From the blog coordinator:
The International movement website has someone updating full time. Access to the new link:


By Joshua J. McElwee  
Pope Francis on Thursday re-emphasized his vision of who should be chosen as Catholic bishops around the world, telling the Vatican office responsible for their selection he wants prelates who are "genuine pastors" and who will "argue with God on behalf of [their] people."


Fr Tony Flannery lauds 'real reformer' Francis

Saturday, February 08, 2014
Pope Francis is proving to be one of the great reformers of the Catholic Church and may even prove more radical than Pope John XXIII, according to Redemptorist priest, Fr Tony Flannery. 
By Dan Buckley
“He is tackling the structures of the Church and that is exactly what needs to be done,” Fr Flannery said yesterday, in advance of an address at the Kinsale Peace Project in Cork last night. 

While Fr Flannery said it was too early to say whether Pope Francis would prove the most radical reformer of the modern Church, he was going about things the right way.

“He has been criticised for not making headway on issues like married priests and the ordination of women, but I think he is right. He is moving to change the Church’s structures, starting with the Vatican Bank, and I think he is right in doing that. 

“While changes made by Pope John XXIII and Vatican II made great strides, they did not tackle the structures which meant that when the bishops went home after the Council, the power structures within the Vatican reasserted themselves. Pope Francis is very politically astute and knows that in order to secure real and lasting reform you have to change the structures.” 

Fr Flannery added he was worried the Pope, despite his good intentions, may not be able to make the changes he wants. 

“I have no doubt Pope Francis is a real reformer. I agree that he is very radical but there is still a big question about whether he will be able to make his reforms stick. 

“He is really up against the forces of opposition, particularly among the Curia. 

“He also faces opposition outside the Vatican. There is, for instance, a strong traditionalist movement emerging in the United States and it has enormous money behind it and are determined to oppose him. So Pope Francis has his work cut out. He is 78, but appears to be very clear-sighted and sure of what he wants.” 

Fr Flannery, who rejected the Vatican’s attempts to silence him last year for leading Church reform efforts in Ireland, later addressed the Kinsale Peace Project on a range of topics, including allowing priests to marry and on women being ordained.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

 This is taken from The Southern Cross Newsletter #209

Veteran Vatican reporter Allen calls Pope Francis ‘pope of mercy’

ARVADA, Colorado (CNS)—Veteran Vatican reporter John Allen Jr. took up the old journalist “man on the street” challenge by a priest in the poorest part of Buenos Aires when he sought the truth about how Pope Francis came to be known as a bishop of the poor.

Allen has covered three popes in his career and was recently hired as associate editor of the Boston Globe after years of writing for the National Catholic Reporter weekly newspaper.

He recounted the story in a recent talk about Pope Francis’ first year before a crowd of nearly 500 people in Arvada, Denver archdiocese.

Allen had visited the place where Pope Francis chose to live for his 12 years as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

“Rather than living in the archbishop’s palace, he chose to live in a very Spartan apartment in the heart of the city where the poor lived,” the journalist said. “When I say Spartan, I don’t just mean that in the language of real estate professionals. This was the kind of place that you had to leave the stove on 24/7 over the weekend, because they didn’t have enough money to leave the heat on over the weekend.”

He also visited he slums of Buenos Aires — called the villas of misery — where the future pope, then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, spent much of his time.

He asked the pastor there about Pope Francis being the bishop of the poor, saying, “To what extent is that reality or to what extent is that (public relations)? He replied, ‘Look, why don’t you just go out in the street and ask the people.’”

“On that dare, I went out on the street,” Allen said, “and I polled about five or six people and asked, ‘What do you know about Bergoglio?’ ... Before they even vocalised an answer, they all went into these tin shacks they lived in that they called their homes and they came back out with these prized pictures with Bergoglio baptising their children, or confirming their nephew or sitting in their living room when their husband died because he spent his time there.”

“That’s where he drew the oxygen in his lungs,” Allen added, “to think about what kind of Church he wanted.” And also, said Allen, to think about what he wants people to see when they see the Catholic Church — service to the Gospel rather than power and privilege.

In his talk, Allen outlined three areas where he believes Pope Francis will have the most impact — leadership as service, the social Gospel and mercy as the core Christian message in this era.

He said he was using three measurements to look at the pontiff’s impact — popular appeal, media appeal and his impact on the culture of Rome.

When it comes to social Gospel, Allen said, Pope Francis has done several interviews so far as pope, and he has said it was not necessary to talk continually about Church teachings on abortion, gay marriage and contraception because those are already well known.

“In some quarters I think this has been misunderstood,” Allen said. “There are some who believe what this signifies is the Church is somehow pulling back from the Gospel of life. That perception is so widespread. There is no retreat. There is a determination to lift up other elements of Catholic teachings that he believes have not gotten a commensurate level of attention.”

That the pope has widespread popular appeal is a fact, he said. “In every region of the world in which public opinion can be scientifically surveyed, Pope Francis has approval ratings that politicians or celebrities would sacrifice their children to pagan gods to attain,” he joked.

He noted a Pew survey recently found that 96 percent of American Catholics “have a favourable impression of this pope.”

Allen said each of three popes he has covered are complex men but have had a signature phrase that gets to the heart of what they are about.

For Bl John Paul II “it was ‘Be not afraid.’ It was this invitation to the Church to recapture its boldness, its missionary self-confidence after the years of introspection and self-doubt that followed the years of the Second Vatican Council.”

Pope Benedict XVI’s phrase was “reason and faith ... that reason and faith need one another ... to be healthy these two things need one another,” Allen said.

With Pope Francis, it is “the Lord never tires of forgiving,” he said.

“I believe that Pope Francis ultimately is going to be remembered as the pope of mercy,” because he wants the world when it looks at the church to see mercy, Allen said.
The following from The New York Times

Pope With the Humble Touch Is Firm in Reshaping the Vatican

 JAN. 13, 2014

VATICAN CITY — Less than a year into his papacy, Pope Francis has raised expectations among the world’s one billion Roman Catholics that change is coming. He has already transformed the tone of the papacy, confessing himself a sinner, declaring “Who am I to judge?” when asked about gays, and kneeling to wash the feet of inmates, including Muslims.

Less apparent, if equally significant for the future of the church, is how Francis has taken on a Vatican bureaucracy so plagued by intrigue and inertia that it contributed, numerous church officials now believe, to the historic resignation of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, last February.

Read More


Five articles in National Catholic Reporter - September 2013

Click on header to go to website

Francis challenges us to take dusty paths to new frontiers
Analysis by Chris Lowney 27th September 2012

Pope Francis, gender equality and the idea of machismo
Analysis by Michelle A. Gonzalez 26th September 2013

Francis wishes to release Vatican II's bold vision from captivity
Richard Gaillardetz Sep. 25, 2013 

It will be hard to go backward after Francis' papacy
by Richard Rohr on 24th September 2013

The real test of Francis' reform: touching the spiritually poor
By Hans Kung on 23rd September 2013


When does our hope for Francis become denial?

Full disclosure: I do not feel excited or hopeful about what Pope Francis said about women and gay priests during his epic press conference on the way home to Rome.
Now, wait. Before you click me off as a hater or an incorrigible pessimist or an angry feminist lesbian or another choice label, please understand this: I don't dislike Pope Francis.

I think he has an authentic warmth. I appreciate his desire to be among the people. I laugh at some of his jokes, and there are themes in his sermons that genuinely move me. I share his desire to break down clericalism and the injustices of capitalism, and I believe wholeheartedly in his vision of ecological justice.
The following is the latest movement towards Church Reform. It is not just any movement as you will note if you access the website (Link below). The site also gives many worthwhile links to browse:


Welcome to the online global community of people supporting Catholic Church Reform. Pope Francis has brought a breath of fresh air to the Roman Church. And he is rekindling the hopes of millions of Catholics and non-Catholics alike who had felt increasingly discouraged and alienated from the Church in the past. For decades, reform groups globally have been working to promote some aspect of Church reform, but in the recent past many have felt increasingly discouraged and alienated from a Church that has been unwilling to change. But now that Pope Francis has brought to Rome a new, positive spirit of openness, he has rekindled our hopes for change on many fronts.

Read more

Francis takes on Vatican bank: 'trust reluctantly, verify deeply'

John L. Allen Jr. | Jun. 26, 2013

In a move that observers describe as a clear signal of a desire for greater transparency and accountability, Pope Francis on Wednesday set up a new commission to investigate the activities of the Vatican bank and to report its findings directly to him.

Among other things, observers say the move indicates that Francis intends to take a personal interest in the bank as opposed to relying on others to make decisions in his name.

The commission is not empowered to govern the bank or to implement any reform measures, but to gather information and relay it to the pope in what's described as a "timely" fashion.

Read More

Pontiff: Ten Commandments are a signpost to freedom

By STAFF REPORTER on Wednesday, 12 June 2013
Catholic Herald

The Ten Commandments are not a limitation, but a pathway to freedom, Pope Francis said in a video message broadcast to thousands gathered in Milan’s Cathedral Square earlier this week.

The crowd were participating in the Ten Squares for Ten Commandments initiative on Monday morning, an event that was being promoted by the Renewal in the Spirit movement in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation as part of the Year of Faith.

The Tablet  --  Feature Article
22nd June 2012

Don’t let spring turn to winter 

Power and poverty

Hans Küng - 11 May 2013

When Jorge Bergoglio took the name Francis as Pope, he did something no pontiff has done before: placed himself in the tradition of the Poverello. It is, says this leading theologian, a challenge to the Roman system, in terms of both spiritual and institutional reform 
Who could have imagined what has happened in the last weeks? When I decided, some months ago, to resign all of my official duties on the occasion of my eighty-fifth birthday, I assumed that in my lifetime I would never see fulfilled my decades-long dream that – after all the setbacks following the Second Vatican Council – the Catholic Church would once again experience the kind of rejuvenation that it did under Pope John XXIII.

The short statement published on 19th June 2013 of the Austrian Priests’ Initiative on First 100 Days of Pope Francis can be found here

The Tablet

Feature Article
John and Francis: two of a kind
Papal continuityJohn Borelli - 15 June 2013

Fifty years after the death of Pope John XXIII, comparisons are being invited between him and the current occupier of the Chair of Peter.
A specialist in interreligious dialogue explains what they have in common
From the moment of his introduction to the world as Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio has resembled Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, or Pope John XXIII, more than any other Pope since Pope John’s death 50 years ago. The first resemblance is that both were 76 when elected. Roncalli’s electors wanted a short-term ­compromise candidate. He turned 77 less than a month after his election, reigning barely another 54 months before succumbing to cancer; yet, the much beloved Pope John unquestionably changed the lives of Catholics and of countless others. 

From American Magazine

Pope Francis 'Likes' Vatican II

Kevin Clarke | Apr 16 2013 - 12:02pm |


During the homily of yesterday's mass dedicated to Benedict XVI 16th (who turned 86 on this date), Pope Francis offered a happily unnuanced endorsement of the ambitions of Vatican II, noted efforts to "turn the clock back" and suggested the church needed to do more to complete "everything the Holy Spirit was asking us to do during the Council."

The latest from John Allen in NCR on a surprise move by Pope Francis

Pope taps eight cardinals to lead reform

Who Francis may be, based on who Bergoglio was

John L. Allen Jr.  |  Apr. 5, 2013 All Things Catholic
Pope Francis
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA I spent this week in Argentina in search of insight into Pope Francis from the people who know him best as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the man who was their archbishop for fifteen years.
For sure, the first impression here is deep national pride. Locals say there’s probably never been a better-attended Holy Week in the history of Argentinian Catholicism than after Francis’ election.

The following article is an English translation of an interview by a Costa Rican Newspaper/Magazine with Leonardo Boff.  It is even more hopeful sounding that the article in NCR on 2nd April.

It came via IMWAC and George Bouchey in the States.
Date: 2013/4/3

Iglesia Descalza

Theologian Leonardo Boff: "The Pope will be important in Latin American politics"

by à lvaro Murillo (English translation by Rebel Girl)
La Nación (Costa Rica)
April 2, 2013

He was an active priest who was critical towards the Vatican. He co-founded the leftist current known as liberation theology in Brazil, was punished, and therefore left the priesthood and devoted himself to promoting his human rights ideas in his role as a lay person. He also adopted the idea of environmental sustainability and works as a teacher of theology.

He came to Costa Rica, invited by La Salle University for its course on environmental sustainability, but the subject of the new pope is obligatory when facing one of the most critical voices of the Catholic Church in Latin America, the founder of the leftist Christian movement known as liberation theology. Leonardo Boff, the Brazilian former priest, hasn't ceased to be optimistic about the election of Francis.

We know your very optimistic opinions about the new Pope Francis. Why, given that you've been so critical of the Church?

His name, Francis, is more than a name; it's a plan for the Church. It's rebuilding a Church that's in ruins because of the sexual scandals, the Vatican bank, infighting. It's providential that he's a Jesuit, well-trained and with the virtues of Saint Francis -- simplicity and the option for the poor.

He comes from the Third World, where 60% of Catholics live, while Europe is a dying region. He can bring new vigor to the Church, new hope, and he's already given very clear signs that he will be different. He's already said that pastors should smell like sheep, not like palaces, altars, and sacristies. It's a Church of all times. He will be more a pastor than a doctor.

The Church is also a system made up by authorities who are the same ones as in the previous papacy. Isn't it naive to think Francis can change what's wrong in the Church?

He has to intervene, to use that power of absolute monarchy. He has the ability to intervene in the diseased body of the Church, in its cancer. If he doesn't do it, his name wouldn't make sense.

The problem is that the Church has completely lost credibility and is universally demoralized. He was elected to restore that credibility in this internal crisis. He feels obliged to make a complete reform in the face of the errors of the Curia.

Will he have any leeway? The cardinals are the same.

Maybe that's the only advantage of being an absolute monarchy. He has absolute and immediate power. He can remove a cardinal, transfer an archbishop, and he can excommunicate people at the highest level. Perhaps that would be the only advantage of being a dictatorship.

How should the churches of Latin America view all these gestures of austerity, humility, and option for the dispossessed? Is it a binding example?

I hope so. Most of the cardinals and bishops are very devoted to the Pope; they exalt him and such. Well, now's the time for the bishops to imitate him and shed their palace titles. He's already said that "the carnival is over", when they wanted to put the garments on him. This is a scandal. With all that solemnity and habits, it looks more like the carnival in Rio. I'm one of those who's going to remind them to imitate the Pope. If they don't do it, it's a sign that they're breaking with him and his papacy.

Are you confident that they'll imitate him?

They should, because he isn't repressive like Ratzinger, who chopped the heads of 140 theologians.

You were one of them.

Yes, I was one of them, one among many, but it seems that's over. Francis doesn't seem so interested in doctrine, but in being a shepherd and bringing hope, being in the world of solidarity. He'll be important in the politics of Latin America, now, with the flowering of populist democracies. He has always preferred the poor, not out of philanthropy but out of justice.

That's what liberation theology says, isn't it?

Yes, that's the main point. We're very happy and it doesn't matter whether he uses the words "liberation theology" or not. What matters to us is his solidarity and his moral authority with human beings and the Earth.
Do you think the College of Cardinals knew what kind of pope they were choosing?

I suspect that the European cardinals were embarrassed. They knew it couldn't be one of them.

Now we're seeing more and more gestures. When will we see the first decisions and what will they be?

It will go on as it is. But perhaps another council is coming, an open council of Christianity, even including atheists, focused on life and respect for others. In 50 years (since Vatican II) humanity has changed a lot. We have to define the paths of the Church and ecumenical Christianity for the third millennium. That would be the best and it would emerge strengthened.

Is he a socialist pope?

I don't know if that label would fit him. He may be interested in the poor and in social justice, which are the classic banners of historical socialism; they're ethical banners. But using the word is a party or an ideology and they distance themselves from that. What we can say is that one should seek a socio-cosmic democracy, that also includes nature. I think that he's going along that line.

Will you help him in his projects for South America?

My concern isn't helping the pope but taking on the cause that goes beyond him, of lives that are threatened. If he takes it on, I'll be there, but if not, we'll pressure him, because we don't have a lot of time.

Do you think he could go live outside the Vatican?

Like John Paul I who, two days before dying, gathered the cardinals and announced that to them; two days later, he turned up dead.

Are you saying that Pope Francis would be taking a risk?

It's a risk, because there's a history in the Vatican of many assassinations, a long time ago. He should be careful because where there's a struggle for power, there's no love -- and power always seeks more power. He should handle this to make reforms without causing a schism. The base of the two previous popes was the fundamentalists like Opus Dei, Communion and Liberation, and the Knights of Christ. Those groups must be very unhappy with the new pope, who is more social [justice] based.

Waiting for Francis to reform the Curia? He already has

Eugene Cullen Kennedy | Apr. 2, 2013 | NCR

While pundits and ecclesiastical junkies continue to speculate when and how Pope Francis will -- or even if he can -- reform the Roman Curia, he has already done it.

It has not been reported because the busy chroniclers of Vatican life are listening for the shuffling sounds that bureaucrats make as, like thoroughbreds pawing at the starting gate, they plan how to jockey into position, bumping other contenders if necessary, to finish in the money. Or at least to bet on the winner of the Kentucky Derby of Vatican preferment that is run whenever a new pope assumes office.

Five tests of whether Pope Francis' reform of the Vatican could be real
John L. Allen Jr. | Mar. 22, 2013 All Things Catholic in NCR

Pope Francis

Saturday will mark 10 days since the start of the Pope Francis era, and as introductions go, it's been a tour de force. Polling around the world suggests that overwhelming majorities have a positive impression of the new pope, and the media have fallen in love with a man who packs his own bags, makes his own calls and prefers to walk rather than taking the limo.

Read More

The following NYT article is posted on this page because I see it as a prayer for Pope Francis.


Published: March 20, 2013

My Prayer: Let Women Be Priests
AFTER serving as a Roman Catholic priest for 40 years, I was expelled from the priesthood last November because of my public support for the ordination of women.

Catholic priests say that the call to be a priest comes from God. As a young priest, I began to ask myself and my fellow priests: “Who are we, as men, to say that our call from God is authentic, but God’s call to women is not?” Isn’t our all-powerful God, who created the cosmos, capable of empowering a woman to be a priest?


A house that needs putting in order | Habemus papam: Pope Francis 

Feature Article by Robert Mickens  16 March 2013 

There have been a number of attempts to reform the Roman Curia, but the new Pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio SJ, has the best opportunity to date 

Much criticism has been directed at the Roman Curia in the past few months and that has only intensified in the immediate run-up to the 2013 conclave. The media, fuelled by documents emerging from the so-called VatiLeaks scandal, have portrayed it as a dysfunctional bureaucracy mired in sexual and financial impropriety. Some even depict it as the root cause of all the Church’s problems. Others maintain that the alleged corruption and vice inside its various departments prompted Benedict XVI’s sudden resignation from the Chair of St Peter, in a similar way to the moment when the 1968 student riots led him to leave his professorial chair at the University of Tübingen. 

With Simple Actions and Dress, New Pope Shifts Tone at Vatican

NEW YORK TIMES  |   By RACHEL DONADIO | Published: March 14, 2013

VATICAN CITY — He stopped to pay his hotel bill a day after becoming pope. He wore simple black shoes and an ordinary wristwatch with a thick black band to his first Mass as pontiff. He rode in a minivan to dinner with the cardinals who elected him, affectionately telling them, “May God forgive you for what you've done.”

Read More

How Movements Recover

By DAVID BROOKS  |  Published: March 14, 2013

The Catholic Church in North Africa was in crisis at the beginning of the fourth century. The Roman emperor Diocletian had persecuted the Christians, and many bishops and priests had collaborated with the regime. Priests had turned over Christian believers to the pagan magistrates. Bishops had surrendered Holy Scriptures to be burned in the public square. An air of corruption and lewdness hung over the church.

Pope Francisco, called to restore the Church


[This article you will need to open in Chrome which gives you the option to translate from Spanish to English. Despite the poor translation skill of Google, one can get the gist of what Leonard Boff is endorsing about this new Pope.}
Leonardo Boff one of the founders of Liberation 

Who are the people who were waiting for Pope Francis?

Joan Chittister | Mar. 14, 2013

Pat Howard, columnist and managing editor of the Erie Times-News, my hometown newspaper, brought his own experience of church-watching to this second papal election in eight years. His description of having been disappointed in the way the church has responded to the questions of the time in the last two papacies gave me a new way to understand what I have been hearing from so many people in so many places these last three weeks.

The importance of Howard's opinion piece as a bellwether comment lies in the fact that Erie, Pa., is not a hotbed of dissent against anything. On the contrary: This is the kind of small city Americans call "a great place to raise a family." There are churches in every neighborhood of every stripe in the Christian catalog. There are some longtime Jewish synagogues with their congregations deeply embedded in the life of the city. There is a growing Muslim social center and a strong core of new refugees. We are, that is, a mixed population, and we live together well. There is nothing either New Age or critically atheistic about the area's social climate. On the contrary: This is a place that registers "average" on just about every social index. Obviously, then, opinion here can be thought to cover a great deal of ground.

[A should be read]

Habemus Papam: Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio Elected Pope, Takes Name Francis 

by Francis X. Rocca   |  Posted on 14 March 2013. 

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, was elected the 266th pope and took the name Francis.

The election March 13 came on the first full day of the conclave on the conclave’s fifth ballot. It was a surprisingly quick conclusion to a conclave that began with many plausible candidates and no clear favorite.

Read More 

National Survivor Advocates Coalition Message to Pope Francis


The following authored by Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition 

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) urgently calls on Pope Francis to act forcefully for justice for the survivors of sexual abuse by priests and nuns. 

The Church walks in a moment of great hope.

The Church must walk through great pain to get to its fullness.

Words alone, whether they are pretty or plain, will not get the job done.

Read More

Cardinals elect Pope Francis, Argentinean Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio 

By Joshua J. McElwee   |  14th March 2013

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, an Argentinean Jesuit who is the first in his order and the first from Latin America to hold the see of Peter, has been elected the 266th bishop of Rome and leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. 

Read More


  1. Sorry, Our pope is encouraging sin!

    But sir, so many children abused in the Church!

    Pope Francis “Who am I to Judge?”

    Did not the Lord give you authority! and what about the many countless victims? no justice for them!

    Pope Francis ” Gay clergy should be forgiven and their sins forgotten”

    There is no way I'm going to bring my children to be blessed or receive communion or go to confession before a so called gay clergy or queer priest in the house of the Lord. It's a disgrace!!! no regard for the countless numbers of children and families who have been molested and french kissed by these demonic queers in the church.
    No regard for these suffering people whatsoever!
    The millions upon millions of dollars spent to protect and keep these stink en jackass queers comfortable, when all this money should have gone to the poor needy and homeless!!

    It is illegal for this so called gay clergy to perform any ceremonial services to the faithful, let alone dress up in holy e tire.

    This pope is a bum blasting jackass! a deceiver! one who speaks not the word of the Lord.
    A BIG DOSE OF TRUTH MIXED WITH A BIG LIE. And the gull to say this, returning from youth day!
    So shall the Lord come with swift justice to all those who agree with this brown stained pope.

    U can bet on that!
    In Jesus Mary and Joseph Thy Will Be Done, Amen and Amen (*)