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Wednesday, 20 March 2013

On the new Pope from the Provost of the London Oratory

Fr Julian Large, Provost of the London Oratory, was himself a journalist before becoming a priest. His schooling in this field is evident in the quality of writing in his public Letters from the Provost and never more so than in his latest superb piece on the election of Pope Francis. This is genuinely pastoral writing at its very best.

In looking for a couple of quotes to pull out, I was spoilt for choice, so let me just take what I think is the core of Father's message to his people, while urging you to read the whole letter, especially if you are a bit nervous or confused at the moment:
Whatever personal feelings – euphoric, neutral or negative – an individual might experience towards the person of any particular pope are neither here nor there as far as being a good Catholic is concerned. There is, however, a very definite and proper Catholic response to the election of a new Pope. We receive the Successor of St Peter into our hearts with love, and we support him with our loyalty and with our prayers. Charity, or love, here does not mean a fickle sentiment that waxes and wanes depending on whether we are delighted with a pope’s thundering denunciation of gambling one day and then up-in-arms about his reluctance to be carried on the sedia gestatoria the next. Love in this context is something far more constant and practical. It means praying for the Pope every day, so that God’s grace works through his gifts and his limitations for the building up of the Church. It also means that, if ever we speak of the Supreme Pontiff, it is always with the respect that is due to the awe-inspiring dignity of his office.
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