National Catholic Reporter

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Spirituality

Editorial: Becoming a 'messy' church under Pope Francis

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One line from Pope Francis' impromptu news conference with reporters aboard the papal plane as it flew from Brazil to Rome last month quickly became a setup for comedians around the world.

Responding to a question about gay priests, Francis said, now famously, "If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?"

Comedians, unable to resist this setup from the ultimate straight man, responded: "Who are you to judge? You're the pope. Judging is in your job description."

Pope Francis and the three temptations of the church

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The church faces three temptations, according to Pope Francis: the temptation to turn the Gospel message into an ideology; the temptation to run the church like a business; and the temptation of clericalism. In an address July 28 to the episcopal council of CELAM, the Latin American conference of bishops, Pope Francis laid out these temptations and how the church should respond to them.

By faith

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Today, the author of Hebrews sets the ambience for our worship, holding up Abraham, our father in faith, for our edification and emulation. In a mini-biography, the ancient writer reminds us of the salient moments of Abraham’s life, each one of which was made possible by faith. By faith Abraham obeyed, not knowing where he was to go; by faith he sojourned; by faith he received power; by faith he offered up Isaac. Abraham was able to be and to do all that God asked of him only because his entire life was driven and empowered by faith.

First God forgives

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Our Genesis author continues along the same road we traveled last week: pointing out personality traits in our faith ancestor that readers are expected to imitate. Two stand out today.

During a time in which set prices weren’t tagged on items for sale, one tried to obtain the object for as low a cost as possible. From an early age, one learned and practiced the art of negotiating, and Abraham demonstrates this skill.

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In This Issue

July 18-31, 2014

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