Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Francis Of Assisi Or St. Francis Xavier

Our new Holy Father took the name Francis at his own peril. A potential schism in the Church erupted when two women argued this AM about whether he meant St. Francis of Assisi or St. Francis Xavier, a Jesuit. They settled that either one or both was fine. And this at my parish of St. Francis of Assisi! Wheewww! I have another candidate for a Jesuit role model. The late Bishop John R. Sheets, SJ was one of the founders of the Jesuit publication Communio. 
He also taught Theology at Marquette as a young priest in the 1950's where my wife was in his first Theology class (He gave her a "D" on a critical paper!) .He taught with such fervor and love for Jesus, beads of sweat would run from his forehead. We were married in 1960 and our Father John remained a close friend and mentor on camping trips, playing with the kids and taking him to retreats he was conducting in California. He officiated at my daughter's wedding. He asked my wife and I to lay hands on him and pray to the Holy Spirit for him. It was surely the most humbling experience of my life! I recalled the event when Pope Francis asked the people to pray for him before imparting his blessing.
I add this background, because when Fr. John was at Marquette, he was one of only two faculty members who refused to sign a petition against Pope Paul VI's "Humanae Vitae." Pope John Paul the Great ordained him a bishop and sent him to Notre Dame to try to stem her tide to secularism. He was much loved in his tenure there, but probably had a greater affect in some way helping launch the Franciscan University at Steubenville. (Was this the precursor to this latest communion between the Jesuits and the Franciscans?)
It is my sincere and prayerful hope that the late and saintly Bishop Sheets will be a model for the restoration of the Church, and the order through which Father Raymond Gawronski who also taught at Marquette more recently and contributes to Communio and other publications. He and other Jesuits serve God and the Church at a great intellectual level. Francis Cardinal George referred to Bishop Sheets as his mentor when they were at Creighton University. It can't get any better than that!
As for social justice and liberation theology, I'm sure Pope Francis' predecessor's encyclical "Caritas in veritate" will be a good model, especially in #58 where he teaches that the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity must be applied in unison. Cardinal Dolan and Congressman Paul Ryan are keen adherents to these principles.
Thank you Lord, for our wonderful new Pope! Let us be the salt of the earth with him.
Gerald V. Todd 
Link (here)

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