As you many not have the time to follow all of Pope Francis’ talks during these first days of his pontificate, I have compiled the following links to them and my favorite quotes from each one of them - consider it a taster menu if you like:
- Patriarch Bartholomew I’s address to Pope Francis on behalf of the religious leaders meeting him after his installation mass on Tuesday:
“This world is the domain where we realize [the] spiritual way of life, where we achieve our integration into the body of Christ, and where we are brought through Him into eternal life. [… W]e travel this way of truth, acquiring the heavenly through the earthly.”
- Pope Francis’ address to the religious leaders then affirmed his commitment both to ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue and he also took advantage of the occasion to emphasize again the importance of aligning ourselves also with those who hold no religious beliefs:
“[W]e feel the closeness also of those men and women who, while not belonging to any religious tradition, feel, however the need to search for the truth, the goodness and the beauty of God, and who are our precious allies in efforts to defend the dignity of man, in the building of a peaceful coexistence between peoples and in the careful protection of creation.”If you are an agnostic or atheist, please, don’t read the above as the Pope imposing a search for God on you. I believe it only refers to a “search for […] truth, […] goodness and […] beauty” since in the Pope’s (and my!) eyes, these all point to God whether you are looking for him through them or not.
- During this morning’s mass with Vatican gardeners and cleaners, Pope Francis shared the following insight during his short, impromptu homily (with reference to today’s Gospel reading (John 10:31-42), where Jesus is facing an angry mob that is on the verge of stoning him).
“When we have a heart of stone it happens that we pick up real stones and stone Jesus Christ in the person of our brothers and sisters, especially the weakest of them.”
- Later this morning, Pope Francis then met with the diplomatic corps, again returning to the topics of fraternity, poverty and peace that have been a constant throughout these first days of his being in office and he again underlined the importance of cordial relationships with all - whether they hold religious beliefs of not - and placed this also at the heart of our relationship with God:
“It is not possible to build bridges between people while forgetting God. But the converse is also true: it is not possible to establish true links with God, while ignoring other people. […] And it is also important to intensify outreach to non-believers, so that the differences which divide and hurt us may never prevail, but rather the desire to build true links of friendship between all peoples, despite their diversity.”