What Makes Papa Frank So Likable (Especially Among Non-Catholics)?

We’d love to know what you think the reasons for his immense popularity are.

Please post your answers in the comments section.

Thanks everyone!BJIUmCaCIAAiMi8

 

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@PONTIFEXCELLENT: La Leche Edition

<> on May 18, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican.During a special ceremony in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday where he baptized 32 infants, Papa Frank told the mothers present to go ahead and nurse their babies if the children were hungry.

Right there. In the chapel. Under the Michaelangelos. In front of God and everybody.

“Some will cry because they are uncomfortable or because they are hungry,” the pope said. “If they are hungry, mothers, let them eat, no worries, because here, they are the main focus.”

How awesome is that?

Many mothers are reticent to breastfeed their children in public, particularly in “sacred spaces,” such as houses of worship. Obviously if the pope himself doesn’t have a problem with it, neither should anyone else.

This isn’t the first time Papa Frank has given his blessing to breastfeeding. Last month in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa the pope recalled a young mother who was holding her crying baby behind a screen at one of his general audiences at the Vatican.

“I said to her: ‘Madam, I think the child’s hungry. … Please give it something to eat!’ ” the Pope said. “She was shy and didn’t want to breastfeed in public, while the Pope was passing…I wish to say the same to humanity: Give people something to eat! That woman had milk to give to her child; we have enough food in the world to feed everyone.”

Word.

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@PONTIFEXCELLENT: A Hitchhiker’s Guide

<> on May 18, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican.During his audience in St. Peter’s Square Wednesday, Papa Frank spotted a familiar face among the throngs in the square: the Rev. Fabian Baez, a priest from the pontiff’s native Archdiocese of Buenos Aires with one of the world’s most awesome names. (Fabian Baez? Come on. His parents must have been 60s music fans. It’s almost as great as, say, Mick Joplin or Elton Faithfull.)

Seeing his friend from Argentina, Papa Frank didn’t simply wave or blow a kiss. Instead, he broke with Vatican protocol with characteristic panache by stopping the Popemobile and motioning for Baez to join him in the car as he road through the square.

It makes me want to send Papa Frank a bumper sticker for the popemobile: Will Stop for Homies. (Se Detendrá para Los Homies.)

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@PONTIFEXCELLENT: ‘Nolle timere’

<> on May 18, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican.To my memory, I have never been brought to tears listening to a Pope’s Christmas Eve homily. Until tonight.

Weeping as I type this, wrapping a few last gifts, listening to the replay of the Midnight Mass from St. Peter’s Basilica, I am so grateful for this man. “Sometimes there’s a man … he’s the man for his place and time.”

I am so grateful for this man, for our beloved Papa Frank.

Here’s the part of his homily that turned on the waterworks. It’s just so poetic, beautiful, clear, and true:

 

Papa Frank said:

The grace which was revealed in our world is Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, true man and true God. He has entered our history; he has shared our journey. He came to free us from darkness and to grant us light. In him was revealed the grace, the mercy, and the tender love of the Father: Jesus is Love incarnate. He is not simply a teacher of wisdom, he is not an ideal for which we strive while knowing  we are hopelessly distant from it. He is the meaning of life and history, who has pitched his tent in our midst.

The shepherds were the first to see this “tent,” to receive the news of Jesus’ birth. They were the first because they were among the last, the outcast. And they were the first because they were awake, keeping watch in the night, guarding their flocks. Pilgrims keep watch at night and that’s what they did. Together with them, let us pause before the Child, let us pause in silence.

Together with them, let us thank the Lord for having given Jesus to us, and with them let us raise from the depths of our hearts the praise of his fidelity: We bless you, Lord God most high, who lowered yourself for our sake. You are immense, and you made yourself small; you are rich and you made yourself poor; you are all-powerful and you made yourself vulnerable.

On this night let us share the joy of the Gospel: God loves us. He so loves us that he gave us his Son to be our brother, to be light in our darkness. To us the Lord repeats: “Do not be afraid!” (Lk 2:10). That’s what the angels said to the shepherds and I, too, repeat: Do not be afraid! Our Father Jesus is patient, he loves us, he gives us Jesus to guide us on the way which leads to the promised land. Our father forgives always. He is mercy. Jesus is the light who brightens the darkness. He is our peace. Amen.

You can watch the replay of the Midnight Mass here:

And read the prepared text of the pope’s homily (spoken it was slightly different) HERE.

Merry Christmas everyone. May you see the light in the darkness, know God is with us, and be not afraid.

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MADIBA: LIFE AS SCRIPTURE

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Stained Glass Depiction of Nelson Mandela, Regina Mundi Church, Soweto

By CATHLEEN FALSANI
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Friday, December 6, 2013

The air feels a little thinner and the light seems a bit dimmer since Nelson Mandela departed this life for the next on Thursday.

When Mandela crossed to the other side of the veil, we lost one of the most extraordinary people to ever walk this earth — a force for good, a voice for justice, a man who embodied the ideals of mercy and forgiveness with boundless grace.

But even more than a political, social justice, or ideological giant, in Madiba’s death I sincerely believe we lost the greatest spiritual leader of my lifetime.

He was neither priest nor preacher. He was never ordained; never donned a cleric’s garb or held The Word in his hand while extolling us about how to live.

Madiba lived his theology. He preached with his life. And his legacy is a scripture we will study for generations to come.

He did justly, loved mercy, and walked humbly with his God and with the world entire — with those who would call him their hero and those who would count him as an enemy.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains,” he said, “but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

Mandela was no “respecter of persons.” Rather he treated all he encountered with dignity, no matter color, creed, status, gender, sexuality, age, nationality or disposition.

His is a resurrection story. Robbed of his freedom, his intimacies, his health, and even his ability to cry tears of pain (or joy), Mandela emerged from 27 years of unjust imprisonment transformed. He might very well have been disfigured by bitterness or hatred.

Instead, Madiba’s metamorphosis, wrought by what Archbishop Desmond Tutu described as “a crucible that burned away the dross,” was a thing of indescribable beauty, strength, and divine grace.

He stared fear in the face and overcame it with perseverance, spiritual strength, faith, and love.

When he walked out of Victor Verster Prison on Feb. 11, 1990, he spoke not of victory or revenge, but rather of humility and service.

“I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all,” Mandela said. “I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.”

And he did just that. He led by example for the rest of his days.

After he was elected South Africa’s first black president, he invited his white jailer as a special guest to his inauguration, and he invited the prosecutor who had put him in jail (and sought his execution) to lunch.

Madiba modeled reconciliation and forgiveness personally, politically, and culturally, leading to one of the most astounding events in world history: South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The commission gave an entire nation the opportunity to confess its sins, confront its victims and tormentors, ask for forgiveness, and be forgiven.
It was not an opportunity squandered, but seized. The healing that followed is unprecedented and serves as a model for the rest of the world.

Mandela did not wear his faith on his sleeve. He was not a particularly “religious” man, but if you read his life it is impossible not to see the heart of a man who knew the God of love.

After his death, I read something I’d never seen before — a message Madiba delivered at the 1994 Easter gathering of the Zionist Christian Church. According to Christianity Today, which posted his comments, Mandela said:

“The Good News borne by our risen Messiah who chose not one race, who chose not one country, who chose not one language, who chose not one tribe, who chose all of humankind!

“Each Easter marks the rebirth of our faith. It marks the victory of our risen Savior over the torture of the cross and the grave,” he said. “Our Messiah, who came to us in the form of a mortal man, but who by his suffering and crucifixion attained immortality.

“Our Messiah, born like an outcast in a stable, and executed like criminal on the cross. Our Messiah, whose life bears testimony to the truth that there is no shame in poverty: Those who should be ashamed are they who impoverish others.

“Whose life testifies to the truth that there is no shame in being persecuted: Those who should be ashamed are they who persecute others. Whose life proclaims the truth that there is no shame in being conquered: Those who should be ashamed are they who conquer others.

“Whose life testifies to the truth that there is no shame in being dispossessed: Those who should be ashamed are they who dispossess others. Whose life testifies to the truth that there is no shame in being oppressed: Those who should be ashamed are they who oppress others.”

Although he did it infrequently, Mandela, in fact, could preach.

But his most powerful eloquence laid not in words, but in his actions. He was imperfect as much as any of us, a fact he acknowledged with characteristic humility when he famously said, “I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

He was no messiah, but his unfathomable strength and boundless willingness to extend grace to others — perhaps especially to those who don’t deserve it — seems to have been rooted in the One who came to reconcile all of creation.

I will miss his fierce but quiet dignity. I will yearn for his smile, his warmth, his ever-open arms.

And I, like millions of others now and in the future, will try to the best of my ability and for the rest of my days, to live what he taught us: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Amen.

Go now in peace, Madiba, good and faithful servant. Ndiyakuthanda, Tata.

THIS COLUMN ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

cfalsani@ocregister.com or on Twitter @Godgrrl

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Mourning Madiba: Ndiyakuthanda, Tata

mandela-smileI stand here before you not as a prophet, but as a humble servant of you, the people.

~ Nelson Mandela

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