Francis the Augustinian

Sandro Magister has an interesting post that comments on the homilies of Pope Francis. He quotes the Italian journalist, Stefania Falasca, who had interviewed the then Cardinal Bergoglio. Magister writes:

In an April 23 editorial in the newspaper of the Italian episcopal conference, "Avvenire," Falasca compared the oratory of Pope Francis to the "sermo humilis" theorized by St. Augustine.Pope Bergoglio is also introducing this style into his official homilies and discourses. For example, in the homily for the Chrism Mass of Holy Thursday, in St. Peter's Basilica, he made a very striking exhortation to the pastors of the Church, bishops and priests, to take on the odor of the sheep.Another typical feature of his preaching is interacting with the crowd, getting it to respond in chorus. He did so for the first time and repeatedly at the Regina Coeli" of Sunday, April 21, for example when he said: Thank you very much for the greeting, but you should also greet Jesus. Yell 'Jesus' loud!" And the cry of "Jesus" in fact went up from St. Peter's Square.

Magister wonders whether Francis' popular style leads some to neglect the content of some of his remarks:

The popularity of Pope Francis is due to a large extent to this style of preaching and to the easy, widespread success of the concepts on which he insists the most - mercy, forgiveness, the poor, the peripheries - seen reflected in his actions and in his own person.It is a popularity that acts as a screen for the other more inconvenient things that he does not neglect to say - for example, his frequent references to the devil - and that if said by others would unleash criticism, while for him they are forgiven.In effect, the media have so far covered up with indulgent silence not only the references of the current pope to the devil, but also a whole series of other pronouncements on points of doctrine as controversial as they are essential.

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

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