By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What We Are Seeing is Historic

Before the selection of Pope Francis, I sensed an exhaustion in the Church, although I never imagined that it extended in a literal sense to the personal health of Benedict XVI. The exhaustion I sensed was rooted in the "self-enclosed" mentality of so many of my fellow Catholics:

1. A combative overemphasis on conflict over finding common ground;

2. A hypernomianism--an overemphasis on rules, liturgical and otherwise, as a reaction to the chaos of previous decades;

3. A deemphasis on the Church's fundamental Gospel orientation to the poor and marginalized.

The Gospels always point to the opposite:

1. Dialogue with all inviting all;

2. Mercy and compassion over legalism and rigorism;

3. A special regard for the poor and marginalized in contrast to religious elites.

The selection of Francis illuminated what I--and probably many others--also perceived. And Francis has given us the vocabulary to describe what we perceived but could not articulate.

(Image under Fair Use Doctrine)