Thursday, March 14, 2013

Who are the people who were waiting for Pope Francis? = Sr. Joan Chittester - NCRonline

Joan Chittister, O.P.

Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister asks

Who are the people who were waiting for Pope Francis?  (National Catholic Reorter Online)
It gets spiritually exhausting to go on waiting for a pastor again and instead getting a scolding, reactionary church whose idea of perfection is the century before the last one rather than the century after this one.
They're weary of seeing contraception being treated as more sinful than the sexual abuse of children.
All in all, they're weary of being told, "Don't even think about it." They're weary of being treated as if they are bodies and souls without a brain.
It's weariness, weariness, weariness. It's not an angry, violent, revolutionary response. It's much worse than that. It's a weary one, and weariness is a very dangerous thing. When people are weary, they cease to care; they cease to listen; they cease to wait.
These are the kind of people who waited for a new pope, whatever kind of man he might be.
At first sight, Jorge Mario Bergoglio -- Pope Francis -- is a quiet and humble man, a pastoral man and as a Latin American, a leader of 51 million Catholics, or the largest concentration of Catholics on the planet, which is not business-as-usual as far as papal history goes.
But perhaps the most profound and memorable moment of his introduction is that he presented himself on the balcony in front of thousands of people from all parts of the world not in the brocaded fashion of a pope, but in a simple white cassock.
And then came the real shock: He bowed to the people. Bowed. And asked them to pray a blessing down on him before he blessed them. Francis, I remembered, was the Christian who reached out to Muslims. Francis, the one who listened to every creature in the universe and dialogued with it.
Indeed, if this Francis, too, is a listener, there is hope for reconciliation, hope for healing, hope for the development of the church.
No doubt about it: We know who the people are who have been waiting for a pope and why they are weary. The question now is, Does he know how weary they are? And does he care? Really?
From where I stand, something has to change. Maybe, just maybe, this time ...

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