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Posts tagged: Pope Francis

Pope Francis, the bishops and sex

Pope Francis called a meeting in Rome this week seeking conversations among 200 prelates. The topic: how to make Church teachings on family issues relevant for today’s Catholics.   

For openers, the men listened to Ron and Mavis Pirola, a married couple from Australia, talk about sex. Nice ice-breaker for a complicated task.

The couple explained how important sex is to their 57-year marriage; claiming sexual attraction brought them together so long ago.  The couple spoke of marriage as a “sexual sacrament with its fullest expression in sexual intercourse.” And while they had read Church documents on family matters, the couple said, “They (documents) seem to be from another planet…and not terribly relevant to our own experiences.”

The Church has spoken on many “family life” topics – abortion, contraception, sex outside of marriage - we know the list; however the Church has seldom proclaimed what many people know: sexual intimacy between two people in a loving, committed relationship offers a glimpse of sacred surrender, awareness of divine presence through our human experience. God is near.

Yes, men, it is true: not all sacramental moments occur in church. Often we experience sacred, sacramental moments in our homes, in our bedrooms.  Really, we do.

Holy Thursday – Pope Francis style

He leads with humility and grace. Today, Pope Francis chooses to wash the feet of aged and frail people who live at the Don Gnocchi Centre in Rome. Washing of the feet is an integral part of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, celebrated today, Holy Thursday.  The gesture commemorates Jesus’ act of washing the feet of his disciples.

While most believers celebrate this holy day not in Rome, but in their local churches,  we carry Pope Francis’ message in our hearts: love those who need it most, serve them with humility, and when you do, you become the hands, the heart, the face of Christ. 

(S-R archive photo: Pope Francis washes the foot of an inmate at the juvenile detention center of Casal del Marmo, Rome, Thursday, March 28, 2013.)

Papal visits

We have seen the guards and the pomp and ceremony that accompany popes as they travel. But Pope Francis I apparently manages to sidestep that protocol and slip out of his residence and into the community. He moves among the poor, those who move through the streets in the dark of night.

“Love one another as I have loved you,” Jesus said.

Francis listened and continues to teach the Church what it means to love through simple, tangible actions.

(S-R archive photo: Pope Francis celebrates a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican )

Kindness…a Jesus trait

Following Pope Francis – his travels and theology – causes me to smile and relax. No silly statements, just embracing people and their humanity. His comments infused with compassion and kindness offer hope for the Catholic Church.  See story

I think that Jesus may have evoked similar reactions of warmth and acceptance of self and others. Could it be any simpler: “Love one another as I have loved you.”?  

(S-R photo: Pope Francis delivers his homily during a Mass at Rio de Janeiro's Cathedral in Brazil, Saturday, July 27, 2013.)

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Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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