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Pope Francis' call to holiness

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 Contents - Nov 2013AD2000 November 2013 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Pope Francis' call to holiness - Peter Westmore
Human rights: Zoe's Law and the right to life - Eamonn Keane
News: The Church Around the World
Culture: Cardinal Pell: defend religious freedom - Cardinal George Pell
Schools: The future of Catholic education - Archbishop Timothy Costelloe
Youth: Emmanuel Community: youth ministry powerhouse - Br Barry Coldrey
Interview: G.K. Chesterton's cause for sainthood - Dale Ahlquist
Marriage: Humanae Vitae: for an excellent love - Anne Lastman
Marriage: English bishop warns on same-sex marriage law - Bishop Philip Egan
Letters: Pope misrepresented - C. O'Driscoll
Letters: Australia's new Prime Minister - Arnold Jago
Letters: Three to get married - Cedric Wright
Letters: Total love - Madge Fahy
Letters: Clutching at straws - Anne Lastman
Letters: Finding balance - Walter H. Kirk
Books: Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer and Sex changed a Nation at War - Gabrielle Walsh (reviewer)
Books: WHO NEEDS GOD?, by Barbara Stockl with Christoph Cardinal Schönborn - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Books: THE CRAFT OF CATECHESIS, by P. Wiley, P. de Cointet and B. Morgan - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Support: 2013 Fighting Fund Progress Report - Peter Westmore
Books: Order books from
Reflection: Bishop Anthony Fisher: Do you want to be a saint? - Bishop Anthony Fisher

Six months after his election, Pope Francis continues to surprise, delight and for some, to disconcert. He has touched hearts in a similar way to Pope John Paul II, whom he will canonise next April. The latest controversy involved a lengthy interview conducted by the Jesuit-run Italian newspaper La Civiltà Cattolica and translated into English.

There is always a risk in over-simplifying a long and complex interview; but when the secular media does it, we need to be extremely cautious.

Following the interview, numerous media outlets picked up a comment that the Pope made: "We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible," he said, explaining that this would not be the fullness of the Gospel, but instead a "disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently."

Pope Francis was not saying that these issues are not vitally important – only that they are not the only issues the Church must be concerned with.

The fact is that the Church rarely speaks out publicly on these issues. It is our secular society which is obsessed with them, and misrepresents the Church as projecting "a disjointed multitude of doctrines".

As John Paul II said repeatedly, these issues are central to the question of whether our society reflects a culture of life or a culture of death. And the answer to this question will likely determine whether our civilisation survives, or crumbles into the dust of history.

What Pope Francis is urging is that the central focus of the Church's mission must be to win the hearts and minds of men and women to Jesus Christ, to a radical embrace of God-made-man, who through his life and teaching showed us the true purpose of human existence.

As George Weigel, biographer of Blessed John Paul II, observed, Pope Francis "understands that men and women are far more likely to embrace those moral truths - about the inalienable right to life from conception until natural death; about human sexuality and how it should be lived - when they have first embraced Jesus Christ as Lord".

Peter Westmore is publisher of AD2000

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 26 No 10 (November 2013), p. 2

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