March 2013 Evangelization Exchange – Papal Qualities

12 Papal Qualities

Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP


PopeWith so many pundits going off about the next pope, it might be an interesting exercise to ask: what if the basic criterion for the next pope was evangelization.  What kind of qualities would a pope like this have?

  1. He would build his ministry on the foundations laid by the Synod on the New Evangelization of 2012, emphasizing those elements which speak to our situation today.
  2. He would talk in relational language more than institutional language. He is not the “head” of a “universal church” so much as the servant who helps Catholics and all believers articulate their relationship with God today.
  3. He would drag the church from a “classroom” model of religious education into a “formation” model of religious education.
  4. He would emphasize the right and duty that all Catholics have to share their faith with others, encouraging universal small-groups in every parish, on every continent, and broadening the mandate for competent preachers.
  5. He would direct his Pontifical Council on the New Evangelization to stimulate the creation of numerous innovative methods to reach people today, emphasizing the electronic world in which we live.
  6. He would speak regularly about the dynamic quality of outreach that comes from the Holy Spirit.
  7. He would issue regular, heart-felt, unscripted invitations for all Christians to seek reunion, and all Catholics to renew their faith in a personal and intense way. He would charge all pastors with the primary aim of promoting a renewal of faith through ongoing encounters with the God of Jesus Christ.
  8. He would help extend the ministry of reconciliation offered through tribunals by streamlining and making more clearly pastoral the annulment process today.
  9. He would also call a commission of experienced pastors to look at the continued reformation of the Sacrament of Reconciliation to make the celebration of this sacrament more viable today.
  10. He would speak to the modern world from the framework of Gaudium et Spes, seeking to avoid any impression that the church and the world were inherently opposed to each other.
  11. He would talk discipleship from day one until his final days, until Catholics understood that we are primarily disciples with deep personal commitment.
  12. He would call a commission of experienced pastors, youth ministers, and moral theologians to explore how to help young people live given the sexual realities of today.