This might be the best thing ever produced by vatican.va.
A fantatstic Lenten meditation from Catholic Culture! here's a taste:
from Catholic Thing
"The priest is called to learn this, to have a heart that is moved. 'Ascetic ' priests do not help the Church. We can think of the Church today as a 'field hospital', excuse me for saying this, but it's the way I see it so, I feel it, we need to heal wounds. There are many wounded people, wounded by material problems, scandals, even in the Church ... people wounded by the world's illusions... We priests need to be there, close to these people. Mercy means first of all healing wounds . When one is wounded, one immediately needs this, not analysis: we can seek specialist care later, but first you have to treat open wounds. For me, it is most important at this time, there are people who become distant so as not to reveal their wounds. I am reminded of how under Mosaic law, the lepers were distanced. People who distance themselves, ashamed, not to show their wounds, the move away, their face turned, against the Church , they want a caress, I ask you, dear brethren, do you know the wounds of your parishioners ? Are you close to them?". -The Pope of Mercy
CNA did a better job of translating this portion of the Corriere interview:
At half a century from Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, can the Church take up again the theme of birth control? Cardinal Martini, your confrere, thought that the moment had come.
All of this depends on how Humanae Vitae is interpreted. Paul VI himself, at the end, recommended to confessors much mercy, and attention to concrete situations. But his genius was prophetic, he had the courage to place himself against the majority, defending the moral discipline, exercising a culture brake, opposing present and future neo-Malthusianism. The question is not that of changing the doctrine but of going deeper and making pastoral (ministry) take into account the situations and that which it is possible for people to do. Also of this we will speak in the path of the synod.
and wit and charm to boot:
Why, Holy Father, do you never speak about Europe? What is it about the European project that does not convince you?
Holy Father: Do you remember the day when I spoke of Asia? What did I say? (Here the reporter ventures to give some explanation, collecting vague memories only to realize that he had fallen for a nice trick). I have not spoken about Asia, or Africa, or Europe. Only about Latin America when I was in Brazil, and when I had to receive the Commission for Latin America. There hasn’t yet been a chance to talk about Europe. It will come.
What book are you reading these days?
Holy Father: ‘Peter and Magdalene’ by Damiano Marzotto on the feminine dimension of the Church. A beautiful book.
And you’re not able to see any good films, another of your passions? "La Grande Bellezza" won an Oscar. Will you see it?
Holy Father: I don’t know. The last movie I saw was Benigni's ‘Life is Beautiful’. And before I had seen Fellini's ‘La Strada’. A masterpiece. I also liked Wajda...
St. Francis had a carefree youth. I ask you: have you ever been in love?
Holy Father: In the book The Jesuit, I recount when I had a girlfriend at the age of 17. And I mention it also Heaven and Earth, the volume that I wrote with Abraham Skorka. In the seminary, a girl made my head spin for a week.
And if you do not mind me asking, how did it end?
Holy Father: They were things of youth. I spoke with my confessor about it [a big smile].
Thank you Holy Father.
Holy Father: Thank you.
the Corriere interview
and so should you:
the Pope's Message for Lent.
"I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt."-His Holiness Franciscus
Sounds similar to something expressed by Soren Kierkegaard, from a quote found at the Lenten Reading list provided by The Anchoress:
"The difference between an admirer and a follower still remains, no matter who you are. The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Though in words, phrases, songs, he is inexhaustible about how highly he prizes Christ, he renounces nothing, gives up nothing, will not reconstruct his life, will not be what he admires, and will not let his life express what it is he supposedly admires."
In the Diocese of Gaylord, we are praying for a new Bishop that fits this description, because our previous Bishop certainly did let us find our place in his heart:
"May bishops be shepherds, close to the people; 'fathers and brothers, may they be gentle, patient and merciful; may they love poverty, interior poverty, as freedom for the Lord, and exterior poverty, as well as simplicity and a modest lifestyle; may they not have the mindset of “princes”'. Be careful that they are not ambitious, that they are not in quest of the episcopate', that they are espoused to the Church, without constantly seeking another; this is called adultery. May they be overseers of the flock that has been entrusted to them, to take care of everything that is needed to keep it united. ... I wish to emphasise again that the Church needs genuine Pastors ... look at the testament of the Apostle Paul. ... He speaks directly to us. He commits the pastors of the Church 'to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance'. Therefore, not masters of the Word, but committed to it, servants of the Word. Only in this way is it possible to edify and obtain the inheritance of the saints. To those who are plagued with questions about their legacy: 'What is the legacy of a bishop, gold or silver?', Paul answers, 'Holiness'. The Church remains when God's holiness spreads to her members. ... Vatican Council II states that the 'pastoral office or the habitual and daily care of their sheep is entrusted” completely to bishops. In our times, regularity and the everyday are often associated with routine and boredom. Therefore we often try to escape to a permanent 'elsewhere'. Unfortunately even in the Church we are not exempt from this risk. I think that in this time of meetings and congresses the decree of the Council of Trent is very current, and it would be good for the Congregation for Bishops to write something about this. ... The flock needs to find a place in the heart of its Pastor. If this is not solidly anchored in itself, in Christ and His Church, the bishop will continually be at the mercy of the waves, in search of ephemeral compensations, and will offer no shelter to his flock".
Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/articolo.asp?c=777111
of the Vatican Radio website
We can entrust ourselves to Mary because Jesus entrusted himself to
her first. Christ passed through Mary as he entered this world, and he
received Mary’s blood, and hers alone, in the womb. So the blood Christ
shed on the Cross was also, in some derivative, also her blood.
Blood is a mysterious language, but seeing how clearly it speaks in my own life, makes it easier to acknowledge Mary’s role in salvation. Her motherhood is most certainly a gift Christ wants us to receive. Passing through her in prayer is a way of sharing in Christ’s incarnation, and in receiving Christ’s sacrifice, the cup of his blood in the Eucharist, we also receive the safe haven of his mother’s womb.
The word kinship is used to connote a connection both by blood and by character or affinity. In receiving Christ’s blood and the motherhood of Mary, we also receive kinship with one another in the Body of Christ.
from her blog
Speaking at his general audience today, Pope Francis said: “Sometimes
someone asks: ‘Why bother going to church, the people who always go to
Mass are sinners like the others’. If you do not feel in need of God’s
mercy, if you do not feel you are a sinner, then it’s better not go to
Mass, because we go to Mass because we are sinners and we want to
receive the forgiveness of Jesus, to participate in His redemption, His
“That ‘I confess’ we say at the beginning is not a ‘pro forma’, is a true act of penance, ‘I am a sinner and I confess’. We have to go to Mass humbly, as sinners, and the Lord reconciles us.”
Pope Francis went on to say: “We celebrate the Eucharist not because we are worthy, but because we recognise our need for God’s mercy, incarnate in Jesus Christ."