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Francis Has Returned As Pope?

The signs are as unmistakable as they are stunning; Francis has returned to rebuild the Church. The first New World Pope, who happens to be the first Jesuit Pope, has taken the name of Francis. It didn’t stop there. St Francis known for his miraculous ability to communicate with God’s creatures may have sent a sign. It seems a stubborn seagull kept landing on the Sistine Chapel smoke pipe a couple of hours before Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the very modest living prelate from Argentina was chosen.

About the name Francis, could it also be for Francis Xavier the famous Jesuit missionary to the Far East? Who knows for sure but perhaps it is a very deft touch by the man from Buenos Aires. In addition, was it not a Franciscan Pope (Clement XIV) who famously suppressed the Jesuits in France in the 1700s, which many believe helped the radicals of the French Revolution in their bloody but unsuccessful attempt to destroy the Church? Another sign; perhaps a nod to reconciliation? The Conclave began on March 12, the day both St. Ignatius (founder of the Jesuits and St Francis Xavier, perhaps the second most famous Jesuit saint) were officially canonized in 1622.

The Church needs simplicity in so many ways, in her liturgy and devotions, in her governance etc, who better than a man who chose the name Francis to accomplish these important tasks. St Francis a gifted man was told by Jesus to, “Rebuild my House,” as already in the earliest days of Europe’s revival following the Dark Ages, some in Europe’s most prosperous country where already forgetting about God’s importance in their lives. Their material and secular excess seems a mere pittance by today’s standards. However, it was serious enough in St Francis’s eyes to do exactly as our Lord had asked.

In my just released book; The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn, I note that the best administrators were often conservative Jesuits. This came from not only my diocesan experience but also my Catholic schools experience. Unfortunately at that time conservative Jesuits were few and far between. They seem to be a growing lot and perhaps this papal election will restore the Jesuits to their once lofty Church heights.

I was trying to digest all of this info while driving to the store. While in the car I heard something on talk radio that put the perfect exclamation point on the day. I don’t know whose show it was but a young man called in saying though he was an Evangelical, he never felt more moved by the Holy Spirit than this week. He said he was in awe of the Catholic Church’s history, beauty, structure, teaching authority etc. He said it all and in so doing gave us all hope that Pope Francis was already rebuilding God’s house.

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Dave Hartline

THE Ohio State University!

9 Comments

  1. Dear Lady, please guide that evangelical into the fullness of Our Lords Body amén! A nudge!

    Very interesting post, a conservative Jesuit is like finding the prize in a catholic cereal box!

  2. Not to pick but, did you say Dark Ages for particular purpose? It is generally used to slandar the Church as in “there was the greatness of Rome, then a dark age of religious superstition that remained unbroken until the Reformation ushered in an age of enlightenment.”

    The choice of Francis is interesting and I’m sure a few of the career Vatican clerics are squirming as they try to determine what it means for them. “Simplification” strikes me as an odd choice in calls to arms for the Church though.

    Catholicism is catholic because it encompasses the diverse needs of human souls. God, in His infinite wisdom made our intellects and emotional selves unique. Some need the simplicity of the simple country church and some Notre Dame. Vatican II was speaking to this need, not the corrupted view that has dominated the Church in the West for 40 years, a view that all of the grandeur of the pre-Vatican Church was discordant with Church teaching.

    Before we “herald in a new age” of “simplicity,” we had better be sure we know what that means for the Church.

  3. Ioannes, great post. The beauty of God will always draw people to the Church if they allow their hearts to succumb to God’s love, truth and beauty. David, with all due respect because some anti-Catholic writer somewhere in the mists of time used a quote about the Dark Ages to attack the Church means we don’t use the word Dark Ages? The word Dark Ages was coined by the Church, or at least those monks who kept the world illuminated during that time with their scholarship. In those days, few could read and write and the Church was under attack from the Dark side via various Barbarian invasions and heretical movements and individuals.

    As far as simplification; the Holy Spirit (if we listen) is always equipping us with our needs for that time. In the era of Pope John Paul II it was communication to a world hungry for truth. In the age of Pope Benedict XVI, it was the emphasis on proper liturgy, devotions and scholarship so lacking in this secular age. Now it appears Pope Francis will use the weapon of simplicity. We might recall that St Francis used this “weapon” to rattle the consciences of the detached wealthy he encountered in Italy as well as Muslim soldiers he met in the Middle East.

    The key to the Holy Spirit’s gifts is our desire to use them. I was struck that even the secular mainstream media showed that fascinating image of that bird perched atop the Sistine chapel’s smokepipe. They showed similar images of the same seagull like bird perched on St. Francis in some of the earliest paintings in which he is depicted. Perhaps in small signs such as these we see the mind of God, if only we will listen.

  4. Great post. The new Pope’s humility was inspiring. He will be good for evangelization generally and specifically for Latin America and for Jesuits who have been on the verge of extinction. There will be more orthodox candidates discerning vocations to the priesthood. I hope they can find enough orthodox Jesuits to teach them..

  5. Fantastic post of yours, Dave.

    I studied in jesuit school in Brazil, full of layman communist professors. But, confirming your point, the school was much better administered when a conservative director arrived.

    I used to love jesuits, but many of them went to liberation theology, then I turned to Dominicans. I am stunned to see a conservative jesuit that dislikes liberation theology. God´s Spirit.

  6. Thank you for your kind words Pedro. The Argentines love to speak of the Hand of God World Cup Soccer Goal via Diego Maradona. Well this Argentine Holy Father is the real Hand of God at work! It seems both of our lives have some parallels. We both worked with Jesuits and Dominicans, but it seems we both more recently worked with Dominicans. May God Bless both of their orders now that they are intrinsically linked with our new Holy Father!

  7. God love his church so much ! the election of Pope Francis I is one of the most powerfull sign of how the holy spirit will continue working, cleaning and building the church. The Catholic Church is the guardian of the faith and the truth , the truth give and teach by Jesus him self. Yes , we as catholic we are fail in many things and I as catholic many times I am not the best example as well, what is the motivation the help me to go back on my feets and not give up even when I feil ? is the understanding, faith and mercy of God . I try to do my best day in day out , and what always help me is to remember how many times Jesus feil down carrying the cross? Yes, 3 times – how many times he back up ? 3 times- what for me Jesus is not just tell me but teaching me is : no matter how many times we mess up and feil , what really is important is to go back in our feets , move forward , ask God forgiveness and try to do our best.

    With this election Pope Francis I , I see the best of the two elements needed rigth now , a solid formation as a priest ( as all know Jesuits are known for that ) and a very prophetic Name Pope Francis I ( who all we know , Francis was call to help rebuild the church – with his simplicity and humility – what a similarity with our new Pope ).

    Let try to stay faithful to God love and be always glad of His mercy and forgiveness .

    God bless Pope Francis I and us , as one .

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