Monsignor Yennock on Pope Francis in America September 27, 2015

Sep 28, 2015

POPE FRANCIS IN AMERICA

A WOMAN WHO WAS STANDING IN THE CROWD SAID: “EVEN IF I ONLY SEE HIM FOR A FEW SECONDS THAT’S ENOUGH FOR ME.” ANOTHER MAN SAID: “I JUST WANT TO SEE HIM PASS BY.”

FROM THE MOMENT HE STEPPED OFF OF SHEPHERD ONE AT THE WASHINGTON AIRPORT, POPE FRANCIS GRABBED THE WORLD STAGE. WHEREVER HE WENT THE CROWDS WERE OVERFLOWING. IT TOOK OVER 3 HOURS ON FRIDAY FOR 120,000 PEOPLE TO FILE INTO CENTRAL PARK JUST TO GET A GLIMPSE OF THE POPE AS HE MADE HIS WAY TO MADISON SQUARE GARDEN FOR MASS WHERE OVER 20,000 PEOPLE CAME TO WORSHIP WITH THE POPE.

IT IS INTERESTING THAT THE POPE CHOSE THE PRESENT AND FORMER CAPITOLS OF THE UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON, NEW YORK AND PHILADELPHIA TO BRING THE MESSAGE OF JESUS CHRIST.

AS HE REVIEWED THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES HE READ THE STORIES OF THE FIRST FRANCISCAN MISSIONARIES LIKE THE GEORGIA MARTYRS AND FATHER JUNIPERO SERRA.

THE FIRST JESUIT POPE COULD NOT HELP BUT BE MOVED BY THE ASTOUNDING LIVES OF THE JESUIT MISSIONARY MARTYRS ISAAC JOGUES AND RENE GUPIL. HE HAD TO BE INSPIRED BY THE LIFE AND WITNESS OF DAMIEN OF MOLOKAI AND JOHN NEUMANN.

THE WOMEN IN OUR HISTORY ARE AS ASTOUNDING AS THE MEN: STS. ELIZABETH ANN SETON, FRANCES CABRINI, KATHARINE DREXEL, AND MARIANNE COPE BRAVED THE HARDSHIPS OF FRONTIER LIFE TO FUND SCHOOLS, OPEN ORPHANAGES AND MINISTER TO LEPERS, IMMIGRANTS, NATIVE AMERICANS AND SLAVES.

FRANCIS COULD NOT MISS THE STORY OF THE BISHOPS, PRIESTS AND LAY PEOPLE WHO BUILT CHURCHES, FOUNDED SEMINARIES, ESTABLISHED MONASTERIES AND BUILT SCHOOLS, PARISHES AND DIOCESES ACROSS THE LAND WITH HUGE ENERGY AND BOUNDLESS FAITH. 

THE SACRIFICES OF THESE MEN AND WOMEN WERE THE TRUE FOUNDATION OF THE AMERICAN CATHOLIC CHURCH THAT POPE FRANCIS WAS BLESSING THIS PAST WEEK.

POPE FRANCIS HAS BEEN CALLED THE MOST FAMOUS MAN IN THE WORLD. FOR US, AS CATHOLICS HE IS THE VICAR OF CHRIST ON EARTH AND THE SUCCESSOR OF ST. PETER THE FIRST POPE.

WHATEVER PRAISE AND REVERENCE THAT IS GIVEN TO HIM IS MEANT FOR JESUS CHRIST.

WE MUST ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT THE POPE IS PRIMARILY THE DEFENDER OF THE DEPOSIT OF FAITH. IT IS UP TO HIM, WITH THE AID OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, TO PRESERVE IN TACT THE TEACHING OF JESUS.  WHATEVER HE DOES, AND WHEREVER HE GOES HE CARRIES THE LIFE AND TEACHING OF JESUS CHRIST TO THE SECULAR CITY.

IN HIS MESSAGE TO CONGRESS, THE SPIRITUAL TRUTH THAT THE POPE WAS TEACHING, IS FOUND IN HIS ENCYCLICAL LAUDATO SI. HIS STARTING POINT IS THE BOOK OF GENESIS IN THE BIBLE. THE POPE USED A POPULAR SCIENTIFIC CONCLUSION ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT TO SPEAK ABOUT THE CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE.

THE POPE FROM ARGENTINA IS KNOWN AS THE “SLUM POPE”, FOR HOW HE MINISTERED TO THE DOWNTRODDEN IN HIS NATIVE BUENOS AIRES. FROM THE BEGINNING HE URGED AMERICA AND THE WORLD TO TAKE BETTER CARE OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE POOR AND RETURN TO ITS FOUNDING IDEALS OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY AND OPEN ARMS TOWARD IMMIGRANTS.

 

WHEN THE POPE WAS TALKING ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT HE WAS NOT ENDORSING A POPULAR SCIENTIFIC OPINION ON GLOBAL WARMING. HE WAS NOT ENDORSING A SCIENTIFIC CONCLUSION AS TRUE OR FALSE, LEFT OR RIGHT, CONSERVATIVE OR LIBERAL. HE WAS NOT INTERESTED IN THE POLITICAL DEBATE.

 

THE CORE OF OUR APPRECIATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT IS THAT WE ARE NOT GOD. THE EARTH WAS HERE BEFORE US. WHEN GOD CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH AND ALL THINGS, HE BUILT INTO CREATION A SOLIDARITY BETWEEN HUMAN BEINGS AND ALL OF CREATION. HE MADE MAN THE STEWARD OF CREATION. AS CHRISTIANS WE CANNOT IGNORE ANYTHING ON THE PLANET. EVERY CREATURE DEMANDS OUR RESPECT AND CARE.

FOR POPE FRANCIS IT IS INCONSISTENT TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT NATURE WITHOUT ALSO SHOWING CONCERN FOR PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY THE POOREST AND MOST VULNERABLE AMONG US. HE EMPHASIZED ESPECIALLY THE DIGNITY OF HUMAN LIFE FROM THE FIRST MOMENT OF CONCEPTION TO THE LAST MOMENT OF NATURAL DEATH.

PRESCINDING FROM THE QUESTION OF WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONDITION OF THE ENVIRONMENT BY ABUSE, WASTE AND EXPLOITATION, EVERYONE AGREES THAT WE ARE NOT TREATING THE ENVIRONMENT WITH RESPECT—THE ENVIRONMENT IS BEING DAMAGED AND POPE FRANCIS IS SAYING THAT SOMETHING MUST BE DONE ABOUT IT.

FRANCIS WHO IS NOT LOOKING FOR APPROVAL ENJOYS APPROVAL RATINGS THE ENVY OF ANY CELEBRITY. HE IS ONE OF THE MOST RESPECTED INDIVIDUALS IN THE WORLD.

WE SAW HIS HUMILITY AND RESPECT BOTH AT THE UNITED NATIONS AND AT GROUND ZERO. IN THE COMPANY OF PERSONS OF GOODWILL AND REPRESENTATIVES OF EVERY RELIGIOUS BELIEF, HE HELD OUT A HAND OF REVERENCE AND LOVE.

HE INVITED US TO REFLECT WITH HIM ON HIS TOTAL MESSAGE FROM WASHINGTON TO PHILADELPHIA. HE WANTS US TO UNDERSTAND HIS MISSION OF MERCY, NOT IN PARTS, BUT AS A WHOLE, ANCHORED IN THE WITNESS OF HIS PREDECESSORS BLESSED PAUL VI, ST. JOHN PAUL II, AND BENEDICT XVI.

WHAT WE HAVE SEEN THIS WEEK IS AN EXPERT PASTOR OF SOULS, A REAL SHEPHERD. HE DID NOT COME AMONG US TO LECTURE US OR TO SCOLD US AS HE SAID TO OVER 400 BISHOPS OF THE UNITED STATES AT ST. MATTHEW’S CATHEDRAL IN WASHINGTON.

HE DID NOT COME TO DIVIDE BUT TO UNITE AND RECONCILE. HE SPOKE IN THE LANGUAGES OF NORTH AND SOUTH CALLING ALL AMERICANS TO PROMOTE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT SERVES THE CULTURE OF LIFE. WITH JESUS HE WANTS US TO CARE FOR ALL PERSONS AT EVERY STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT.

IN PHILADELPHIA THE CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE WHERE HE WILL SAY THE CLOSING MASS FOR THE WORLD CONFERENCE ON THE FAMILY, HE WILL PLEAD WITH US TO HONOR THE FAMILY ROOTED IN TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE AND OPEN TO HUMAN LIFE.

AT INDEPENDENCE HALL IN PHILADELPHIA, WHERE THE CONSTITUTION AND THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE WERE SIGNED; THE SITE OF THE LIBERTY BELL, HE WILL URGE US TO DEFEND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, TO PROTECT THE VULNERABLE AND MARGINALIZED, AND TO DREAM OF A BETTER FUTURE FOR HUMANITY.

THIS IS NOT THE POPE OF THE LEFT OR THE RIGHT. HERE IS PETER CARRYING THE MESSAGE OF THE FISHER OF MEN FROM GALILEE, INVITING ALL OF US TO A SPIRIT OF HARD WORK AND DETERMINATION TO LIVE THE GOLDEN RULE.

HE RECEIVED A STANDING OVATION BEFORE CONGRESS WHEN HE SAID: "LET US TREAT OTHERS WITH THE SAME PASSION AND COMPASSION WITH WHICH WE WANT TO BE TREATED. THE GOLDEN RULE ALSO REMINDS US OF OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT AND DEFEND HUMAN LIFE AT EVERY STAGE OF ITS DEVELOPMENT.”

POPE FRANCIS CHALLENGED CONGRESS AND THE NATION TO BREAK OUT OF ITS CYCLE OF POLARIZATION AND PARALYSIS TO USE ITS POWER TO HEAL THE “OPEN WOUNDS” OF A PLANET TORN BY HATRED, GREED, POVERTY AND POLLUTION.

 

DURING HIS FLIGHT TO AMERICA, AT A NEWS CONFERENCE, POPE FRANCIS DEFENDED HIMSELF AGAINST THOSE WHO IMPLIED THAT HE WAS A COMMUNIST BECAUSE OF HIS TEACHING ON SPREADING SOME OF THE WEALTH TO THE POOR.

HE SAID: “I AM CERTAIN THAT I HAVE NEVER SAID ANYTHING BEYOND WHAT IS IN THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH, I FOLLOW THE CHURCH AND IN THIS, I DO NOT THINK I AM WRONG.” HE SAID: “SOME MAY HAVE MISINTERPRETED MY WRITINGS IN A WAY THAT MAKES ME SOUND “A LITTLE BIT MORE LEFT-LEANING.” BUT HE SAID: “THAT’S WRONG.”

 

WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT US IF WE DO NOT RECOGNIZE IN HIS TEACHING THE RADICAL TEACHING OF JESUS CHRIST THAT WHATEVER YOU DO TO THE LEAST OF THESE YOU DO TO ME?

IN ADDITION TO CITING LINCOLN AND MARTIN LUTHER KING, FRANCIS MENTIONED TWO AMERICAN CATHOLICS TO MAKE HIS POINTS, DOROTHY DAY AND THOMAS MERTON. BOTH LIVED RADICALLY SIMPLE LIVES, CLOSE TO THE POOR AND REJECTING AMBITION — SYMBOLS OF THE FRANCIS MODEL OF HUMILITY AND DEVOTION.

POPE FRANCIS IS THE VICAR OF CHRIST ON EARTH. HE UNDERSTANDS, PERFECTLY, HIS ROLE TO DEFEND AND PRESERVE THE DEPOSIT OF FAITH. HE PROJECTS THE IMAGE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TOWARD OPENNESS AND COMPASSION WITHOUT CHANGING FUNDAMENTAL CHURCH DOCTRINE.

 

PRAISE BE JESUS CHRIST! LONG LIVE THE POPE!