Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

4/8/2014 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Francis is a prophetic Pope with a profoundly moving love for the poor. This is the 'love of preference' or 'preferential option' which Catholic Social Doctrine expounds, made visible in the flesh, with a bighearted smile.

Giving the Body and Blood of Jesus to a brother in the Lord through a border fence speaks prophetically of the saving mission of the Church. The Border is a new periphery. The Church is the Body of Christ, called into the whole world to continue His redemptive mission. Those who are joined in Jesus Christ are joined in a solidarity which speaks beyond politics. Sadly, even some in Catholic media circles, did not get the message. One Catholic Aggregation site wrongly insinuated the act was somehow an inappropriate political use of holy communion. I was truly distressed to read such an incorrect "spin". The act was prophetic and pastoral. It was another demonstration of the prophetic church of the New Franciscans.  Get ready, there is much more to come.

Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap.

Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/8/2014 (9 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Border Bishops, solidarity, love of preference, preferential option, Archbishop José H. Gomez, Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley, Pope Francis, Nogales, Arizona, social doctrine, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE,VA (Catholic Online) - In February of 2012, right before the consistory where he would be chosen as the successor of Peter, then Cardinal  Jorge Mario Bergoglio gave an interview to the Vatican Insider. He shared from the heart about his missionary mindset and his love for the poor, in all of their manifestations.  He also sent the signal of what has become what I am calling the New Franciscan papacy.

Below I offer two of the questions and answers. The entire interview is worth reading as Pope Francis begins his second year pastoring the universal church. The interview signaled his conviction concerning the holiness and character of Bishops and his insights into the necessary reform of the curia. Any observer of the first year of this Franciscan Papacy will see that he is implementing what he signaled.

As with all Popes, the choice of the name he took upon assuming the Chair of Peter is significant. With this Pope, it was particularly prophetic. He took the name of the little poor man of Assisi, Francis. The one to whom the Lord appeared and said "Go and Rebuild my Church which you can see is falling down in ruins." 

That humble servant named Francis Bernadone did what the Lord asked him in the thirteenth century. As a result, both the Church and the world were changed. The Church of Francis of Assisi  was not unlike the Church which Pope Francis serves. The world of Francis of Assisi was not unlike the world into which Pope Francis is called to bring the message of the Gospel in its fullness.

The missionary manner and prophetic actions of Francis of Assisi are a key to understanding the missionary manner and prophetic actions of this new Francis for our time. Here are the questions and responses:
 
What do you make of the Pope's decision to call for a year of faith and his insistence on the new evangelization?

Benedict XVI has insisted on the renewal of faith being a priority and presents faith as a gift that must be passed on, a gift to be offered to others and to be shared as a gratuitous act. It is not a possession, but a mission. This priority indicated by the Pope has a commemorative purpose: through the Year of Faith we remember the gift we have received. And there are three pillars to this: the memory of having been chosen, the memory of the promise that was made to us and the alliance that God has forged with us. We are called to renew this alliance, our belonging to the community of God's faithful.

What does evangelization mean in a context such as that of Latin America? 

The context is that which emerged from the fifth conference of Latin American bishops, held in Aparecida, in 2007. It called us to undertake a continental mission; the entire continent is a missionary state. Plans were and continue to be made, but the paradigmatic aspect remains: all ordinary activities of the Church take place in view of the mission. This signifies very strong tensions between centre and periphery, between parish and district. We need to come out of ourselves and head for the periphery.

We need to avoid the spiritual sickness of a Church that is wrapped up in its own world: when a Church becomes like this, it grows sick. It is true that going out onto the street implies the risk of accidents happening, as they would to any ordinary man or woman. But is the Church stays wrapped up in itself, it will age. And if I had to choose between a wounded Church that goes out onto the streets and a sick withdrawn Church, I would definitely choose the first one.

Francis is a prophetic Pope with a profoundly moving love for the poor. This is the "love of preference" or "preferential option" which Catholic Social Doctrine expounds,made visible in the flesh, with a bighearted smile. It is manifested in everything this Pope does. He speaks through words and deeds. That kind of integrated capacity to speak through symbolic acts is characteristic of prophetic people.

That same integrated capacity to speak prophetically is characteristic of one of his closest advisers and collaborators in the New Franciscan Papacy, Cardinal Sen Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap.  This man is a Franciscan Friar with a big heart for the Lord. When you meet him you are immediately drawn not to him, but to the Lord whom he serves with such simplicity and love. You also want to smile.  

His relationship with Jesus Christ comes through in word and action. He fully understands the Gospel mandate to reach out to what Pope Francis calls the peripheries, with the love of God made visible.  I thank the Lord that, all those years ago now, when I lived in those peripheries, Jesus sent someone to me.

Both Pope Francis and Cardinal Sen are what I call Evangelical Catholics. I used the phrase long before it became "acceptable". Back when I wrote the first book to actually use phrase, Evangelical Catholic was a controversial term. A great evangelical protestant champion for the Lord named Chuck Colson wrote the forward to the book. Chuck and I became fodder for anti-catholic Protestants. Sadly, some of the virulent criticisms still circulate.

To my dismay, when the book was published, it was dismissed, disregarded, or made light of by some in the then emerging Catholic intellectual class. Chapter I was entitled Evangelical Catholic: A Contradiction in Terms?

I began with a simple claim: I am a Christian. I am a Catholic Christian. I am an evangelical Catholic Christian. To many who read all three claims, they are either contradictory or can only stand together in certain limited configurations. Nevertheless, it is my contention and my experience that not only can I be all three, but each is necessary to define my relationship with Jesus Christ and with His Church as well as my role in the Church's ongoing mission to bring all men and women to salvation in Jesus Christ.

All these years later, I still make the same claim. In fact, the depth of its meaning has only expanded through my lived experience and been deepened by my theological studies. Fortunately, I am also joined by millions who make the same claim that they are Evangelical Catholics.

This Cardinal from Boston and Pope from Buenos Aires are men who personally know the Risen Lord Jesus, understand the priestly and Franciscan vocation, and live it out in genuine humility. They are men of prophetic action. And, they are joined by divine design.

I was not  surprised when Pope Francis chose the Cardinal to serve in a significant role in this pontificate. It confirmed my conviction that Francis is a special gift for the Church at this time of reform and that we are living in a new missionary age. He is selecting leaders, after a clear time of discernment, with a specific pastoral plan in mind.

It is in this light that the prophetic leadership and prophetic action of Cardinal Sen Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap. must be understood. On April 1, 2014, when he led an eight person mission to the US-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona and offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, he was expressing the spirit of this Franciscan papacy. His homily is beautiful and can be read in its entirety here

Giving the Body and Blood of Jesus to a brother in the Lord through a border fence speaks prophetically of the saving mission of the Church. The Border is a new periphery. The Church is the Body of Christ, called into the whole world to continue His redemptive mission. Those who are joined in Jesus Christ are joined in a solidarity which speaks beyond politics.

Sadly, even some in Catholic media circles, did not get the message. One Catholic Aggregation site wrongly insinuated the act was somehow an inappropriate political use of holy communion. I was truly distressed to read such an incorrect "spin". The act was prophetic and pastoral. It was another demonstration of the prophetic church of the New Franciscans.  Get ready, there is much more to come.

Another of my favorite Bishops in the United States is Archbishop Jos H. Gomez. He addresses Immigration with prophetic insight and compelling clarity. His extraordinary book entitled Immigration and the Next America: Renewing the Soul of Our Nation should be ready by any sincere Christian who wants to approach this issue with a renewed mind and heart.

The Archbishop of Los Angeles calls us to approach one of the hot button issues of the hour with a Catholic mind and a Catholic heart - and to take our place in building a new and true Culture of Life and Civilization of love, by rejecting what Pope Francis has labeled the throwaway culture.  The lens through which we must view all men and women is their human dignity. We are all created in the Image of God.

We are not first liberal, conservative or any other permutation of these political labels. We are not first Democrats or Republicans, or any other political party. We are first Catholic Christians and, as such, we need to approach this issue - and every 'social issue' - with the mind and heart of the Lord as revealed through His Church. 

The book, like the prophetic action of the Cardinal from Boston and his brothers, is not about politics but about a prophetic response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For those who want to consider more of where the Prophetic Church of the New Franciscans is headed, I recommend reading the Aparecida Document.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More U.S.

The Prophetic Dream of Don Bosco and the Leadership of the Pope

Image of The saint saw the Church as a great Ship of Peter surrounded by a flotilla of other vessels. They were engaged in intense warfare. At the helm of the Church was the Pope who at one point in a fierce battle fell mortally wounded. The enemies of the Church closed in sensing this was their moment. In the vision two columns then emerged from the great ocean

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This vision could describe what is occurring in our own day. Visions use symbols to communicate. They often have numerous applications and interpretations. We have been blessed with successors of Peter who are steering Christ's Church through those two columns, ... continue reading


For the first time in 100 years, Yosemite National Park hosts extremely rare sighting of the Sierra Nevada red fox Watch

Image of For the first time in 100 years, the Sierra Nevada red fox has been spotted in the Yosemite National Park.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the first confirmed sighting in nearly 100 years, the rare Sierra Nevada red fox has been captured with motion-sensitive cameras in the Yosemite National Park. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "We are thrilled to hear about the sighting of the Sierra Nevada red ... continue reading


Disaffected Colorado teenager who tried to join ISIS gets four years in prison Watch

Image of After serving four years in prison, 19-year-old Shannon Conley must spend three years of supervised release and serve community service.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Poor choices made in youthful hast have consequences. Nineteen-year-old Shannon Conley, from Colorado has been sentenced to four years in prison for attempting to join Islamic State. At the heart of this disturbing story is an Internet romance that went ... continue reading


Coin collectors of the world eagerly line up to see 1822 Half Eagle at convention Watch

Image of Historically, nearly 18,000 of the $5 pieces were minted in 1822. As the concentration of gold was lowered in coins after 1834, most of the earlier coins were melted down for gold.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

One of the rarest coins in the U.S., the 1822 Half Eagle, originally worth only $5, will make its first public appearance in more than three decades in Long Beach this weekend. There are only three of the coins known still in existence. The coin will go on ... continue reading


California's Kern County declares state of FISCAL EMERGENCY with plunging gas prices Watch

Image of Supervisors adopted a plan to immediately begin scaling back county spending rather than making deep reductions all at once in July.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Kern County, in central California, relies heavily on its petroleum industry for tax revenues. While motorists nationwide are currently enjoying lower gas prices, this spells certain disaster for the County of Kern - officials there have declared a fiscal ... continue reading


Could terrorists attempt to attack the White House with a drone? Crash sparks debate over future use of drones in war Watch

Image of A small, four propeller drone, crashed on the White House lawn, spurring a discussion on whether drones may be used by terrorist groups in the future.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A two-foot-long, four propeller drone crashed onto the White House grounds yesterday, raising troubling questions that drones could be utilized by terrorists or other potential murderers to attack the White House or other U.S. government institutions that have ... continue reading


The Thrill of the Chaste: Matt C. Abbott Interviews Dawn Eden Watch

Image of Dawn Eden, author of the highly-acclaimed My Peace I Give You and the Catholic edition of The Thrill of the Chaste

By Matt C. Abbott

Being a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, and receiving Jesus' own Body and Blood in the Eucharist, has given me a deeper understanding of the meaning of being embodied. I see more clearly how chastity enables one to love fully in each relationship, in the ... continue reading


GOP teams up with Israeli prime minister to forcefully override Obama's Iran policy Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

House Speaker John Boehner is seeking to enlist Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to support a congressional plan to override President Obama's Iran policy on March 3. Boehner hopes to bring Netanyahu to a joint session of the House and Senate. Boehner ... continue reading


The Prophetic Connection Between the March for Life and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is no accident that the March for Life always falls within the National Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It is prophetic.We have been thrown together in a common defense of life in a western culture which has lost its moral compass. Our Marching together ... continue reading


Early Christian Deacon and Martyr Vincent Calls Us to Heroic Christian Witness in a Hostile Culture Watch

Image of Vincent was born in the Third Century in Huesca, Spain and born again to eternal life only four days into the fourth century. He lived in Saragossa where he served the holy Bishop Valerius as a Deacon.He was one of the scores of Christians who suffered brutal persecution under the evil Roman emperor named Diocletian. Diocletian is associated with the last of the ten persecutions of the nascent undivided Christian Church of the first millennium of our history.  Like many early deacons of the undivided Church such as Stephen, Lawrence and Ephrem, the hagiography which has been passed down through the Church records his holiness of life and heroic virtue. He lived the way he died, as a sign of the power of the Gospel and the truth of the presence of the Risen Jesus Christ in our midst.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Deacon Vincent was a man like us who encountered the same Risen Lord Jesus whom we have encountered. He struggled with the choices which always accompany living the Christian life in the midst of a culture which has squeezed God and His truth out of the ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Deuteronomy 18:15-20
15 Yahweh your God will raise up a prophet like me; ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9
1 Come, let us cry out with joy to Yahweh, acclaim ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 1:21-28
21 They went as far as Capernaum, and at once on the ... Read More

Reading 2, First Corinthians 7:32-35
32 I should like you to have your minds free from all ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 1st, 2015 Image

St. Brigid of Ireland
February 1: Brigid was probably born at Faughart near Dundalk, Louth, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter