One of the most notable events of 2013 was the election of a new pope. Since taking over the papacy, Pope Francis has been making headlines for his humble nature, compassion for the poor, and efforts to unite people of all faiths and walks of life. So far-reaching have been his words and deeds that Time magazine named him Person of the Year for 2013 and dubbed him “The People’s Pope.” Check out some highlights from his first months as leader of the Catholic Church:
Catholic students in particular may find some of his viewpoints to be encouraging and inspiring, especially as the beginning of a new year affords us all an opportunity to reexamine our lives and priorities and begin working on bettering ourselves. With that in mind, here are 10 of the most heartening and thought-provoking quotes Pope Francis has proffered since taking up residence at the Vatican last March:
- "One of the more serious temptations which stifles boldness and zeal is a defeatism, which turns us into querulous and disillusioned pessimists, sourpusses."
- "Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside itself and go to those who do not attend Mass, to those who have quit or are indifferent. The ones who quit sometimes do it for reasons that, if properly understood and assessed, can lead to a return. But that takes audacity and courage."
- “I have a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person's life. God is in everyone's life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs, or anything else—God is in this person's life."
- "Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"
- "Among our tasks as witnesses to the love of Christ is that of giving a voice to the cry of the poor, so that they are not abandoned to the laws of an economy that seems at times to treat people as mere consumers."
- "Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed. The church cannot be herself without the woman and her role. The woman is essential for the church. Mary, a woman, is more important than the bishops."
- “The church must be attractive. Wake up the world! Be witnesses of a different way of doing things, acting, living! It is possible to live differently in this world.”
- “An example I often use to illustrate the reality of vanity is this: look at the peacock—it's beautiful if you look at it from the front, but if you look at it from behind, you discover the truth... Whoever gives in to such self-absorbed vanity has huge misery hiding inside them.”
- “Grace is not part of consciousness; it is the amount of light in our souls, not knowledge nor reason.”
And just to underscore what a truly fascinating pope he is. . .
- “I love tango, and I used to dance when I was young.”
What do you think of Pope Francis and the first year of his papacy? Have any of his teachings struck a chord with you?