The first 100 days of Pope Francis

Alessandro Speciale of Religion News Service reports on the first 100 days of Pope Francis. From the article:

For the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, a Jesuit and editor of the Vatican-sanctioned magazine La Civiltà Cattolica, the most important change Francis brought to the papacy is his knack for “significant gestures that immediately convey very powerful messages.”

Francis started changing the tune of the papacy straight from day one, when – to the shock of his Vatican handlers – he insisted on personally settling his tab at the clerics’ residence where he stayed during the conclave that elected him.

The Argentine soon made it clear that he had no appetite for the creeping traditionalism and pomp of church power that had begun under his predecessor. He abandoned Benedict’s signature red cape, shoes and hats, preferring a simple white cassock and the plain iron cross he wore in Buenos Aires.

Francis says he’ll stay at the Vatican this summer rather than escape to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo. In a world so steeped in tradition and choreographed rituals as the Vatican, a change in style really is a matter of substance.

You can read the whole thing here.


  1. This makes me think of the words of Jaroslav Pelikan, when he said ““Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. And, I suppose I should add, it is traditionalism that gives tradition such a bad name.”

  2. “The Argentine soon made it clear that he had no appetite for the creeping traditionalism and pomp of church power ”

    I find this to be an incredible sign of hope! It is my fervent prayer that Francis’ (un-Prada shod) feet will continue on the Spirit-driven path blazed by Bl. John XXIII.

    1. @Linda Reid – comment #5:
      Linda, if you did not watch the link to the video of the interview with Bl. John XXIII’s secretary that Rita posted the other day, you must. You might have also seen it as I linked to that post on FB. The similarities of John and Francis truly struck me.

  3. “significant gestures that immediately convey very powerful messages.”

    a change in style really is a matter of substance.

    Francis has used his daily homilies to focus time and again on what is emerging as the central theme of his pontificate: building a “poor church, for the poor,”

    The spirituality of the poor which Francis is promoting does not change the substance of Christianity any more than the spiritualities of Anthony, Benedict, Francis, Dominic or Ignatius but its change of emphasis has the capacity to reshape the practice of Christianity as substantially as those other spiritualities did for their periods of history.

    Gutierrez in WE DRINK FROM OUR OWN WELLS: THE SPIRITUAL JOURNAL OF A PEOPLE defines spirituality as a way of walking in the spirit, a following of footsteps of Jesus, its focuses the Gospel in a new manner according to the needs of a time. The title of his book is taken from Bernard of Clairvaux that we must draw upon our own experience as people of our own times. Francis is certainly drawing on his own experience of serving the poor not just liberation theology.

    Francis like Gutierrez sees the poor of the world as central for a spirituality of our own age. Francis like Gutierrez does not set up an opposition between a Gospel or (spirituality) of Life and a Gospel (or spirituality) of the Poor. For the poor not to have dignity, significant roles, and their own culture as well as food, clothing and shelter is not to have a fully human life and to have the high probability of a premature or early death.

    Catholicism is the home of many different spiritualities, i.e. many different ways and life styles of being inspired by the Spirit to follow Jesus. Congar says each life of a saint is a new commentary on the Gospels; Rahner says each new canonization shows concretely a new way of following Jesus.

    Francis as a religious brings strong strains of spirituality to the Papacy that will change not only how that ministry is exercised, but will also inspire and shape the exercise of both clerical and lay ministry. However, not everyone should make the poor the center of living the Gospel. Nor should every future Pope avoid living in the Apostolic Palace.

    However not living in the Palace has become an option just as Benedict made resignation an option. Both of these new ways of following the Gospel have enlarged the capacity of the Papacy to serve the Church and the World.

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