|Sister Mary Ann Flannery, M.C.|
If Pope Francis continues to reach out to the poor and to demonstrate a willingness to entertain discussionsof pluralism engaging other faiths
as well as the place of women in the church, he will have made a significant contribution.
When Vatican II, the renewal of the Catholic Church initiated by Pope John XXIII in 1960, began, I was a college student. Our church history professor, Sister Ellen Vincent, once pointed out that change would be rapid (thankfully), but after 30 or 40 years, distressed Catholics would galvanize a counterculture issuing reactionary attacks on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. "Not to be alarmed," she said, "only be aware, and meet the challenge with knowledge of your faith."
Since then, many Catholics have witnessed the rummaging of pre-Vatican II sacristy closets for accouterments, regaling our liturgy with items of the past that belong in museums more than sanctuaries and retrieving arcane practices of a faith that must move forward believing in the power of the Resurrection rather than the feeble power of a human-made system.
We are lifted to the horizon of hope this post-Easter with the election of Pope Francis, a man who lives the simple message that God truly loves each of us immeasurably.