“Francis, Re-Build My Chuch!”

pope francis2Father Dwight Longenecker – The first thing this morning Pope Francis went secretly to pray at the basilica church of St Mary Major in Rome. It is a custom for a new pope to go to this great church to pray, but for Pope Francis it was the first thing on his agenda. While he was there he made it a point to pray at the tomb of Pope St Pius V. Is this significant? Does it matter? If it is significant what does it signify?

First of all, it is significant. Popes are aware of the historic nature of their office. They know that the papacy is one. All the popes exercise the same ministry and they all complement one another–even the wicked ones in their way fulfilled the divine providence. Furthermore, the Popes know their actions and words are significant. This is why they carefully choose their papal name. Benedict XVI chose his name for sound and significant reasons. Francis chose his name for sound and significant reasons. During his papacy, Benedict paid two very significant visits to the tomb of Pope St. Celestine V – the pope who decided that a pope could abdicate, and the only one who did abdicate for the good of the church. Benedict then follows his example and abdicates for the good of the church.

The very first thing Francis does is go to St Mary Major to pray at the tomb of Pius V.

So who was Pope St Pius V? He was a reforming pope who reigned from 1566- 1572. He cleaned up the curia, excommunicated heretical bishops, cleaned up the immorality in the church and swept the church clean– paving the way for the great surge in the church we call the Counter Reformation. He also excommunicated the tyrant Elizabeth I of England and formed the Holy League–a confederation of Catholic armies which eventually defeated the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto. Pius V also instituted the Feast of Our Lady of Victories (or the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary).

St Francis lived during a time of corruption, wealth and power in the church. He heard Christ say to him, “re-build my church.” Will Pope Francis also hear the call from Christ to “re-build my church” and not only be a new Francis but a new Pius V? I think we will see some high drama in the months to come. Certainly if his reputation in his native Argentina is anything to go by, we may well see a Pope who is uncompromising in his proclamation of the fullness of the Catholic faith. He stood up against an aggressive secular authority when they tried to impose same sex marriage and abortion. He also stood up to his clergy and led by example with an austere life committed fully to the gospel. He also stood up against the clergy who wanted to get involved in politics. He has said ambition and power seeking are a sin.

Will Pope Francis be the “new broom” the Vatican needs right now? What will happen when he cleans up the Vatican, and then turns his broom to secular society? Like Pius V, does he perceive the Muslims as a threat to be dealt with rather than a friend to be reconciled? If he attacks the secular dogmas of free sex, abortion, homosexuality and feminism what will be the outcome? Will he be the person to lead us, like Pius V in a crusade against immorality and corruption both in the church and without? If he makes enemies will he last long? Does he have the strength to do this job? Is this precisely why the Cardinals elected him–to clean up the mess we are in once and for all?

This may be an even more exciting election than any of us predicted.

Originally from Patheos.com-Standing On My Head

Editors note:  Pope Francis prays the 15 decade rosary on a daily basis!

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16 comments to “Francis, Re-Build My Chuch!”

  • Martin

    Dear Fr,

    In listing the attributes of St. Pope Pius V I noticed two quite glaring ommissions. The first one being that Pope Pius V is in fact a canonized saint of the Church; the second being that he is probably most notible for the promulgation of the Tridentine Latin Mass, also known as the Mass of all time.

    The significance of this second point may have been missed even though Pope Francis is not known to be a great lover of the Traditional Latin Mass, but nevertheless, his office as Supreme Roman Pontiff may well have made him reconsider in light of the now apparent crisis of faith brought upon the Church by the overnight imposition of the Novus Ordo Missae.

  • Bill

    Reading the Papal Tea Leaves
    By GEORGE NEUMAYR on 3.20.13 @ 6:10AM

    In what direction will the Church move under Pope Francis?

    “I was overwhelmed by joy,” said Hans Kung, the dissenting European theologian, in a radio interview after the elevation of Pope Francis. “There is hope in this man,” gushed Kung, who predicted that Pope Francis will conform to the progressive interpretation of Vatican II and not follow the “line of the two popes from Poland and Germany.”

    Leonardo Boff, one of the fathers of liberation theology, was quoted in the German press as saying that Francis is “more liberal” than commonly supposed.

    Cardinal Roger Mahony took to Twitter to proclaim that the Church would move from high church to “low” church under Francis: “So long Papal ermine and fancy lace!”

    The National Catholic Reporter approvingly quoted an unnamed Vatican diplomat as saying that “the Traditional Latin Mass brigade is finished.”

    Esteban Paulon, president of the Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals, told the Washington Post that Pope Francis is “known for being moderate” and when “he came out strongly against gay marriage, he did it under pressure from the conservatives.” According to Sergio Rubin, whom the Post calls his authorized biographer, Pope Francis initially “urged his bishops to lobby for gay civil unions” as an alternative to gay marriage.

    Benedict’s speech on Islam at the University of Regensburg didn’t sit well with Francis, according to the Telegraph in the United Kingdom. “These statements will serve to destroy in 20 seconds the careful construction of a relationship with Islam that Pope John Paul II built over the last twenty years,” it quotes him as saying.

    Reports on his compliance with Benedict’s authorization of wider use of the Traditional Latin Mass are conflicting, but it is safe to say that he was less than thrilled by it. According to columnist E.J. Dionne, “an American bishop noted that the choice of Francis would not be greeted as a clear victory by conservatives,” since on “liturgical issues, he has opposed those who seek to roll back changes instituted by the Second Vatican Council.”

    The picture that is forming of Pope Francis from all these bits and pieces is not that of a Ratzingerian restorationist but of a centrist prelate whose theological views, tone, and emphases are characteristic of the post-Vatican II period. He is no Hans Kung. He is too pro-life and Marian for that level of theological conjecture. But it is a stretch to think that he shares Benedict’s rigorous critique of the crisis within the Church and the modern world. There is a reason why the progressive bloc within the previous conclave saw him as a desirable alternative to Ratzinger.

    It was telling that Pope Francis in his first address from the papal window pointed to Cardinal Walter Kasper as a theologian whom he admires. Kasper is known for his hyper-ecumenism and taste for theological novelty.

    “We are on good terms with the Archbishop of Canterbury and as much as we can we are helping him to keep the Anglican community together,” Kasper said in 2010, referring to a group of disaffected conservative Anglicans that wanted to join the Catholic Church. “It’s not our policy to bring that many Anglicans to Rome.”

    Apparently Kasper and Francis agreed on this issue. Greg Venable, an Anglican prelate in Latin America, has told the press that the future pope “called me to have breakfast with him one morning and told me very clearly that the Ordinariate was quite unnecessary and that the Church needs us as Anglicans.”

    Francis has the benevolent and winning personality of John Paul II and the humility of Benedict (though his took a less celebrated form), but his theological views mark him out as more centrist than his two predecessors. They attributed the collapse of Catholic institutions largely to a misapplication of Vatican II. Referring to the liturgy, Benedict spoke of the need for a “reform of the reform.” Francis appears happy enough with the first reform.

    Francis’s papacy may not so much move the Church into the future as back to the recent past, circa 1970. Quarrels over the proper interpretation of Vatican II are more likely to explode than end. Emboldened liberal bishops under him may seek a reform of the “reform of the reform,” and they may push for a revisiting of settled moral, theological, and disciplinary stances. None of this repositioning will take place at the level of official teaching but at the murkier levels of tone, emphasis, and appointment.

    That the Catholic left considers his election a shot in the arm can’t be chalked up simply to projection. There are enough nuances here to give them hope. They believe that this is their moment to try to undo the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict and return to the casual, informal, and spontaneous liturgical spirit of the 1970s while reviving a more poll-friendly situational ethics. Tweeted Mahony: “Don’t you feel the new energy, and being shared with one another?”

    Hans Kung accepts that Pope Francis can’t adapt to “everything” in the modern world, but just hopes the general trajectory of his pontificate will be progressive. In Pope Francis’s apparent emphasis on individual conscience (he dispensed with the traditional spoken papal blessing when speaking to journalists last Saturday on the grounds that some of them weren’t Catholic or believers), toned-down morality, and Seamless Garment-style prioritizing of poverty, peace, and the environment, Kung and company see a pope with whom they can at long last “dialogue.”

  • Bill


    If I’m not mistaken, Vatican II and all Vatican Councils are part of the teaching authority of the Church, the Magisterium. Are you saying they got it wrong? Also, I’d like to see some data that proves that folks were ousted from the HRC because of Vatican II.


    Nuns should get back into their habits, to be like the brides of Christ that they are, and through the color black, show that they are dead to the world but alive ib Christ.

    Nowadays many people people are wearing black, as if they were going to a funeral. What happened to the bright colors of the past? Satan is behind this of course, to mock the black garb of priests, nuns, and bishops. It is he who inbtroduces ‘fashion’ and to be ‘cool’ however grotesque it may be.

    This is a big issue–they took vows, and some are purposefully breaking them.

    Blessed be our new Pope Francis, may the Blessed Virgin pray for him and Our Lord bless, guide and protect him.

  • Br. Christopher Sale

    Not yet. What I’ve noticed about Archbishop Gomez is that he’s a good man but very slow at making changes. The Gay and lesbian ministries (founded by Roger Mahony) should be having their annual anniversary mass soon. I will be there to see if they do it again.
    I complained to the Archbishop last year, so hopefully the flag is gone this year.

  • Andy

    I agree about the gay flag has nothing to do with the Mass. I was talking about Rachel saying Vatican II disaster. A Pope that is God’s person on Earth made a mistake.

  • TG

    Br. Christopher, is the gay flag in Los Angeles still going on? I would thought Archbishop Gomez would have done something about that by now. This just disturbs me on so many levels.

  • Br. Christopher Sale

    For Andy, no I’m talking about Bishops and priest allowing gays to march into our church carrying the gay flag. And sometimes using the flag for altar covers, which is a common practice in Los Angeles. This needs to stop.

  • Rachel

    It would be nice if he would UNITE ALL CATHOLICS who have been OUSTED by VATICAN II novelties and any others who have bn ousted UNJUSTLY because they would not go along with VATICAN II DISASTER!

  • Andy

    The gay agenda? Dress?

  • Br. Christopher Sale

    He not only needs to clean up the church he needs to crack down on Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden. He also needs to clean out the gay agenda. If our religious can’t dress and act like religious they need to go.

  • Diane

    I pray that Pope Francis will rebuild the Church but I also think he needs to ask for the protection from St. Michael the Archangel,and re-instate the St. Michael Prayer and Hail Mary’s after EVERY Mass and in every Catholic institution.

    St. Michael was the first protector of the Church,and in the New Testament it was the Blessed Ever Virgin Mary. Pope Francis called on them both and St.Peter and Paul.Let us in the Church, be lead by our priests and bishops to pray these prayers once again at the end of every Mass, 3 Hail Mary’s and a St. Michael prayer just as they did Pre-Vatican II.
    God Bless,
    “Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good.”
    ~ Pope Leo XIII (Sapientae Christianae, No. 14, encyclical, 1890)
    “Catholics were born for combat”
    ~Pope Leo XIII (Rerum Novarum)
    “I am not afraid…I was born to do this.”
    ~ Joan of Arc

  • John

    This article seems to border on hysteria. It’s 90% pure speculation by the author. Nice speculation, optimistic hopes, but really – to conclude all this from a visit to St. Pius V?

    Does anyone else see the elephant in the chapel? The most important and most lasting and most reforming aspect of Pius the V’s papacy was not excommunicating the Queen or the Battle of Lepanto. It was the Council of Trent…and we all know what that means.

    Pope Francis needs another conversion experience like he had with JP2 and the Rosary, if he is going to really sweep out the Smoke of Satan.

  • Bill

    I hope he’s another John XXIII.

  • TG

    Father, I hope he does cleans up the curia, excommunicate heretical bishops, and cleans up the immorality in the church. God bless him and our Lady protect him.

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