Thursday, March 13, 2014

"Someone Was Waiting For Me... And Something Changed In Me" – Francis Gives Witness... and A Manifesto to the Church

(Originally published 24 May 2013.)

Lest anyone missed this earlier in the week, given the ongoing festival of bread and circuses – read: "atheists and 'exorcisms'" – elsewhere, those who take the time to read and listen with a degree of depth will find that the substance of these days is a good bit more interesting... and it's actual news, to boot.

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On the Vigil of Pentecost, before a crowd of more than 200,000 in St Peter's Square and halfway down the Via della Conciliazione, the 266th Pope gave the Church what, in essence, would prove to be his first encyclical.

For close readers, a good number of the points are already well-familiar – Papa Francesco tends to recycle content far more eagerly and often than his predecessors, but does so that the message might be unmistakable and impossible to avoid. Still, in a 38-minute, mostly off-the-cuff response to several questions put to him – a nod to the teaching format in which his predecessor famously shone – starting from his own conversion story, Jorge Bergoglio laid out the full spread of his impressions on the state of the church, and his vision for the road ahead, tying together in the process the threads which have marked his two months on Peter's chair.

Even if English summaries of the talk are around, these last ten weeks should've already made more than clear that the magic or "secret" of Francis isn't something that can be fully, nor even duly, communicated in the printed word. Instead, it lies in a humanity which fuels a delivery, one whose gestures, cadences, emblematic lines and emphases – irrespective of language – have spoken to and touched a far deeper and more universal nerve.

Given the significance of the address and the way it was given, it's best to hear this straight from the horse's mouth... ergo, here's fullvideo of the message, layered over with audio of its real-time English translation by Vatican Radio: