12 Papal Qualities
Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP
With 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- He would drag the church from a “classroom” model of religious education into a “formation” model of religious education.
- 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.
- 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.
- He would speak regularly about the dynamic quality of outreach that comes from the Holy Spirit.
- 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.
- He would help extend the ministry of reconciliation offered through tribunals by streamlining and making more clearly pastoral the annulment process today.
- 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.
- 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.
- He would talk discipleship from day one until his final days, until Catholics understood that we are primarily disciples with deep personal commitment.
- 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.