A blog by the magazine's editors and contributors


Francis in Rio

The man is indefatigable. Yesterday he added to the already full schedule a meeting with young people from Argentina in the Cathedral. He told them to "make noise!" Not only in Rio, but on returning home. Go forth to the peripheries, but only if rooted in the Center: Christ and his cross.

Faith in Jesus Christ is not a joke, it is something very serious.  It is a scandal that God came to be one of us.  It is a scandal that he died on a cross.  It is a scandal: the scandal of the Cross.  The Cross continues to provoke scandal.  But it is the one sure path, the path of the Cross, the path of Jesus, the path of the Incarnation of Jesus.  Please do not water down your faith in Jesus Christ.  We dilute fruit drinks – orange, apple, or banana juice, but please do not drink a diluted form of faith.  Faith is whole and entire, not something that you water down.  It is faith in Jesus.  It is faith in the Son of God made man, who loved me and who died for me.

Otherwise the noise will only be a clanging cymbal. His remarks are here.

Then in the evening at the opening Mass he said in his homily:

Today, it would be good for all of us to ask ourselves sincerely: in whom do we place our trust? In ourselves, in material things, or in Jesus? We all have the temptation often to put ourselves at the centre, to believe that we are the axis of the universe, to believe that we alone build our lives or to think that our life can only be happy if built on possessions, money, or power. But we all know that it is not so. Certainly, possessions, money and power can give a momentary thrill, the illusion of being happy, but they end up possessing us and making us always want to have more, never satisfied. And we end up “full”, but not nourished, and it is very sad to see young people “full”, but weak. Young people must be strong, nourished by the faith and not filled with other things! “Put on Christ” in your life, place your trust in him and you will never be disappointed! You see how faith accomplishes a revolution in us, one which we can call Copernican; it removes us from the centre and puts God at the centre; faith immerses us in his love and gives us security, strength, and hope. Seemingly, nothing has changed; yet, in the depths of our being, everything is different. With God, peace, consolation, gentleness, courage, serenity and joy, which are all fruits of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22), find a home in our heart; then our very being is transformed; our way of thinking and acting is made new, it becomes Jesus’ own, God’s own, way of thinking and acting. Dear friends, faith is revolutionary and today I ask you: are you open to entering into this revolutionary wave of faith? Only by entering into this wave will your young lives make sense and so be fruitful!

About the Author

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.



Commenting Guidelines

  • All

"indefatiguable", not just in the density of his schedule but also in his words, full of energy. I am struck by our well-suited his style is to the youth: tugging at their idealism and enthusiasm, asking them to be revolutionaries, insisting on the radical message of Christianity. Promising, not that they will not run into trouble, but that it's worth it. Very inspirational, especially for this crowd,

There is no talk of prudence, of submitting to authority, of carefully following the wisdom of tradition - although there is a lengthy mention of the elderly and of not casting them aside: is that a crafty, indirect way to lead people to an appreciation of tradition? Is that teaching subtly about the spirit of tradition so that it does not all seem like a burden? Is his homage to Benedict part of that link to the not-to-be-forgotten elderly ones? I am admiring the clever way in which he may be sowing the seeds of respect for Tradition among a group of people who are maybe not so keen on the idea.

I am also struck by how universal his message is, how centered it is on Christ. In this talk there is no mention of the sacraments. In his homily there is a paragraph, but it seems to me to be a light touch. Can't his words be almost all subscribed to not just by Catholics but by all Christians? Isn't his message, bypassing divisions and focusing on what unites us, the sort that we could hope for from who could be a leader for all of Christianity?

Finally, how lovable he is. He comes there not just to give but to receive; the youth give him strength. He wishes they were not penned in. He sounds so human, so real!

No talk of submitting to authority -- but the insistence on not diluting the faith could cover the ongoing activities of the CDF, still in safe Ratzingerian hands. Francis is a great pastoral pope, but I do not think he will encourage questioning of church teaching, and I think any structural reforms he undertakes will be very prudent.

This Pope does seem extraordinarily productive.  I hope he makes connecting with youth one of his priorities. It seems to me, in struggling dioceses here in the US, youth ministries too often get cut.  And one the parish level, how much of a priority is it? We have a parochical school in my parish, but we don't have any parish youth programs, which  I think is a mistake. 

"indefatigable".  I hope I have that kind of energy when I'm 76.  You see that sometimes with religious sisters; some elderly ones will tell you they're "retired" but they're doing things that add up to more than a full time job. Makes you wonder what they were doing when they weren't "retired". 

Basically, Pope Francis is preaching what he understands to be the spirit of the early Jesuit missionaries who went out to the peripheries (from the viewpoint of the Old World). As he knows, he just happens to be preaching in one of the periphery places where early Jesuit missionaries went.

Even if the cardinals-electors did not see the movie "The Mission" commemorating the work of the early Jesuit missionaries in Latin America, they must have understood the historical symbolism of electing a Jesuit from Latin America to be the pope.

The official Vatican translation of this talk has Francis telling the youth to "make a noise." Other news media report him saying to "make a mess." Anyone know what the best translation is of what he actually said? Is this an example of the curia trying to "soften" his message?


I wondered as well. The Italian is "chiasso" which I would translate as "racket" -- so "make a racket."

The Spanish (undoubtedly the original) is "lio" which seems to be stronger: "trouble" or "mess."

But those more familiar with Spanish may be able to help here. Also I wonder whether the sense of the word may vary from one Spanish-speaking country to another -- Argentina, Mexico?

Add new comment

You may login with your assigned e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.

Or log in with...

Add new comment