When Pope Francis was elected, one of the stories circulating was that in the previous election, he had come in second to Pope Benedict XVI. I've thought about that, wondering if, when he heard the name "Benedict," he had considered to himself what name he would have chosen -- perhaps Francis. If he had looked at the red shoes and thought how peculiar it would have been to be wearing them. And if, as Benedict spoke to the church, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was quietly aware that he would have said it differently.
Pope Francis is adding his voice to the chorus of papal statements fostering social justice.
The latest papal document is truly remarkable. I have only read the first 50 pages so far, but each page is filled with a richness just waiting to be tapped by the universal church. I believe it is safe to say that there has never been a papal document quite like the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.
Pope Francis is no naïve Pollyanna when he speaks of the importance of joy in spreading the Gospel in his first apostolic exhortation.
In Evangelii Gaudium, he warns us against being "disillusioned pessimists, 'sourpusses.' " But he also acknowledges the real and constant challenges of pastoral work: "Along this journey of evangelization we will have our moments of aridity, darkness and even fatigue."
I really like Pope Francis in so many ways. He seems personable, friendly, truly human, a man who experiences life with joy. I love his simpler lifestyle, his emphasis on the poor of the world and his preaching of social justice and peace as cornerstones of the Gospel message.
But when it comes to women, I want to cry. He just doesn't seem to get it. He tries to be nice, to be complimentary and understanding. But in almost every phrase, he seems to think of women as a different species of human.
All Things Catholic: The real novelty of "Joy of the Gospel" is that the document is an act of synthesis, weaving together strains of Catholic thought usually kept separate.
Analysis: Evangelii Gaudium, released by the Vatican Tuesday, is a vision statement about the kind of community Francis wants Catholicism to be.
With his apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium" (The Joy of the Gospel), Pope Francis finally makes his real debut as papal author.