Pope Francis Catches the Giggles After Meeting a Baby Pope During Parade in Philly

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

After Criticism, Pope Francis Confronts Priestly Sex Abuse.

PHILADELPHIA – Pope Francis’ final day in the United States was packed with visits and culminates with a celebration of Mass in downtown Philadelphia that is expected to draw hundreds of thousands.As Pope Francis’ trip to the U.S. neared its end Sunday, Americans were left with many off-the-cuff moments to remember the “people’s pope” by — the unscripted gesture, the sudden pause in processions to bless a child, the speeches set aside for some humor and a little folksy wisdom.Even as hundreds of thousands of people thronged the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Sunday for Mass with Pope Francis, his weekend visit to Philadelphia apparently failed to deliver the economic boon predicted by organizers.

On the last day of his journey, Francis stepped to a lectern here before hundreds of seminarians and bishops from around the world and tried to salve the open wound. The 78-year-old pontiff once again demonstrated a tendency to break out of a carefully choreographed day for any number of impulses on his six-day visit to Washington, New York City and Philadelphia. The pope largely glossed over divisive issues that have earned him passionate fans and opponents, staying instead on safer ground as he preached a message of dialogue to a deeply divided country. Some businesses closed early, some downtown hotel rooms went unfilled and normally bustling city streets were deserted over the weekend as residents either stayed home or left town, and pilgrims kept their wallets in their pockets.

He said he had met in private with a group of victims and pledged that “all responsible will be held accountable.” “God weeps” at the sexual abuse of children, he said in a translation from Spanish of his remarks added to the start of a scripted address in the chapel at St. As a result, he deprived both liberals and conservatives of sound bites they might have employed to advance their respective agendas after his departure. “He helped us to see that this polarization that exists in our society, certainly among our politicians and even within the church, this isn’t the way we ought to be,” said Bishop Gerald F.

Charles Borromeo Seminary here on Sunday. “I commit to the careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected.” His remarks and the meeting, anticipated for weeks and carefully choreographed, were greeted with varying degrees of skepticism by abuse victims who have now seen two popes on American trips meet with victims and make sweeping promises to protect children. Kicanas of Tucson. “He’s calling our country’s politicians and bishops to a higher role.” Before his arrival, the pope’s strong language on capitalism, social justice and climate change had made him a sharply divisive figure in the U.S. They would like to believe that Francis’ words are sincere and pledges are real, but they continue to have serious doubts, in part because of his comments last week, and because of how Sunday’s gathering came together. During a four-day visit to Cuba ahead of his U.S. arrival, Francis scribbled talking points during a gathering of Cuban young people before imploring his listeners to never stop dreaming. “Sure, a person sometimes dreams of things that are never going to happen,” Francis said. “But dream them. Liberals championed his full-throated defense of the environment and denunciation of economic inequality, while conservatives blasted his harsh rhetoric on the free-market system and lamented his softer approach to moral issues such as divorce.

At Midtown III restaurant, co-owner Vivian Tafuri rented a refrigerated truck, filled it with $7,500 worth of food and spent another $1,000 on a parking space. “The people who are visiting are having a good time at the parkway. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said this had been done intentionally to show that the church is taking a “larger perspective” on the problem of sexual abuse. Open yourselves to great things.” Sometimes the departures were more calculated than capricious, such as one Wednesday when Francis wanted to show solidarity and quietly protest with Catholic institutions unhappy about requirements under Obamacare to pay for health care coverage that includes birth control. The World Meeting of Families, the Vatican-sponsored conference that drew Francis to Philadelphia, had estimated 1.5 million people would show up for the pope’s weekend visit, with 10,000 staying overnight and business sales of $390 million. He added that the pope had waited to make these remarks until Sunday, when he was scheduled to address an international group of bishops, because “we know the problem is a universal problem, in the universal church, and also in society.” Many victims said they were outraged by what looked like an attempt to minimize the church’s role in enabling or covering up for abusive priests by offering a reminder that child sexual abuse is not solely a Catholic phenomenon.

The pope, who stopped in Cuba before his U.S. visit, didn’t repeat his appeal to lift the economic embargo on the country, a point of deep division in Washington and beyond. Meryl Levitz, president and chief executive of Visit Philadelphia, the main tourism marketing agency, acknowledged Sunday that many shops and restaurants were hurting for business. A pope whose most salient quality is his pastoral approach to real people and their real-life problems appears to have a blind spot when it comes to victims, many of them said. The religious order has sued the Obama administration arguing that paperwork necessary to seek a waiver from the requirement infringes on their religious freedom.

The pope’s references to immigration consisted of homespun appeals to the immigrant experience—including his own, as the son of an Italian who moved to Argentina—urging his audience to identify with the hopes of Latin American migrants coming north in search of a better life and asking: “Is this not what we want for our own children?” Those comments stood in contrast to his denunciation of Europe’s indifference to the plight of migrants seeking desperately to reach the continent, sometimes dying in the attempt. But the temptation to be scandalized by the freedom of God, who sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous alike (Mt 5:45), bypassing bureaucracy, officialdom and inner circles, threatens the authenticity of faith. In his first remarks on the issue to an American Church that has indeed suffered from the revelations of abuse, the pope chose to comfort and praise his fellow clerics, and said nothing at all about the victims. City officials who for months had issued dire warnings about long walks and security lines to reach Pope Francis’ events recalibrated their message last month amid fears they were scaring people away, launching an “I’ll be There” campaign as well as the OpenInPhl hashtag for city businesses. On Saturday night, he set aside a prepared script before crowds in Philadelphia and launched into a good-humored riff on families — “I won’t speak about mother-in-laws” — while using the moment to reinforce the virtues of the institution.

And he praised the bishops — some engaged in continuing legal battles with abuse victims — for their “courage” and their “generous commitment to bring healing to the victims.” “It was shocking and insulting, and it is hurtful,” said John Salveson, an abuse survivor and a businessman who runs the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse, based in Philadelphia. “I don’t know how you could make a case that would support these comments.” Even a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, a special panel that Francis appointed, was taken aback. Earlier that morning, he captivated television viewers when he stopped his Fiat, got out and leaned over a barricade to bless Michael Keating, a 10-year-old boy confined to a wheelchair. But he also celebrated Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement, and Thomas Merton, a poet and Cistercian monk who championed interreligious dialogue and nuclear disarmament.

The member, Marie Collins, who is a survivor of abuse, said in an email, “Like so many other survivors I found the comments disappointing.” But she said she did not want to say more because she was trying to “stay positive” and continue her work on the commission. He trod lightly over highly sensitive ethical questions such as same-sex marriage, abortion and divorce—areas where his more conciliatory approach has alarmed conservatives. For a churchman known for his empathy for the marginalized and his insistence on dialogue and what he calls “encounter,” Francis has seemed reluctant to encounter abuse victims.

He scatters the seeds of his presence in our world, for “love consists in this, not that we have loved God but that he loved us” first (1 Jn 4:10). Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, he acknowledged a “battle between light and darkness being fought in the world,” but warned against the “temptation to give in to fear, to lick one’s wounds, to think back on bygone times and to devise harsh responses to fierce opposition.” That was a clear call for the American bishops to shift away from their typical approach under St.

John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, who encouraged a more confrontational attitude on the most widely contested church teachings on marriage and sexual and medical ethics. On normally bustling South Street, bars, restaurants, sneaker stores and smoke shops — usually filled on weekends with city residents, suburban gawkers and tourists — were empty. Stephen Starr, one of the city’s most prominent restaurateurs with about 20 eateries, told The Philadelphia Inquirer the pope’s visit “affected business worse that Hurricane Sandy.” “Estimates are estimates.

Supreme Court’s July ruling recognizing a right to same-sex marriage will require Catholic institutions to hire or extend employee benefits to same-sex spouses. I think there was no perfect way to know how many people were going to come, but our job in city government was try to be as prepared as possible,” he told WPVI-TV. Jesus says, “Do not hold back anything that is good, instead help it to grow!” To raise doubts about the working of the Spirit, to give the impression that it cannot take place in those who are not “part of our group”, who are not “like us”, is a dangerous temptation.

However, he has appointed a commission on sexual abuse that includes victims, lay experts, clergy and bishops, and that has made recommendations for Vatican policy. The pope used his first speech on U.S. soil, delivered to President Barack Obama at the White House, to warn Americans to “preserve and defend [religious] freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.” The next day, he paid a surprise visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor, whose demands for a “conscience” exemption to the contraception mandate have made them heroines in the bishops’ religious-freedom campaign.

The commission encouraged the pope to set up a process for holding accountable those bishops who covered up abuse, and in June the Vatican announced the creation of a Vatican tribunal for judging bishops accused of negligence. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ conference’s committee on religious freedom. “That’s going to help because his witness to faith is so credible and people are so open to what he has to say.” The pope’s soft-sell approach didn’t please everyone.

It shows us that, like happiness, holiness is always tied to little gestures. “Whoever gives you a cup of water in my name will not go unrewarded”, says Jesus (cf. He threw away prepared remarks and gave the most relaxed address of the visit, mixing in jokes about mothers-in-law and advice to married couples. “Families have difficulties, families quarrel, and sometimes plates can fly,” he said. “But the family is like a factory of hope.”

But after those statements, I knew he clearly didn’t get it at all.” Church officials were hoping that Francis’ remarks on Sunday after he met victims would speak louder than anything he had said earlier in the trip on the abuse issue. The urgent challenge of protecting our home includes the effort to bring the entire human family together in the pursuit of a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change (cf. ibid., 13). Pointedly, yet affectionately, Jesus tells us: “If you, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Lk 11:13). Anyone who wants to bring into this world a family which teaches children to be excited by every gesture aimed at overcoming evil – a family which shows that the Spirit is alive and at work – will encounter our gratitude and our appreciation.

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