Upbeat future-focused Francis shares hopes


Pope Francis has been upbeat and future-focused during his tenth anniversary this week.

Instead of cataloguing and discussing his past decade’s wins and losses, Francis has been speaking of his hopes for the future.

“It’s not for me to decide what I’ve achieved”, he told media when questioned.

“The Lord will do the appraisal when he sees fit.”

He says certain the criteria for judgment will be drawn from the Gospel of Matthew 25: feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick and visiting prisoners.

His eye isn’t on death anyway. Yes, he thinks of it often, but “very peacefully” because “it is necessary to remember” that no one lives forever.

A more lively future-focused view is what he’s concentrating on right now, he tells media.

It’s one involving three hopes: fraternity, tears and smiles

These hopes are encapsulated in a short 10th anniversary “popecast” Vatican News has released about his dreams for the Church, the world and humanity.

“We are all brothers and sisters,” he says. We need to make more effort to live like brothers and sisters.

“And to learn not to be afraid to weep and to smile,” he said.

“When a person knows how to cry and how to smile, he or she has their feet on the ground and their gaze on the horizon of the future.

“If a person has forgotten how to cry, something is wrong,” Francis said.

“And if that person has forgotten how to smile, it’s even worse.”

The pope’s upbeat take on the future continues in other media reports.

The current Synod of Bishops on synodality is important, he tells journalists. He has tried to revitalise the synods, including more voices is an ongoing process.

That includes ensuring women’s voices are included.

In past synods, while the input of many was essential, it was for bishops to discern and vote. Ten priests — and occasionally a religious brother — traditionally were elected as full voting members of the synod.

Francis altered this in 2021 when he appointed Xavière Missionary Sister Nathalie Becquart as one of the undersecretaries of the synod general secretariat.

This means she is an automatic voting member of the assembly.

“Everyone who participates in the synod will vote,” Francis says.

Each participant member “has the right to vote. Whether male or female. Everyone, everyone. That word everyone for me is key.”

Everyone, including LGBTQ Catholics “is a child of God and each one seeks and finds God by whatever path he or she can.”

He supports the legal rights guaranteed by civil unions for gay couples and others who share a life. Nor should homosexuality be criminalised, he says.

It’s sinful like any sexual activity outside of marriage; Francis doesn’t think those sins will see a person in hell.

But pastoral outreach to LGBTQ Catholics and accepting “gender ideology,” are different, he stresses. Gender ideology is one of the most dangerous ideological colonisations.

Francis also has a horror or war and is deeply concerned for Ukraine.

If he could have anything for his anniversary it would be: “Peace. We need peace”.



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