The Church of Mercy (2014)

The Church of Mercy is a compilation of Pope Francis’s homilies and writings. Throughout it, I was struck by the consistency with which he ministers. The themes that were in The Joy of the Gospel were still shining through in this collection. Specifically, the Pope focuses on solidarity with the poor, dignity, simplicity, joy in the church’s mission, and hospitality.

I was especially struck by something he said about religious leaders, persons the Pope calls “people of dialogue” tasked with being not intermediaries but rather mediators. The contrast is great; intermediaries try to make gains for themselves while mediators spend time solely and “generously until [the mediator] is consumed, knowing that the only gain is peace.” Francis continues, “Each one of us is called to be an artisan of peace, by uniting and not dividing, by extinguishing hatred and not holding on to it, by opening paths to dialogue and not by constructing new walls! (128). I think this is an excellent summation of the church’s vocation.

Likewise, the Pope provides an excellent summation of our duty to solidarity through a critique of Darwinian capitalism. He says, “The current crisis [created by a lack of solidarity] is not only economic and financial but is rooted in an ethical and anthropological crisis. Concern with the idols of power, profit, and money, rather than with the value of the human person, has become a basic norm for functioning and a crucial criterion for organization. We have forgotten and are still forgetting that over and above business, logic, and the parameters of the market is the human being; and that ‘something’ is men and women” (130).

These two extended quotes show the depth of the Pope’s commitment to the church, yes, but also to the common good of all human persons. First, through joyfilled mission, peace can be fostered. Second, through solidarity with the least, society can unite. And this unity is ultimately an example of the oneness that is created around the Eucharistic table.

God bless Francis, our Pope.

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