Pope Francis has been busy in 2013 redefining what it means to be a follower of Christ. Disregarding the pomp and ceremony of the Catholic Church, the new Pope has refused to live in the Papal apartments, going for the modest trappings of a Vatican guesthouse. He gave up the usual Mercedes for a Ford Focus and has labeled unfettered capitalism a ‘tyranny’. His pro people message is a far cry from the traditions of the Church that has come under increasing scrutiny for its outdated traditions and complicity in a horrific series of child abuse scandals. Pope Francis seems genuinely different – actually Christ-like in his behavior rather than the autocratic moralizing we’ve been use to from the previous Popes.
Here are 10 awesome quotes from the new head of of the Catholic Church that will at least partially restore your faith in the church as a power for good:
1. Since many of you do not belong to the Catholic Church and others are non-believers, from the bottom of my heart I give this silent blessing to each and every one of you, respecting the conscience of each one of you but knowing that each one of you is a child of God.
2. In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don’t baptize the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage. These are today’s hypocrites. Those who clericalize the church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation.
3. It is true that going out on to the street implies the risk of accidents happening, as they would to any ordinary man or woman. But if the church stays wrapped up in itself, it will age. And if I had to choose between a wounded church that goes out on to the streets and a sick, withdrawn church, I would definitely choose the first one.
4. I like it when someone tells me ‘I don’t agree.’ This is a true collaborator. When they say ‘Oh, how great, how great, how great,’ that’s not useful.
5. Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor.
6. Leaders of the Church have often been Narcissus, flattered and sickeningly excited by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy.
7. Money has to serve, not to rule.
8. A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.
9. If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge? We shouldn’t marginalise people for this. They must be integrated into society.
10. These days there is a lot of poverty in the world, and that’s a scandal when we have so many riches and resources to give to everyone. We all have to think about how we can become a little poorer.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.