pope francis

Cover of 'The name of God is Mercy'
An anecdote about taking a cross from a dead priest is perhaps not one you would expect to hear from a pontiff, but The name of God is Mercy is full of such of disarming tales from Pope Francis. Most are encouraging stories, about people who have practised or understood mercy, but there is also the occasional warning about religious rigidity or arrogance. No story is wasted and, typically of Francis, each is used to make a deeper theological truth accessible. In the story of the...
St Aloysius' College Caritas Award winners
The Scottish Catholic Education Service has this year awarded its prestigious Caritas Award to a record number of pupils from St Aloysius’ College, recognising their service to others and their active commitment to faith during their final year at school. The Caritas Award was introduced in 2011 by the Bishops Conference of Scotland and invites young people of any faith to explore the idea that “the love which God lavishes upon us must in turn be shared with others”. The...
Pope Francis with the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Greek Orthodox Archbishop at Moria camp Credit: Orestis Panagiotou/EPA
Pope Francis, accompanied by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Ieronymus II, made an emotional visit to the Moria camp on Lesbos, which houses 250 refugees, on Saturday. In moving address he told them:"You are not alone. In these weeks and months, you have endured much suffering in your search for a better life. Many of you felt forced to flee situations of conflict and persecution for the sake, above all, of...
Photo of Pope Francis
Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, published on 8 April 2016, transposes church teaching on marriage and the family from the key of law to that of virtue and should be celebrated, says Nicholas Austin SJ. This powerful new document offers ‘a Gospel-inspired vision of what family life can be, a word of encouragement for those who are not yet there, and above all another example of the discerning way of proceeding that the pope has modelled’. The topic of...
A farmer on his farm, ploughing
Here in the northern hemisphere, spring arrives around now yet many of us feel anything but spring-like, despite the fact that the Lord is risen indeed and that plant-life in our gardens, city squares and window-sills is burgeoning, even blooming. There just seems too much to sadden, even terrify us, too many reasons to repudiate hope. It feels that our days are darker, not brighter. But the new life is springing; “now the green blade riseth”, as we can sing. We can learn much from...
Photo by Juliana Muncinelli at flickr.com
‘The cross of Christ is a sign of God’s willingness to forgive us’, writes Russell Pollitt SJ as he concludes our series on the Spiritual Works of Mercy in Laudato si’.  As we contemplate our own sinfulness and the ultimate example of forgiveness in these days of Holy Week, we follow Pope Francis in viewing the ecological crisis ‘as a summons to profound interior conversion’, and recognise that true conversion involves sharing God’s mercy with...
Photograph of finger pointing at camera
Laudato si’ is a model of an Ignatian approach to sinfulness, an approach that is at the heart of Francis’ papacy, says Edel McClean as she reflects on how the encyclical helps us to think about our next Spiritual Work of Mercy: to admonish the sinner. Ignatius and Pope Francis ‘encourage us to look our personal sin in the eye, but we only take this step when we have a deep understanding of God’s creative and transformative love for us.’ Speaking to the...
Inscription in the Church of Saint-Sulpice, Paris
‘O if we but knew what we do’, wrote Gerard Manley Hopkins as he despaired over the way in which he saw the natural world suffer at the hands of humankind. This attentiveness to and solidarity with the suffering of a fragile planet and its most vulnerable inhabitants is a Spiritual Work of Mercy, writes Teresa White FCJ: comforting the afflicted is at the very core of what it means to be merciful. Recently, a friend of mine spent a few days in Paris, and on her return she told...
The Pope answers questions on war, sin and free will in the new book
Letters and drawings from children from Jesuit institutions around the world – including in the UK – feature in a new book from Pope Francis, which attempts to answer his question: ‘What did God do before the world was made?’ The six to 13-year-olds, who come from five continents, wrote to the Pope, asking him questions on a wide variety of topics. Their letters and drawings were taken to Casa Santa Marta last summer by Fr Antonio Spadaro SJ, the director of La Civilta Cattolica, and 31 of them...
‘The gravity of the ecological crisis demands that we all look to the common good, embarking on a path of dialogue which demands patience, self-discipline and generosity’, writes Pope Francis in Laudato si’. When we struggle to show this patience, particularly in the face of what we perceive to be wrongdoing, we should look to the resilience of the natural world for encouragement and instruction in this particular work of mercy, says Henry Longbottom SJ. The Marsh...

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