Pope Francis's First Angelus
'Dear brothers and sisters, good morning! After our first meeting last Wednesday, today I again give my greetings to you all! And I am happy to do it on Sunday, the Lord's Day! This is beautiful and important for us Christians: to meet on Sunday, to greet one another, to talk as we are doing now, in the square. This square that, thanks to the media, takes on worldly dimensions.
In this Fifth Sunday of Lent, the Gospel presents us with the story of the adulterous woman whom Jesus saves from being condemned to death. It captures Jesus' attitude: we do not hear words of contempt, we do not hear words of condemnation, but only words of love, of mercy, that invite us to conversion. 'Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more!' Well, brothers and sisters! God's face is that of a merciful father who is always patient. Have you thought about God's patience, the patience that He has with each of us? That is His mercy. He always has patience, is always patient with us, understanding us, awaiting us, never tiring of forgiving us if we know how to return to him with a contrite heart. 'Great is the Lord's mercy', says the Psalm.
In these days, I have been able to read a book by a cardinal—Cardinal Kasper, a talented theologian, a good theologian—on mercy. And it did me such good, that book, but don't think that I'm publicizing the books of my cardinals. That is not the case! But it did me such good, so much good... Cardinal Kasper said that hearing the word mercy changes everything. It is the best thing that we can hear: it changes the world. A bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just. We need to understand God's mercy well, this merciful Father who has such patience... Think of the prophet Isaiah who asserts that even if our sins were scarlet red, God's love would make them white as snow...'
Somehow, doubt remains as to 'whose side' Pope Francis was on in the hastily organised Synod on the Family, just a year and a half into his pontificate. Retrospectively, things are becoming clearer. The very first Angelus of Pope Francis was a public endorsement of Cardinal Kasper's position which contradicts Christ's teaching. Nothing the Pope has said since removes the suspicion that this has been the Pope's position since day one of his reign.
The Synod did not go Kasper's way and it did not go the way it was intended. That hasn't dampened the spirit of Cardinal Marx of Germany, however. After all, both he and Cardinal Kasper claim papal backing for their reforms. Why any doubt remains that they are correct on this matter, is beyond my comprehension. Cardinal Marx insists that, no matter what was decided upon at the Synod, Pope Francis is going to use some kind of 'executive order' to get the reforms through. It would appear rather that the Pope has placed all his eggs in one basket. That is the faith basket-case that is Germany where mammon in the form of the Church tax is the only god that is respected by the majority of the Hierarchy. Money talks. I guess money - and especially the revenue of the German Church tax - talks to the Pope as well.