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Pope’s compassion touches hearts all over world, says cardinal

By on Friday, 9 August 2013

Cardinal O'Malley praised the influence of Pope Francis (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Cardinal O'Malley praised the influence of Pope Francis (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

The Pope’s love and compassion touches hearts all over the world, Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston has said in an address to the Knights of Columbus.

Giving a keynote address on  the new evangelisation in the pontificate of Pope Francis at the Knights of Columbus supreme convention in San Antonio, Cardinal O’Malley said that “Following Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict, Pope Francis is challenging us to embrace the new evangelisation with new ardour, with new boldness and with great love for all those who God places in our path. He is calling on all of us to be missionaries in our own communities.”

“In this new millennium, business as usual is not enough. We must be a team of missionaries, moving from a maintenance mode to a missionary one,” he added.

He told his listeners they must ask themselves, “What does it mean to live in a culture of unbelief; a culture which does not even know it does not believe because it still lives on the residue of Christian civilisation?”

Cardinal O’Malley replied: “Pope Francis is ever warning against a self-referential Church turned in on itself. He tells us to open the doors, to invite other in and so that we can go out and invite.”

The cardinal emphasised that being a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church “is much more than a head trip”. It is a way of life together; and the whole person is engaged in the process.

Education for the journey must therefore be experiential, personal, engaging and life-giving, he added. “We learn discipleship the way we learn a language, by being part of a community that speaks that language. The Boston archbishop stressed that young Catholics must be mentored in the faith by others, either peers or older Catholics who are walking the walk.

“In today’s world, we must promote the Catholic way of life, which is increasingly alien in the secular world, where our concern about unborn children or the sacredness of marriage makes us appear quaint and even nettlesome,” he explained. “We need mentors: parents, grandparents, godparents, teachers, youth ministers, neighbours, who are ready to pass on the faith.”

According to the cardinal, Pope Francis is calling on Catholics to embrace the vision of reality that is the church’s faith and that values each and every human being, and stresses responsibility to love and serve each other, especially the most vulnerable.

The word that Pope Francis repeats over and over, he said, is “tenerezza”, or tenderness.

In his inaugural Mass on the feast of St. Joseph, Cardinal O’Malley recalled, the Pontiff spoke about protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need. The pope said, “We must not be afraid of goodness or tenderness.”

“He points to the heart of Joseph, his tenderness which is not the virtue of the weak but a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern and compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love,” said the cardinal.

Noting that “some people think that the Holy Father should talk more about abortion,” Cardinal O’Malley said he thinks Pope Francis “speaks of love and mercy to give people the context for the church’s teaching on abortion. We oppose abortion, not because we are mean or old-fashioned, but because we love people. And that is what we must show the world.”

He continued, “We must be better people; we must love all people, even those who advocate abortion. It is only if we love them that we will be able to help them discover the sacredness of the life of an unborn child. Only love and mercy will open hearts that have been hardened by the individualism of our age.”

In reference to the United States as being an immigrant Church, Cardinal O’Malley spoke of the significance of the Holy Father’s first trip as pope to the Italian island of Lampedusa to underscore his concern for the plight of immigrants.

“When the Holy Father went to the island of Lampedusa, he threw a wreath of flowers into the sea where thousands of refugees have perished in the modern day coffin ships that bring refugees from North Africa,” said the cardinal, noting that Pope Francis talked about the globalisation of indifference – indifference to the suffering of others, to the fate of the unborn, the elderly, the handicapped, the mentally ill and the immigrants.

We must overcome this indifference and help people to see that the church’s teaching is about loving and caring for everyone, he explained, quoting the pope who told the Brazilian bishops at World Youth Day: “We need a church capable of rediscovering the maternal womb of mercy. Without mercy we have little chance nowadays of entering the world of wounded persons in need of understanding, forgiveness and love.”

Added Cardinal O’Malley, “The truth isn’t a wet rag that you throw in someone’s face, but a warm cape that you wrap around a person, to protect and strengthen them.”

The prelate cited the post-abortion ministry Project Rachel as being the kind of combination of mercy and truth that the church’s pro-life efforts need to be about.

“Our efforts to heal the wounds of society will depend on our capacity to love and to be faithful to our mission,” the cardinal insisted.

  • $20596475

    I will be very interested to see how people react to the whole thrust of this message, and have a comment about this particular statement:-

    “The truth isn’t a wet rag that you throw in someone’s face, but a warm cape that you wrap around a person, to protect and strengthen them.”

    When what is true remains disputed what is really meant by this is surely that you must not throw your opinions around like a “wet rag”. As this appears to be the constant approach of so many posters here I wonder if they will heed this advice, or just reject it.

  • Julian Lord

    you must not throw your opinions around like a “wet rag”

    Yet another example of the private’s self-contradictory falsity.

    As if he were not a fullsome provider of wet-rag atheist, pro-abortion, pro-contraception, and anti-Catholic opinionating propaganda.

    I suppose that he does not even comprehend that the wet rag in question is the murder of a child ; and the warm blanket is Life.

    I suppose that he does not comprehend that Cardinal O’Malley is one of the foremost contemporary defenders of unborn human life in our Church.

    The private’s evil distortion of the Cardinal’s kindness is of a directly satanic origin.

  • Guest

    No. It means what it says: the truth, not “opinions”, is a “warm cape”.

    And you still reject it.

  • Kevin

    “we must promote the Catholic way of life, which is increasingly alien in the secular world”

    In yesterday’s article, Cardinal Grech explains,
    “First, the Church is called to proclaim the kingdom of God and the good news of salvation through Christ”.

    I think the latter statement needs reiterating.

  • An onlooker

    ‘Only love and mercy will open hearts that have been hardened by the individualism of our age’

    Having worked with the Godless, the rudderless, the abused, the deprived and the abandoned for thirty-five years I know this to be absolutely true and the ONLY thing which has any chance of changing things for the better.

    If you want to continue venting your spleen then you need to be very clear that you are doing it purely for your own satisfaction and relief and are in no way doing it for the good of anybody else.

  • Romanus

    Touché, I guess…

    … I merely quoted the Bible to illustrate a point… your comment is totally unrelated… I find it is your statement that vents YOUR spleen for your own satisfaction and relief …

    … are you the only one who worked with the downtrodden? You probably deduct from my comment that I couldn’t possibly have done so based on your own biased perception of things… I won’t be seen bragging…

  • An onlooker

    Bragging!? It was a privilege.

  • $20596475

    When I said I would be interested to see how people reacted I hoped, against hope, that you would not be one of them.

    Your reaction is entirely predictable and instead of addressing the question just goes for a knee jerk personal attack, full of insults and inaccuracies.

    For the record I am not distorting the Cardinal’s kindness. I am trying to understand it and then put it in context.

    If you cannot address the issues please don’t respond again and just let others.

  • $20596475

    I don’t ever reject the truth. I just don’t think that a belief can be described as such. The truth is a demonstrable, provable fact. That you believe your opinion to be true is a long way from claiming that it is the truth.

    Most of us hold that our opinions are true, but acknowledge that we might be wrong, and are able to listen to, and respect alternatives.

    This I feel is a fundamental, and poorly understood, problem with the Catholic approach to evangelisation. People are too wised up these days to be spoonfed opinions as being “The Truth”. It might work in developing nations but not in the developed world.

  • $20596475

    Since when does “people” equal everyone? There are some people I would be quite happy never to hear from again and who exercised their rights to ignore me.

    In common parlance you are a pain in the ………..!

  • $20596475

    In reality you are using the usual JP tactic of employing terminology no-one ever uses, and few wish to bother to understand, in an attempt to sound intellectual.

    True intellectuals write in simple language so that the common man can comprehend it. You are pseudo through and through. False to the core.

    What I wrote is true. That you are incapable of recognising it as such is not my fault. Real truth is a very different beast to holding opinions which you sincerely believe to be true.

    I fully understand though that many Catholics find this thought difficult to comprehend.

  • Julian Lord

    terminology no-one ever uses

    I am not responsible for any cognitive lacunae that you may have been provided with at your primary school, in the mistaken belief that “social skills” might somehow supersede elementary reading and writing instruction.

    Real truth is a very different beast to holding opinions which you sincerely believe to be true

    Right, and so “never mind” that this statement is utterly incompatible with every single one of your previous statements on this question so far …

    The intellectual failure of your double standards is self-evident.

  • Julian Lord

    In common parlance, I am a declared enemy of Satan and of all of his lies

    May God have mercy on my Soul, and may Our Lord the Christ and His Blessed Virgin Mother protect me from this evil.

  • $20596475

    Doing it again just digs your hole deeper and adds nothing to your credibility Mr JP.

    Insults are no substitute for intelligent comment, no matter how clever the writer believes himself to be.,

  • $20596475

    As Satan is, in my opinion, a very strange figment of the imagination, I find that declaring yourself as his enemy to be a particularly weird concept. If it keeps you occupied though I suppose it might do everyone else some service.

  • Peter

    Unfortunately I have to agree with you. The sooner the Church divests herself of the nit-picking sanctimonious prats who occupy such a high moral ground that they close the doors to everyone else, the better.

  • Benedict Carter

    Very strange the Cardinal saying this to the Knights of Columbus. Michael Voris and others have left the K of C in the USA as that organisation, in true conciliar church fashion has refused to discipline even senior members who stand squarely behind the barricades on the side of those who are for mass murder of the unborn innocents.

  • $20596475

    Beautifully put and I, of course, agree with you.

    If I said it I would immediately be accused of being an anti-Catholic, pro-death, evil atheist who is not entitled to hold an opinion or pass comment.

    More power to you and all those Catholics who stand up to these types.

  • Romanus

    Hear! hear! Let’s start with THIS mean guy!!!

    2 John 1:9-11

  • $20596475

    Wrong in each particular.

    Your constant repetition of incorrect personal comments about me I am sure bores others, and does your own reputation more damage than it does mine.

    I don’t belong to any organisation distributing any propaganda.

  • Julian Lord

    I don’t belong to any organisation distributing any propaganda

    In reality, personal adhesion to an organisation of whichever
    nature is not a prerequisite for the dissemination of propaganda.

    And in reality, you belong in any case to a local Rotary club in the Philippines, which is an organisation having various overtly expressed ideological requirements that it seeks to publicly disseminate, some of which are at least formally antithetical to Catholic Christianity.

    Also in reality, the straightforward incoherence between your statements of personal belief and various descriptors that you seek to see attached to your own public notoriety is blatant.

  • $20596475

    The Rotary club I belong does not even distribute any information, let alone any propaganda. Its sole concern is to assist the local poor and disadvantaged, and it does so with the full knowledge of, and co-operation with, the local Catholic Church.

    I don’t just not belong to any organisation which distributes propaganda, I don’t have any interest in, or provide support to any such organisation. You, in comparison, belong to a Church other members of which I have personally witnessed distributing inaccurate information, which I regarded as black propaganda, to ignorant and vulnerable poor people.

    Your blatant distortion of the truth is shameful to witness, coming as it does from someone who publicly professes to adhere to it.

  • Julian Lord

    In reality, personal adhesion to an organisation of whichever
    nature is not a prerequisite for the dissemination of propaganda.

  • $20596475

    Of course not, but it is surely usual to at least have some sympathy with a particular cause.

    I don’t, unless you consider being in favour of the freedom of speech, freedom of thought and equality for all, as being a cause.

    Expressing individual opinions hardly constitutes propaganda does it? The very nature of propaganda means it has to be spread far a wide via a variety of media. Individuals normally cannot do that, and I certainly cannot and do not.

    I suppose I could consider your suggestion as a compliment, though I very much doubt you intended it as such.

  • Julian Lord

    I suppose I could consider your suggestion as a compliment

    Given that I was forced to repeat it, this would be ill-advised.

  • $20596475

    As you can see I already anticipated your response!

  • Mary Ryan Skinner

    It’s so refreshing to hear the Cardinal. He knows that words are just blah blah blah . People are not dumb. They know when we’re just promoting our own agenda. The first task of love is to listen with compassion.If we know that we are filled with God’s love…i.e. God’s love is so great we can’t contain it…to bursting, we also can do nothing but to pour that love out. Thanks Sean (C O’M) We don’t have to worry whether anyone is listening, whether anyone agrees with us, whether we’re saying the right words. We only have to pour God’s Lve and Mercy out to the world and leave the rest to God. Sometimes the most important words are the ones that aren’t spoken but are lived.

  • Mary Ryan Skinner

    and btw. Could everyone stop…just for a minute…with the contentiousness. I’m so weary. Just stop, just for a minute. Let’s just stop judging, attacking, being the critics (that includes me too, it’s such a worry), stop trying to convince someone else we’re right, …just for a minute… so we can get about the business of doing what Jesus told us in his quoting of Deuteronomy. Love God…and love each other. If we could just get that right, nothing else matters. Please, just for a minute.
    I have this day dream that we pick a time and date and just say, just for this minute. that we forget all the thoughts and just realize…we already love each other, we already love God…and just live that moment. As I said that’s a fantasy, but I still hope.

  • Tridentinus

    You may in for a very rude awakening one day.

  • $20596475

    I don’t think so but that is the one thing I find uncomfortable about not having a belief, because at least when those with one will never realise how wrong they were after they die.

  • ostrava

    If you have posted here and you think I mean you: well, if the cap fits, wear it.

    I’m not a Catholic: I visit and post here because I enjoy it. But that makes me a visitor in somebody else’s house, and I don’t engage in vulgar attacks on my hosts, their way of life, the dog, or even the wallpaper. If I disagree with any aspect of them I may say so, mildly, respectfully, with no intention of giving offence; and I hope not doing so accidentally.

    Others may like to follow suit.