This year of the Lord of 2013 has been full of surprises. We saw the abdication of Benedict XVI that permitted that a new Pope, an Argentine Jesuit, could occupy the throne of Peter. Thus the staggering majesty of the Catholic Church is revealed when we see her navigating the waters of History from the times of the Roman Empire to this day: invincible and weak, sinful but adorned with the lives of saints, a sign of contradiction for the world and also a beacon of truth. The Pope is a man from a country that did not exist when Jesus founded the Church, a country located in a continent unknown to the Ancient world.
From Argentina, a nation at the world’s end that has lived always at the fringes of civilization, surviving stubbornly its own barbarian elements, its corruption, its narrow minded leaders who have disgraced her for decades; this beautiful and terrible country has produced one flower, one Francis now called to occupy a “more honorable seat,” the leadership of the Church.
Like Argentina has been for decades, the Church is now beleaguered by the sins of her sons and daughters, wounded by the world, corrupted sometimes by those who live in her bosom. This old barque of Peter, this ancient Mother of our culture and our soul, this vessel of salvation who seems to be always about to perish and yet she does not end.
Jesus once said: “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” Well, one wishes that some voices in the Church would have kept silent but no, they shouted against Pope Francis, they resisted him, they cast doubts about the legitimacy of his reign. I must say that I wish Pope Francis would have been more prudent in some of his “off the cuff” remarks, interviews, etc. but even so, our Pope has not been teaching error or calling to change the ancient doctrines. He has not espoused heresy or joined the enemies of God. By the way that would have been totally out of character and in complete contradiction with his record as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Frankly both Catholics and non-Catholics have seen his powerful witness of the faith that now landed him for the third time in a year on the cover of Time Magazine. The silence of so many in the Church has caused a “stone” like Time Magazine to cry out!
Francis was chosen Person of the Year for this 2013 and I must agree with the reasons put forward by Time Magazine to give him such great honor. With Francis the Church has been able to grasp global attention and that can only be good to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who made herself an apostle to the Mexican people and started the conversion of the Americas. It is most fitting in this 2013 to have a Pope from the realms of Guadalupe. I for one hope that the conversions that followed the miracle of Tepeyac will repeat as the world gets more and more acquainted with Pope Francis.
Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe! Viva el Papa Francisco! Viva la Iglesia!
Published 12 December 2013.