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Pope Francis, Jesus and modernity

Pope Francis, Jesus and modernity

In the New York Times, novelist, historian and former priest James Carroll has an essay on Pope Francis, modernity and Jesus:

Francis is pointing more to that figure than to himself, or even to the church, which is why institution-protecting conservatives are right to view him with alarm. For this pope, the church exists for one reason only — to carry the story of Jesus forward in history, and by doing that to make his presence real. Everything else is rubrics…

Such retrieval of the centrality of Jesus can restore a long-lost simplicity of faith, which makes Catholic identity — or the faith of any other church — only a means to a larger communion not just with fellow Jesus people, but with humans everywhere. All dogmas, ordinances and accretions of tradition must be measured against the example of the man who, acting wholly as a son of Israel, eschewed power, exuded kindness, pointed to one whom he called Father, and invited those bent over in the shadowy back to come forward to his table.

It was the table, I suddenly recall, that brought me here in the first place. The lights come up, the people arrive, and I stand.

The full essay from James Carroll is here.

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Rod Gillis

Thanks. Carroll’s article is well worth the read in full. Clearly, ambiguity towards the institution , if not chronically, then acutely from time to time, is an issue for most of us who participate in it. Carroll also touches on some of the issues that ground the crisis of church decline and what Francis appears to be attempting to do about it. Francis appears to be on to the fact that the institution does not exist for itself, not just in theory but in practice.

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