An Interview With Cardinal Bergoglio

An interview with Cardinal Bergoglio from a few years back. Read it all. Fascinating insight:

BERGOGLIO: Jonah had everything clear. He had clear ideas about God, very clear ideas about good and evil. On what God does and on what He wants, on who was faithful to the Covenant and who instead was outside the Covenant. He had the recipe for being a good prophet. God broke into his life like a torrent. He sent him to Nineveh. Nineveh was the symbol of all the separated, the lost, of all the peripheries of humanity. Of all those who are outside, forlorn. Jonah saw that the task set on him was only to tell all those people that the arms of God were still open, that the patience of God was there and waiting, to heal them with His forgiveness and nourish them with His tenderness. Only for that had God sent him. He sent him to Nineveh, but he instead ran off in the opposite direction, toward Tarsis.

Running away from a difficult mission…

BERGOGLIO: No. What he was fleeing was not so much Nineveh as the boundless love of God for those people. It was that that didn’t come into his plans. God had come once… “and I’ll see to the rest”: that’s what Jonah told himself. He wanted to do things his way, he wanted to steer it all. His stubbornness shut him in his own structures of evaluation, in his pre-ordained methods, in his righteous opinions. He had fenced his soul off with the barbed wire of those certainties that instead of giving freedom with God and opening horizons of greater service to others had finished by deafening his heart. How the isolated conscience hardens the heart! Jonah no longer knew that God leads His people with the heart of a Father.

A great many of us can identify with Jonah.

BERGOGLIO: Our certainties can become a wall, a jail that imprisons the Holy Spirit. Those who isolate their conscience from the path of the people of God don’t know the joy of the Holy Spirit that sustains hope. That is the risk run by the isolated conscience. Of those who from the closed world of their Tarsis complain about everything or, feeling their identity threatened, launch themselves into battles only in the end to be still more self-concerned and self-referential.

What should one do?

BERGOGLIO: Look at our people not for what it should be but for what it is and see what is necessary. Without preconceptions and recipes but with generous openness. For the wounds and the frailty God spoke. Allowing the Lord to speak… In a world that we can’t manage to interest with the words we say, only His presence that loves us, saves us, can be of interest. The apostolic fervor renews itself in order to testify to Him who has loved us from the beginning.

Habemus Papam!: Pope Francis [Final Updates For Today]


[Scroll down for the first comments of Pope Francis]

Waiting for the news. More as it comes. The twitter stream is moving like gangbusters. I never, ever imagined it would come this fast. I was thinking tomorrow at the earliest.

I’m wondering right now what it means, and thinking it means the choice was more obvious than any of us suspected. “Scola” keeps running through my mind. We’ll see soon.

All that I know is that there’s a man in a little room who needs our prayers.

2:33pm EST: St. Peter’s is gorgeous.  The crowd is ebullient. This is such an amazing moment.

3:12pm EST: Bergoglio it is. Pope Francis I.

3:21pm EST: I don’t know enough about him comment intelligently, but I’m impressed with the choice of Francis as a name, whether it’s from Francis of Assisi or Xavier.

3:34pm EST: Quick thoughts. An outstanding gesture of humility in asking the blessing of the crowd. A good smile and genial demeanor. An intellectual known for his humble way of life and demeanor. An older choice, which means we will not see a long, JP2-style papacy. A chemist and a Jesuit.

We all have much to learn.

3:46pm EST: Some of his words from the balcony.

As you know, the duty of the conclave was to appoint a bishop of Rome. It seems to me that my brother cardinals have chosen one who is from far away, but here I am.

I would like to thank you for your embrace, also to … the bishops, thank you very much.

First and foremost, I would like to pray for our emeritus pope, Benedict XVI. Let us pray all of us together … so that he’s blessed by the lord and guarded.

Let us pray always, not just for ourselves, but for others and everyone in the world because there is a great brotherhood among us.

Also: the @Pontifex Twitter account is active again.

3:51pm EST: “Francis, repair my Church.” –God

+Bergoglio was the runner-up in 2005.

Some quotes from John Allen’s piece:

Bergoglio’s reputation for personal simplicity also exercised an undeniable appeal – a Prince of the Church who chose to live in a simple apartment rather than the archbishop’s palace, who gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of taking the bus to work, and who cooked his own meals.

His original plan was to be a chemist, but in 1958 he instead entered the Society of Jesus and began studies for the priesthood. He spent much of his early career teaching literature, psychology and philosophy, and early on he was seen as a rising star. From 1973 to 1979 he served as the Jesuit provincial in Argentina, then in 1980 became the rector of the seminary from which he had graduated.

“We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least,” Bergoglio said during a gathering of Latin American bishops in 2007. “The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.”

At the same time, he has generally tended to accent growth in personal holiness over efforts for structural reform.

Bergoglio is seen an unwaveringly orthodox on matters of sexual morality, staunchly opposing abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception. In 2010 he asserted that gay adoption is a form of discrimination against children, earning a public rebuke from Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Nevertheless, he has shown deep compassion for the victims of HIV-AIDS; in 2001, he visited a hospice to kiss and wash the feet of 12 AIDS patients.

Bergoglio may be basically conservative on many issues, but he’s no defender of clerical privilege, or insensitive to pastoral realities. In September 2012, he delivered a blistering attack on priests who refuse to baptize children born out of wedlock, calling it a form of “rigorous and hypocritical neo-clericalism.”

4:11pm EST: Archbishop Chaput:

I first met our new Holy Father at Rome’s 1997 Synod for America, and still have a gift from him, a portrait of Mary, the mother of Jesus, on my desk.

Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Bergoglio, is a man from the new heartland of the global Church; a priest of extraordinary intellectual and cultural strengths; a man deeply engaged in the issues of contemporary life and able to speak to the modern heart; open to the new realities the Church faces; and rooted in a deep love of Jesus Christ. He is a wonderful choice; a pastor God sends not just to the Church but to every person of good will who honestly yearns for justice, peace and human dignity in our time. May God grant him courage and joy, and sustain him with his divine presence.

And may Catholics in Philadelphia and around the world lift him up with our prayers.

4:30pm EST: +Dolan comments:

Pope Francis I stands as the figure of unity for all Catholics wherever they reside. The bishops of the United States and the people of our 195 dioceses offer prayers for our new leader and promise allegiance to him. Intense prayer from all around the world surrounded the election of Pope Francis I. The bishops of the United States thank God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the inspired choice of the College of Cardinals.’

4:50pm EST: First comments from Pope Francis, via Aleteia

“Brothers and sisters, good evening!

“You know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems as though my brother cardinals went almost to the end of the world to get him. But here we are. I thank you for your welcome. The diocesan community of Rome has a bishop. Thank you!

“Before all else, I would like to say a prayer for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord may bless him and that Our Lady may watch over him that Our Lady may watch over him” is a correction to the text I just sent.”

Then the crowd prayed the “Our Father, “ and the “Hail Mary,” and the “Glory Be” for Benedict XVI.

“And now let us begin this journey, [together] as bishop and people. This journey of the Church of Rome, which is to preside over all the Churches in charity. It is a journey of fraternity, of love, of trust between us. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the world, so that a great brotherhood might come about. I hope that this journey of the Church—which we begin today and in which my Cardinal Vicar who is present here will assist me—will be fruitful for the Evangelization of this beautiful city.

“And now I would like to give you my blessing. But before I do, I would like to ask you a favor: before the bishop blesses the people, I ask you to pray to the Lord that He bless me…. the prayer of the people for a blessing upon their bishop. Let us take a moment of silence for you to offer your prayer for me.”

The crowd kept silence while the Pope Francis I bowed and received their prayers. Then the Pope proceeded.

“Now I will give you my blessing and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.”

After making the sign of the Cross and uttering a prayer, Pope Francis I said:

“Brothers and Sisters,

“I leave you now. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me. And we’ll see one another again soon. Tomorrow I want to go and pray to Our Lady, asking her to watch over Rome. Good night and have a good rest.”

4:58pm EST: Comments from Cardinal Wuerl:

Together with the faithful of the Church of Washington, I give thanks to God that we have a Pope and offer our joyful congratulations to our Holy Father Francis, the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. We pledge to him our loyalty and love as the Vicar of Christ, the visible head of the Church Universal and Servant of the servants of God.

Pope Francis is endowed with so many gifts that enhance his mission now as the Chief Shepherd of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. We thank God for the many intellectual talents and spiritual qualities, pastoral experience and effective ministry of the new Pope.

When Jesus ascended to heaven, he did not leave us orphans. Rather, he gave us his new Body, the Church, led by his Vicar, and he sent the Holy Spirit who gives his gifts to the successors of Peter and the other Apostles and sustains the Church today. The blessing the Holy Father brings to us – and the reason why we salute him so joyfully – is the reaffirmation of our Catholic faith, grounded in the apostolic succession and tradition.

Pope Francis is more than just the successor to Benedict XVI; he is the successor to all those who came before him in an unbroken line going all the way back to Peter. In Pope Francis, we recognize the successor to Peter and the visible sign of the unity of the Church spread throughout the whole world. He is the touchstone for the mission, message and tradition of the Church.

We offer thanks to God for sending us Pope Francis as the Church continues in the Year of Faith and as we face the challenges and opportunities of proposing the Gospel to today’s world.

May God bring to fruitful completion what he has so wonderfully begun in the selection today of Pope Francis.

5:07pm EST: George Weigel:
“The papacy has moved to the New World. The church has a new pope with a new name. I think it speaks to the church’s commitment to the poor of the world and compassion in a world that often needs a lot of healing.”

Jesus is encountered, just as 2,000 years ago, in a human presence, the Church, the company of those whom He assimilates to Himself, His Body, the sign and sacrament of His Presence. …

It is a question of starting to say [“Yes”] to Christ, and saying it often. It is impossible to desire it without asking for it. And if someone starts to ask for it, then he begins to change. Besides, if someone asks for it, it is because in the depths of his being he feels attracted, called, looked at, awaited. This is the experience of Augustine: there from the depths of my being, something attracts me toward Someone who looked for me first, is waiting for me first, is the almond flower of the prophets, the first to bloom in spring. It is the quality which God possesses and which I take the liberty of defining by using a Buenos Aires word: God, in this case Jesus Christ, always primerea, goes ahead of us. When we arrive, He is already there waiting.

Great find. Read it all.

5:25pm EST Rocco calls it “epic”:

For the cardinal-electors to have gone out of Europe for the first time in over a millennium, to have gone to a Jesuit for the first time ever, and to have gone to the runner-up at the last Conclave in all of five ballots – with more than half the electorate changed over since last time – is not merely decisive….

Indeed, it’s epic.

And make no mistake about it – this is a mandate.

5:39pm EST: Final update: an interview with Cardinal Bergoglio.

And Now: A Positive Media Story

I’m still gobsmacked that this piece by Ellie V. Hall ran on Buzzfeed. Here’s a taste of 9 Thing You Should Know Before Talking About The Papal Conclave:

8. The Catholic Church doesn’t hate gay people.

The teachings of the Church are straightforward: Sex is a fantastic gift of unity and procreation, which is appropriately placed within a loving, committed relationship in the Sacrament of Marriage, which is defined as a sacred union between a woman and a man. Both heterosexual and homosexual people are expected to live a life of virtue and chastity outside of marriage (since gay people can’t get married within the Catholic Church, they are called to a lifetime of celibacy). Married couples are told that using artificial contraception, thereby rendering the “marital act infertile,” is “intrinsically evil.” In other words, the Church feels the same way about premarital heterosexual sex and contraceptive sex as it does about homosexual sex… They’re all sins. It’s important to note that being gay is not a sin, but engaging in homosexual activity is.

It’s a straight up snark-free piece. Enjoy!

Bias and Propaganda: Still More Reuters Follies UPDATED

Muzzled! Just like dogs!

There’s been some discussion on this post about whether Reuters is, in fact, biased in its reporting on certain subjects.

I didn’t realize that was still a subject for debate. Their consistent anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian bias isn’t up for question at all. It’s not a matter of “if” they produced biased news, but of how much and on what subjects.

Their anti-Catholicism is not of the same texture as their anti-Israel material, since antisemitism is a unique and perennial kind of hatred that has manifested itself without fail for millennia, often in the most vicious ways imaginable. It now dons the mantle of sympathy for the “Palestinian” cause, but it’s the same-old Jew-hate.

In the comboxes, Deacon Greg takes exception to my claim for institutional anti-Catholic bias in the mainstream media, citing his long personal experience. I would agree with him that we’re not looking at a virulent, overt bias, but rather a tendency of thought.

That tendency of thought often does not apply to the way reporters view individual Catholics, since most Americans assume (with some justification) that Catholics don’t pay much attention to what their Church teaches. The hatred instead is directed at the “institutional Church,” which is differentiated from the mass of Catholics and held up for special vilification for all the obvious reasons (eg, the usual pelvic obsessions).

Bias, then, does not mean insulting someone’s beliefs (although I’ve been on the receiving end of that from some mainstream colleagues), but in maintaining a persistent negative opinion on a subject, with an inclination to view that subject in the worst possible light.

Bias manifests itself in the media under the cover of objectivity. Objectivity is an illusion. A writer cannot be removed from the product of his or her own mind. The most we can hope for is to tame it a bit using various habits and techniques. In the end, however, through word choice, structure, flow, juxtaposition, and all the other tricks writers use–consciously and subconsciously–the bias will emerge, to a greater or lesser degree. The subjective view of the writer will bleed through the text. Major news organizations operate like hive-minds, with the vast majority of employees sharing an urban liberal outlook. Thus, the subjective outlook of the primary writer or writers is shared by editors. They become blind to it, and an institutional bias emerges.

Sometimes, bias is so persistent and so obvious that it shades into propaganda. Propaganda can be a subtle thing. It’s not all Der Sturmer. It can be merely in the words you choose. Here are today’s headlines:

  • AP: “More black smoke: Cardinals don’t agree on pope”
  • USA Today: “World watches as papal conclave begins second day.”
  • Washington Post: “On Day 2 of papal conclave, alliances could emerge.”
  • New York Times: “Black Smoke From Conclave Signals No Pope on First Day.”

Not bad. They’re on point, and without any nudging. The articles don’t always live up to objectivity of those headlines, but I have no problem with the headlines themselves.

Now we come to Reuters:

  • “Cardinals fail to elect pope after three ballots.”


Words matter. Positioning of words matter. No one–absolutely no one–expected a pope after 3 ballots. Benedict took four and John Paul II took eight.

Clearly, there is no “failure” here.

So, why the loaded word?

It’s not enough to say we’re just looking at people trying to sell papers and gin up interest with catchy headlines and scandal mongering. Sure, that’s a factor, but it’s not like they’re even-handed about it. They don’t run headlines that say, “Gays fail to convince majority of Americans about same-sex marriage.” Only certain subjects, people, and institutions are singled out for the gloves-off treatment. And the Church is one of them.

We need to put aside the idea that this is not the product of institutional bias. These articles and headlines pass through at least a dozen hands. The final shape is the product of many choices, and these choices lead to a negative–not a neutral–depiction of the church. The result is the creation of propaganda under the guise of objective news.

The question remains: is this conscious or merely habitual propaganda? Is there a direct, overt institutional desire on the part of Reuters to depict the Church in a negative light? Or is it merely the product of a habit of mind that views the Church negatively, and leads to a reflexive bias?

I don’t read minds: only words. I try to think well of people. In most cases of media bias, I think we’re probably just seeing a sloppy habit of thinking, and a tendency to get lodged in the echo-chamber of liberal groupthink. I’m not quite as confident that this is the case with Reuters.


Reader Bain Wellington offers several examples for the Reuters writer in the comboxes who keeps saying, “Bias? I don’t see any bias.” (You’ll have better luck if you open your eyes.) Here’s one lovely tidbit he found:

Check [3] Robin Pomeroy, 19 Feb (editing by Pullella and anor)

Headline:- “Rome’s gays toast the departure of an unloved pope”

Lede:- “Across the road from the Colosseum, the ancient Roman stadium consecrated as a holy Christian site, clients at a busy bar are raising a glass to the pope: toasting the departure of the worst Church leader they can imagine.”
The 750 word article reports the views of 2 of the bar’s co-owners, and of Franco Grillini (contacted by telephone) allegedly founder of Italy’s “biggest gay advocacy group”.

Because trolling a gay bar for opinions on the pope is “good journalism” and not just an opportunity to give someone’s Grindr app a workout.