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Tom Hoopes, editorial director of the Gregorian Institute and author of What Pope Francis Really Said: Words of Comfort and Challenge, gave a presentation on Nov. 17 called “Is the Pope Catholic? Answering Common Concerns About Francis” at Benedictine College. Benedictine College theologians Dr. Andrew Salzmann and Dr. Matthew Ramage were respondents. Here are 10 quotes form Hoopes’s presentation.
1: “I spent a year reading Pope Francis, and it was the hardest year of my life. It wasn’t that Pope Francis is hard to read — he’s not. It is just that he was really hard to read in 2015-2016, if you knew you had to write a book defending what he was saying.”
2: “’I wish I could just sit and watch this pontificate unfold instead of having to write about it!’ I complained to friends. ‘I don’t want to have to defend this guy.’”
3: “Whether we like it or not, we are supposed to defend the Pope. It’s part of our job description as Catholic lay people.”
4: “If you can’t exactly embrace what the pope says, at least decline to publicly undermine the things he says.”
5: “Catholics should not parrot the media’s misunderstandings of the Pope. When we do, we help ensure that the uninformed, dissenting version of what Pope Francis said becomes the definitive version of what Pope Francis said.”
6: “In the don’t ‘be like rabbits’ quote, Pope Francis wasn’t telling large Catholic families that they were being irresponsible. He was telling European secularists that the Church isn’t irresponsible.”
7: “One thing that became obvious in researching my book is that many of the problems people have with Pope Francis they should also have with Pope John Paul or Pope Benedict, too.”
8: “Many of his most shocking statements are not shocking at all, they are just Catechism quotes translated into everyday speech.”
9: “He had a powerful experience of Christ as a 17-year-old in the confessional, and to this day prays a Holy Hour and a full rosary every day. He told African children what he always carries in his pocket: A Way of the Cross and a rosary.”
10: “Pope Francis once said: ‘With these two things you have the action plan: the Beatitudes and Matthew 25. You do not need anything else.’ Laudato Sícan be read as a detailed, bold application of the Beatitudes to life in the technological age … And if we all committed ourselves totally to accomplishing the works of mercy the way Pope Francis has asked, we would transform the world.”
The Gregorian Institute is Benedictine College’s initiative to promote Catholic identity in public life by equipping leaders (the Gregorian speech digest), training leaders (the Gregorian Fellows), defending the faith (the Memorare Army for Religious Freedom), and celebrating Catholic identity (the Catholic Hall of Fame).