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to Participants in the Conference Organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, Clementine Hall, Saturday, 21 October 2017. 
- Some sixty years ago, Pope Pius XII, in a memorable address to anaesthesiologists and intensive care specialists, stated that there is no obligation to have recourse in all circumstances to every possible remedy and that, in some specific cases, it is permissible to refrain from their use ... The specific element of this criterion is that it considers “the result that can be expected, taking into account the state of the sick person and his or her physical and moral resources”. It thus makes possible a decision that is morally qualified as withdrawal of “overzealous treatment”.
Such a decision responsibly acknowledges the limitations of our mortality, once it becomes clear that opposition to it is futile. “Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merely accepted” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2278). This difference of perspective restores humanity to the accompaniment of the dying, while not attempting to justify the suppression of the living. It is clear that not adopting, or else suspending, disproportionate measures, means avoiding overzealous treatment; from an ethical standpoint, it is completely different from euthanasia, which is always wrong, in that the intent of euthanasia is to end life and cause death.
The anguish associated with conditions that bring us to the threshold of human mortality, and the difficulty of the decision we have to make, may tempt us to step back from the patient. Yet this is where, more than anything else, we are called to show love and closeness, recognizing the limit that we all share and showing our solidarity.
Let each of us give love in his or her own way—as a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a brother or sister, a doctor or a nurse. But give it!
- Message of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Participants in the European Regional Meeting of the World Medical Association, From the Vatican, 7 November 2017 
- Some people think that - excuse my expression here - that in order to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits. No. Parenthood is about being responsible. This is clear.
- Said to the press on the flight back from the 2018 Papal visit to the Philippines in response to a question about what he would say to families who had more children than they could afford because the Church forbids artificial contraception. As reported on BBC news and other outlets. (19 January 2018)
- Eugenio Scalfari: Your Holiness, in our previous meeting you told me that our species will disappear in a certain moment and that God, still out of his creative force, will create new species. You have never spoken to me about the souls who died in sin and will go to hell to suffer it for eternity. You have however spoken to me of good souls, admitted to the contemplation of God. But what about bad souls? Where are they punished?
Pope Francis: They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.
- Interview published in La Repubblica (28 March 2018), as translated in the web log Rorate Caeli (29 March 2018)
- Only by changing education can we change the world.
- Address of Pope Francis to members of the Gravissimum Educationis Foundation, 25 June 2018 .
- A Christian cannot be an anti-Semite; we share the same roots. Rather, we are called to commit ourselves to ensure anti-Semitism is banned from the human community.
- Address of Pope Francis during a meeting with Rabbis at the Vatican. Catholic News Agency, November 05, 2018
- We can build any number of walls and close our doors in the vain effort to feel secure in our wealth, at the expense of those left outside. It will not be that way for ever.
The ‘day of the Lord,’ as described by the prophets, will destroy the barriers created between nations and replace the arrogance of the few with the solidarity of many.
- We have caused a climate emergency that gravely threatens nature and life itself, including our own. [At the] United Nations Climate Action Summit ... governments will have the responsibility of showing the political will to take drastic measures.
- We must not place the burden on the next generations to take on the problems caused by the previous ones. Instead, we should give them the opportunity to remember our generation as the one that renewed and acted on — with honest, responsible and courageous awareness — the fundamental need to collaborate in order to preserve and cultivate our common home. May we offer the next generation concrete reasons to hope and work for a good and dignified future!
- On this third Sunday of Advent, known as the Sunday "of joy", the Word of God invites us on the one hand to joy, and on the other hand to the awareness that existence also includes moments of doubt, in which it is difficult to believe. Joy and doubt are both experiences that are part of our lives. … Advent is a time of grace. It tells us that it is not enough to believe in God: it is necessary to purify our faith every day. It is a matter of preparing ourselves to welcome not a fairy-tale character, but the God who challenges us, involves us and before whom a choice is imposed. The Child who lies in the manger has the face of our brothers and sisters most in need, of the poor who are "a privileged part of this mystery; often they are the first to recognize God’s presence in our midst".
- Peace is a path of hope, a path on which one advances through dialogue, reconciliation and conversion.
- On New Year, Pope Wishes the Faithful a 2020 of Peace, Voice of America, (1 January 2020)
- There are mothers, who risk perilous journeys to desperately try to give the fruit of the womb a better future and are judged to be redundant by people whose bellies are full of things, but whose hearts are empty of love.
- On New Year, Pope Wishes the Faithful a 2020 of Peace, Voice of America, (1 January 2020)
- Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that 18 months ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted? Who speaks now of the floods? I don’t know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly nature’s responses. Today I believe we have to slow down our rate of production and consumption and to learn to understand and contemplate the natural world. We need to reconnect with our real surroundings.
- On the coronavirus and environmental crises. Cited in Pope salutes 'saints next door' in fight against coronavirus in the Guardian. (8 April 2020)
- The marketplace, by itself, cannot resolve every problem, however much we are asked to believe this dogma of neoliberal faith. Whatever the challenge, this impoverished and repetitive school of thought always offers the same recipes. Neoliberalism simply reproduces itself by resorting to the magic theories of 'spillover' or 'trickle' – without using the name – as the only solution to societal problems.
- I think often of persecuted peoples: the Rohingya, the poor Uyghurs, the Yazidi -- what ISIS did to them was truly cruel -- or Christians in Egypt and Pakistan killed by bombs that went off while they prayed in church.
- Says in the book, "Let Us Dream: The Path to A Better Future," published on November 23, 2020. CNN News
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.
- We couldn't have found a better person to take the bull by the horns and begin repairing our country's fracture. He's someone who truly knows the country and is served with good advisers. This election has encouraged us to place hope in the future and put aside our past of firearms, machetes and terrible destruction. Since the Holy Father's visit, we've felt a wind of change blowing through our country — there's been a total turnaround. He came as a messenger of mercy and urged reconciliation in our communities. This summons to peace and forgiveness was heard by former enemies and combatants and has now become something real, giving the new president a real chance for peace.
- Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga, head of the Central African Republic bishops' conference, on Pope Francis' trip to the Central African Republic, as quoted in "Stable elections in Central African Republic bring chance of peace", St. Louis Review (4 March 2016)
- Pope Francis’ two-day visit to Ireland on August 25-26th comes at a time when people need hope. The Irish Church has been devastated by the abuse scandals, which have never been properly dealt with...Only in the last few years has the Catholic hierarchy recognized that clerical abuse has taken place.
In 1978, Betty Williams and I had the privilege of a 30-minute private conversation with Pope John Paull II in the Vatican. Coming out of a violent conflict in Northern Ireland, we appealed to the Pope to reject the “Just War” theory and to bring forward a theology of nonviolence and peace for the Catholic Church. When Pope John Paul visited Ireland the following year he appealed to people to reject violence and build peace.
However, we still wait for the Vatican to publish an encyclical on Christian nonviolence which would reject “Just War” theology. Pope Francis has called for the total abolition of nuclear weapons and for just peacemaking. His visit to Knock, while rightly focusing on the church’s abuse scandals, was a missed opportunity. He should have also called for the abolition of war and militarism, and for the return to Gospel nonviolence...
In my opinion, an encyclical on nonviolence and disarmament from Pope Francis would give hope to us all and encourage us all to take up our responsibility to build a new culture of peace and nonviolence, not only in the Church and in Ireland, but throughout the whole world.
- 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)
- There is a recent photo of Pope Francis doing the rounds on social media that shows him walking alone, without security people or a private secretary, across a Vatican courtyard. In the early days of his pontificate, it would have been seen as Francis breaking through the stuffy conventions of the Vatican: being his own man. Five years on, it is instead viewed as symbolic of Francis’s loneliness. Here is a man struggling to find allies or support from the Catholic faithful in his stalled efforts to reform the church and failing attempts to tackle the abuse crisis.
- When the pope speaks about "change," he is not talking about modest reforms or tinkering around the edges. He is talking about radical changes as to how the global economy functions, and in how we relate to the planet and to each other. Most importantly, he understands the urgency of the moment. We need real change now.
- Bernie Sanders, "Bernie Sanders: I annotated a speech by Pope Francis", Washington Post, (April 15, 2016).
- Pope Francis has forcefully reminded us that greed, and the worship of money, is not what human existence should be about. At a time when the top 1 percent of the people on Earth own almost as much wealth as the bottom 99 percent, he has pointed out the immorality and inhumanity of a global economy which provides a handful of billionaires with incredible riches, while billions of people on this planet — the children, the elderly, the unemployed and the poor — are discarded and left behind.
- Bernie Sanders, "Bernie Sanders: I annotated a speech by Pope Francis", Washington Post, (April 15, 2016).
- Pope Francis is not just asking us to alleviate poverty and move toward more equitable distribution of wealth and income. Nor is he simply requesting that we act boldly to combat climate change and save the planet. He is asking us to create a new form of society where the economy works for all, and not just the wealthy and the powerful. He is asking us to become a different kind of person, where our happiness and well-being comes from serving others and being part of the human community — not by spending our lives accumulating more and more wealth and power while oppressing others.
- 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)