John Allen in Rome: It's clear Pope Francis meant what he said about usury during his general audience Wednesday morning.
The Francis Chronicles
Prayers of praise for God aren't just for charismatics, Pope Francis said in a morning homily.
"We find it easy to understand praying to ask God for something and also to thank the Lord," he said Tuesday at his early morning Mass. But prayers of praise "don't come so spontaneously."
According to a report in Vatican Radio, Pope Francis focused his homily on a line from the day's first reading, which described David as "dancing before the Lord with abandon."
In an address to an Italian women's group, Pope Francis expressed a "vivid hope" that women will play a "more capillary and incisive" role in the Catholic church.
Pastoral ministry in a missionary key seeks to abandon the complacent attitude that says: “We have always done it this way”. I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities. A proposal of goals without an adequate communal search for the means of achieving them will inevitably prove illusory. I encourage everyone to apply the guidelines found in this document generously and courageously, without inhibitions or fear.
John Allen in Rome: Pope Francis phoned up the mother of a 16-year-old who disappeared in 1993 to promise the church's help and to pray for her.
Since I am called to put into practice what I ask of others, I too must think about a conversion of the papacy. It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it and to the present needs of evangelization. Pope John Paul II asked for help in finding “a way of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to a new situation”. We have made little progress in this regard.
Once again, Pope Francis is telling the world to say less and listen more. Speaking to his church audience, he said Wednesday that effective evangelization does not involve selling religion -- delivering religious messages -- as much as it involves listening and engaging people with their questions and doubts.
John Allen in Rome: In a message Thursday to the world of communications, Pope Francis called on the media to foster two qualities for which they're not exactly renowned.
The bishop must always foster this missionary communion in his diocesan Church, following the ideal of the first Christian communities, in which the believers were of one heart and one soul (cf. Acts 4:32). To do so, he will sometimes go before his people, pointing the way and keeping their hope vibrant. At other times, he will simply be in their midst with his unassuming and merciful presence. At yet other times, he will have to walk after them, helping those who lag behind and -- above all -- allowing the flock to strike out on new paths.