SPIRITUAL LIFE: Pope Francis gets back to basics

Jesus 101 is straightforward. There is compassion and grace aplenty. Forgiveness is foremost. Have faith and practice love. I applaud Pope Francis for his back-to-basics style.

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Pray for me, because I’m about to sin. That’s how angry I am at this woman.

There are some major errors in this story. First, St. Francis of Assisi was not a critic of the papacy of his time. In fact, he wrote in his Testament that he promised obedience to the Lord Pope and that his brothers were to do the same. He was submissive to Pope Innocent III, Honorius III and Gregory IX. Pope Gregory IX and he were personal and very close friends as Pope Gregory had served as the Cardinal Protector of Francis and his friars while he was Cardinal Hugolino. Francis was also a participant in the fourth Lateran Council along with St. Dominic. There is an old Church dedicated to St. Francis just outside of what is now the Vatican. It was here that Francis stayed when he visited the popes.

Francis had nothing to do with the construction of the Basilica in his honor. The construction was ordered by Brother Elias of Cortona who was the Minister General. Elias decided this one year after Francis’ death. The pope had nothing to do with it. The Church did not take advantage of Francis’ holiness. The basilica was built by the people of Assisi, not the papacy. Pope Gregory IX came to the unfinished basilica in 1228 to canonize Francis. It was the first time that he ever saw it.

The site was chosen because that’s where Brother Elias had hidden the body of St. Francis. He was afraid that the local people would steal it for relics and rightly so. The first generation of brothers died and the exact location of the tomb was lost somewhere under the basilica. When it was found, the basilica was expanded to include a crypt church where the relics of St. Francis could be venerated. This had nothing to do with the papacy. These were decisions made by the superiors general and the general council of the order.

To state that the basilica stands in contrast to Francis’ love of poverty is not to know Francis at all. Francis wrote to his brothers and sisters that our chapels were to use only the most precious metals, the best linen and the most delicate materials for the celebration of the Holy Mysteries and the reservation of the Most Holy Eucharist. That was the one luxury that the friars were allowed, anything for the glory of God. The basilica was build to reflect how God’s glory has shown through Francis of Assisi.

Finally, as to working with the poor, this has been blown out of proportion. Francis did not found an order to work with the poor. The Order of Friars Minor has always had one and only one ministry and it is clearly stated in the opening sentence of the Rule of St. Francis and it’s not working with the poor. The Rule begins, “The rule and life of the Friars Minor is to OBSERVE THE HOLY GOSPEL IN OBEDIENCE, without property and in chastity.”

When Anthony of Padua writes for permission to teach the brothers theology, Francis responds that he may do so provided that it does not extinguish the life of prayer. Observe Francis first concern in the rule is with obedience and poverty. His other concern in his letter to Anthony is with prayer. Service to the poor was a product, not the goal. When the brothers embrace the life of poverty, they live and work among the poor as one of the poor. The poor are not the beneficiaries of their charity in some condescending way at it is portrayed in this report. The poor are our brothers and sisters with whom we share our daily lives, this includes sharing our resources and their poverty.

We’re not an apostolic congregation like the Vincentians, not that there is anything wrong with them or the Missionaries of Charity. We’re poor men who live with and embrace the poor as Christ did. We make their poverty our own by giving up everything to be one of them. We have a holy envy for the grace that God has bestowed on the poor who share in the passion of Christ and at the same time, we extend to the poor the compassion of Christ through solidarity with them. Like Christ who became man to elevate man to holiness, we become one with the poor and together we rise above suffering and from our alienation from God and human dignity.

I’m soooooo angry that I could bite a bullet and not feel it. :mad:

Now I have to go to confession, because a Franciscan of LIfe must always be in complete control over his emotions and distant from his personal feelings on any subject. :blush:

Good call Br. Jay. Perhaps your sin is mitigated somewhat by its righteous nature at this pretty blatant ignorant rant.

I do have to agree with her on one thing, but I feel like it better applies to her own article.

Let’s be frank. Religion bashing abounds, and not many object when listening to others lay blame or vent anger with blanket statements. Religion becomes a major way to stereotype what is wrong with others, and it worsens when religious leaders fuel the fire.

I’d say she just engaged in the very thing she decries because it so drastically contrasts with the real facts.

Sorry lady…but check your press credentials at the door…

Very interesting thread for me, as I read the article in question I felt it was fairly positive towards Pope Francis and the Church today. If you had not started this thread I would not have known about the inaccuracies of the historical information. So, thanks!

You could send her an email at the bottom of the page explaining this. Maybe she would do a follow up article to correct it. She probably wouldnt, but you could try.

It’s good to “see” you, Brother JR. I’ll pray an extra prayer for you :slight_smile:

The writer is a Catholic with an agenda: which is to use both St. Francis and the pope to give credibility to her own point of view.

The “Letter to the Clergy” and the “Testament.”

Thank you. Putting this here for mine or anyone else’s reference on St. Francis:The chalices, corporals, appointments of the altar, and everything which pertains to the sacrifice must be of precious material. (St. Francis, First Letter to the Custodians)

Let me remind everyone that just as this author has not right to use St. Francis for her agenda, neither do the radical traditionalists (not the average Trad individual). Many use this particular piece of writing by our holy father Francis to push a very radical agenda, which is contrary to the mind of St. Francis. St. Francis was not in constant conflict with the Church of his time. He was not hypercritical of the Church, the clergy or the bishops. He was not analyzing every word by the popes to see where he could find an opening to cry “Heresy!” Judging the popes, clergy and theologians, as well as what they did or said was not on his agenda.

His agenda was to live in peace with man, unquestioningly obedient to the pope and bishops (unless commanded to commit an IDENTIFIED sin), and in perfect charity with God. Radical traditionalism would have scandalized him as much as Modernism.

By going back to the first chapels of our order, we know that Francis meant something very different from what some people want to impose today. His idea of reverence, cleanliness, and beauty was never to cause controversy. In fact, if there was a controversy, the brothers were to pick up and leave, not stay and argue unlike extremists want to do. Some people want to win an argument or push a point. That was not St… Francis.

I hope this is not too confusing.

Sounds like the author of the article saw a cartoon biography of Francis produced in the 1970’s so she’s decided she’s an EXPERT!
:wink:

Thankfully, nobody these days reads or watches the sort of fuzzy bunny catechesis used in the 70’s and 80’s. It’s all in the junk heap and rightly so.

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