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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pope Francis and the winds of the Spirit

St. Peter's Square before the arrival of Pope Francis.  Photo: Flicker/ BostonCatholic

And so yesterday was a day of white smoke. The Church now continues into the future with Pope Francis at the helm and the Holy Spirit providing the forward momentum.

This is one of those glorious times for all Catholics to celebrate and pray and again fall in love with the Bride of Christ. It is a time to step away from our particular missions, vocations, and ideologies and remember that we are in communion with each other.

While the Body of Christ has many parts, we are one in Him.

And so for Catholic ecologists, we join our brothers and sisters in Christ no matter what their views of the environmental problems of the day, knowing with certainty that Pope Francis will continue the magisterial engagement of ecology. And for this, we give thanks to God.

Here, then, is a wrap of the day from the vantage of this Catholic ecologist (who is foremost delighted to be part of the past twelve hours of wild, wonderful happenings): 
  • The mainstream media and the Catholic media shared confusion today about what this election means for the Church and the world. This is a sign that the Holy Spirit is at work.
  • There remains some discussion about which St. Francis is the namesake for the new Pope: St. Francis of Assisi (the late twelfth-century, early-thirteenth-century simple healer and lover of the poor and of nature); St. Francis Xavier (the sixteenth-century Jesuit evangelizer); or Francis de Sales (the late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century preacher and pastor)? No matter which one (or which combination), the name Francis brings an array of saintly attributes that Pope Francis will need in the twenty-first century. 
  • Those of us who encourage the Catholic engagement of ecology have been and will be searching for past statements on ecology by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. But it appears that what many are saying is true: for this cardinal-now-pope, actions speak louder than words—a sentiment that St. Francis of Assisi was known to have lived. Which brings us to this point ... 
  • By all reports, our new pontiff lives simply. He consumes little and took mass transit whenever he could—even in official capacities. This simplicity speaks volumes about how the rest of us should live: sustainably. 
  • That said, our friend Bill Jacobs again has done a wonderful service in finding a lovely eco-quote by Cardinal Bergoglio: "We have to assume the challenge of contributing to a new ecological wisdom to understand man's place in the world and respect the very man who is part of the world."
Those words certainly and strongly echo the notion of "human ecology" embraced by Bl. John Paul II and Benedict XVI (as well as this blog's master quote up top from B16).

I join you in looking forward to knowing Pope Francis better and to chronicling how he speaks of human and natural ecology. But I already love him. And so we join together in praying for Pope Francis and thanking God for a shepherd with a few surprises for us all.

As they say in Rome, Viva il Papa

1 comment:

  1. Is Pope Francis the spiritual leader who recognized that the fight against poverty and environmental protection are mutually enhancing and interdependent - go hand in hand? Probably. St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron of Ecology, had the strength to imagine a world in which man's rule over creation is limited. Pope Francis seems to recognize the limitations of the homo mensura formula, according to which man ought to be the measure of all things, all too well. Many young catholics will be looking to Pope Francis and the world's future with new hope. Erimar v. der Osten, Berlin


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