Excerpts from All the Audiences, Homilies, Letters, Messages, and Speeches of the New Holy Father, up until Easter Sunday
- "Pray for me and until we meet again. We will see each other soon. Tomorrow I wish to go and pray to Our Lady, that she may watch over all of Rome. Good night and sleep well!" (First greeting of the Holy Father Pope Francis - Apostolic Blessing 'Urbi et Orbi' (13 March 2013))
- "We can walk as much as we want, we can build many things, but if we do not profess Jesus Christ, things go wrong. We may become a charitable NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of the Lord.... When we do not profess Jesus Christ, the saying of Léon Bloy comes to mind: 'Anyone who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil.' When we do not profess Jesus Christ, we profess the worldliness of the devil, a demonic worldliness....When we journey without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord, we are worldly: we may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord. My wish is that all of us, after these days of grace, will have the courage, yes, the courage, to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Lord’s Cross; to build the Church on the Lord’s blood which was poured out on the Cross; and to profess the one glory: Christ crucified. And in this way, the Church will go forward" (14 March 2013: Holy Mass with the Cardinal electors).
- "From every corner of the earth fervent prayers have been offered up by the Christian people for the new Pope, and my first encounter with the thronging crowd in Saint Peter’s Square was deeply moving....My thoughts turn with great affection and profound gratitude to my venerable Predecessor Benedict XVI, who enriched and invigorated the Church during the years of his Pontificate by his teaching, his goodness, his leadership, his faith, his humility and his meekness. All this remains as a spiritual patrimony for us all. The Petrine ministry, lived with total dedication, found in him a wise and humble exponent, his gaze always firmly on Christ, the risen Christ, present and alive in the Eucharist. We will always accompany him with fervent prayers, with constant remembrance, with undying and affectionate gratitude. We feel that Benedict XVI has kindled a flame deep within our hearts: a flame that will continue to burn because it will be fed by his prayers, which continue to sustain the Church on her spiritual and missionary path....The Paraclete creates all the differences among the Churches, almost as if he were an Apostle of Babel. But on the other hand, it is he who creates unity from these differences, not in 'equality', but in harmony....Let us never yield to pessimism, to that bitterness that the devil offers us every day; let us not yield to pessimism or discouragement: let us be quite certain that the Holy Spirit bestows upon the Church, with his powerful breath, the courage to persevere and also to seek new methods of evangelization, so as to bring to Gospel to the uttermost ends of the earth (cf. Acts 1:8). Christian truth is attractive and persuasive because it responds to the profound need of human life, proclaiming convincingly that Christ is the one Saviour of the whole man and of all men....I entrust my ministry and your ministry to the powerful intercession of Mary, our Mother, Mother of the Church" (Audience with the College of Cardinals (15 March 2013)).
- "I am particularly grateful to those who viewed and presented these events of the Church’s history in a way which was sensitive to the right context in which they need to be read, namely that of faith.... Christ is the Church’s Pastor, but his presence in history passes through the freedom of human beings; from their midst one is chosen to serve as his Vicar, the Successor of the Apostle Peter. Yet Christ remains the centre, not the Successor of Peter: Christ, Christ is the centre....Your work calls for careful preparation, sensitivity and experience, like so many other professions, but it also demands a particular concern for what is true, good and beautiful.....That is how the name came into my heart: Francis of Assisi. For me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation....How I would like a Church which is poor and for the poor!....people were joking with me. 'But you should call yourself Hadrian, because Hadrian VI was the reformer, we need a reform…' And someone else said to me: 'No, no: your name should be Clement'. 'But why?' 'Clement XV: thus you pay back Clement XIV who suppressed the Society of Jesus!'....I commend you to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of Evangelization, and with cordial good wishes for you and your families, each of your families. I cordially impart to all of you my blessing" (Audience with the media representatives (16 March 2013)).
- "I warmly thank you for this sign of esteem and closeness. I reciprocate with pleasure, while I ask the Lord to enlighten and accompany all Jesuits so that — faithful to the charism they have received and in the footsteps of the saints of our beloved Order — with their pastoral action, and above all with the witness of a life dedicated without reserve to serving the Church, Bride of Christ — they may be a Gospel leaven in the world, tirelessly seeking the glory of God and the good of souls. With these sentiments I ask all the Jesuits to pray for me and to commend me to the loving protection of the Virgin Mary, our Mother in heaven. As a pledge of abundant divine graces, with special affection I impart the Apostolic Blessing, which I extend to all those who collaborate with the Society of Jesus in their activities, so that they may benefit from its good works and share in its spirituality" (Letter to the Superior General of the Society of Jesus (16 March 2013)).
- "I think we too are the people who, on the one hand want to listen to Jesus, but on the other hand, at times, like to find a stick to beat others with, to condemn others. And Jesus has this message for us: mercy. I think – and I say it with humility – that this is the Lord’s most powerful message: mercy....It is not easy to entrust oneself to God’s mercy, because it is an abyss beyond our comprehension. But we must!....The Lord never tires of forgiving: never! It is we who tire of asking his forgiveness. Let us ask for the grace not to tire of asking forgiveness, because he never tires of forgiving. Let us ask for this grace" (17 March 2013: Holy Mass in the Parish of St. Anna in the Vatican).
- "This is beautiful and important for us Christians: to meet on Sundays, to greet each other, to speak to each other as we are doing now, in the square. A square which, thanks to the media, has global dimensions. On this Fifth Sunday of Lent, the Gospel presents to us the episode of the adulterous woman (cf. Jn 8:1-11), whom Jesus saves from being condemned to death. Jesus' attitude is striking: we do not hear words of scorn, we do not hear words of condemnation, but only words of love, of mercy, which are an invitation to conversion....He never tires of forgiving, but at times we get tired of asking for forgiveness. Let us never tire, let us never tire! He is the loving Father who always pardons, who has that heart of mercy for us all. And let us too learn to be merciful to everyone. Let us invoke the intercession of Our Lady who held in her arms the Mercy of God made man. Let us now all pray the Angelus together" (Angelus, 17 March 2013).
- "Please be assured of my prayers as you take up your new responsibilities, and I ask you to pray for me as I respond to the new call that the Lord has addressed to me. I look forward to meeting you in the near future, and to continuing the warm fraternal relations that our predecessors enjoyed" (Message of Pope Francis to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on the occasion of the ceremony of enthronement [21 March 2013] (18 March 2013)).
- "I thank the Lord that I can celebrate this Holy Mass for the
inauguration of my Petrine ministry on the solemnity of Saint Joseph....In the Gospel we heard that 'Joseph did as the angel of the Lord
commanded him and took Mary as his wife' (Mt 1:24)....In him, dear
friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we
also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect
Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect
creation! The vocation of being a 'protector', however, is not just something
involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply
human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the
created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi
showed us....In the second reading, Saint Paul speaks of Abraham, who, 'hoping
against hope, believed' (Rom 4:18). Hoping against hope! Today too,
amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women
who bring hope to others. To protect creation, to protect every man and every
woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of
hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to
bring the warmth of hope!....To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly. Let us protect with love all that God has given us!" (19 March 2013: Mass for the inauguration of the Pontificate)
- "It is a source of particular joy for me to meet today with you, the delegates of the Orthodox Churches, of the Oriental Orthodox Churches and of the Ecclesial Communities of the West. I thank you for taking part in the celebration which marked the beginning of my ministry as the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Peter. Yesterday morning, during Holy Mass, through you I felt the spiritual presence of the communities which you represent. In this expression of faith, it seemed that we were experiencing all the more urgently the prayer for unity between believers in Christ and at the same time seeing prefigured in some way its full realization, which depends on God’s plan and our own faithful cooperation. I begin my apostolic ministry during this year which my venerable predecessor Benedict XVI, with truly inspired intuition, proclaimed for the Catholic Church as a Year of Faith. With this initiative, which I wish to continue and which I trust will prove a stimulus for our common journey of faith, he wanted to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council by proposing a sort of pilgrimage towards what all Christians consider essential: the personal, transforming encounter with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died and rose for our salvation. The core message of the Council is found precisely in the desire to proclaim this perennially valid treasure of faith to the men and women of our time....The more we are faithful to his will, in our thoughts, words and actions, the more we will progress, really and substantially, towards unity....in continuity with my predecessors, it is my firm intention to pursue the path of ecumenical dialogue, and I thank the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity for the help that it continues to provide, in my name, in the service of this most noble cause....And now I turn to you, the distinguished representatives of the Jewish people, to whom we are linked by a most special spiritual bond....I thank you for your presence and I trust that, with the help of the Most High, we can make greater progress in that fraternal dialogue which the Council wished to encourage (cf. ibid.) and which has indeed taken place, bearing no little fruit, especially in recent decades. I also greet and cordially thank all of you, dear friends who are followers of other religious traditions; first Muslims, who worship God as one, living and merciful, and invoke him in prayer, and all of you. I greatly appreciate your presence: in it, I see a tangible sign of a will to grow in mutual esteem and in cooperation for the common good of humanity.....The Church is likewise conscious of the responsibility which all of us have for our world, for the whole of creation, which we must love and protect....before all else we need to keep alive in our world the thirst for the absolute, and to counter the dominance of a one-dimensional vision of the human person, a vision which reduces human beings to what they produce and to what they consume: this is one of the most insidious temptations of our time. We know how much violence has resulted in recent times from the attempt to eliminate God and the divine from the horizon of humanity, and we are aware of the importance of witnessing in our societies to that primordial openness to transcendence which lies deep within the human heart. In this, we also sense our closeness to all those men and women who, although not identifying themselves as followers of any religious tradition, are nonetheless searching for truth, goodness and beauty, the truth, goodness and beauty of God. They are our valued allies in the commitment to defending human dignity, in building a peaceful coexistence between peoples and in safeguarding and caring for creation" (Audience with Representatives of the Churches and Ecclesial Communities, and of the Different Religions (20 March 2013)).
- "It gives me joy to welcome you for this exchange of greetings: a simple yet deeply felt ceremony, that somehow seeks to express the Pope’s embrace of the world. Through you, indeed, I encounter your peoples, and thus in a sense I can reach out to every one of your fellow citizens, with their joys, their troubles, their expectations, their desires....there are various reasons why I chose the name of Francis of Assisi, a familiar figure far beyond the borders of Italy and Europe, even among those who do not profess the Catholic faith. One of the first reasons was Francis’ love for the poor. How many poor people there still are in the world!....But there is another form of poverty! It is the spiritual poverty of our time, which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously. It is what my much-loved predecessor, Benedict XVI, called the 'tyranny of relativism', which makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples. And that brings me to a second reason for my name. Francis of Assisi tells us we should work to build peace. But there is no true peace without truth!....It is not possible to build bridges between people while forgetting God. But the converse is also true: it is not possible to establish true links with God, while ignoring other people. Hence it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions, and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam.... And it is also important to intensify outreach to non-believers, so that the differences which divide and hurt us may never prevail, but rather the desire to build true links of friendship between all peoples, despite their diversity. Fighting poverty, both material and spiritual, building peace and constructing bridges: these, as it were, are the reference points for a journey that I want to invite each of the countries here represented to take up. But it is a difficult journey, if we do not learn to grow in love for this world of ours. Here too, it helps me to think of the name of Francis, who teaches us profound respect for the whole of creation and the protection of our environment, which all too often, instead of using for the good, we exploit greedily, to one another’s detriment" (To the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See (22 March 2013)).
- "Today in this Square, there are many young people: for twenty-eight years Palm Sunday has been World Youth Day!....Young people must say to the world: to follow Christ is good; to go with Christ is good; the message of Christ is good; emerging from ourselves, to the ends of the earth and of existence, to take Jesus there, is good! Three points, then: joy, Cross, young people" (24 March 2013: Palm Sunday - 28th World Youth Day).
- "At the end of this celebration, we invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary, that she may accompany us during Holy Week. May she, who followed her Son with faith all the way to Calvary, help us to walk behind him, carrying his Cross with serenity and love, so as to attain the joy of Easter. May Our Lady of Sorrows support especially those who are experiencing difficult situations. My thoughts turn to the people afflicted with tuberculosis, as today is the World Day against this disease. To Mary I entrust especially you, dear young people, and your path towards Rio de Janeiro" (Angelus, 24 March 2013, Palm Sunday).
am pleased to welcome you to my first general audience. With deep
gratitude and veneration I am taking up the 'witness' from the hands of
my beloved predecessor, Benedict XVI. After Easter we will resume the
catechesis on the Year of Faith. Today I would like to focus a little on
Holy Week. With Palm Sunday we began this week - the center of the
whole liturgical year - in which we accompany Jesus in His Passion,
Death and Resurrection....
"Living Holy Week following Jesus not only with the emotions of the heart; living Holy Week following Jesus means learning how to come out of ourselves - as I said on Sunday - to reach out to others, to go to the outskirts of existence, to be the first to move towards our brothers and sisters, especially those who are most distant, those who are forgotten, those who are most in need of understanding, consolation and help. There is so much need to bring the living presence of Jesus, merciful and full of love!
"Living Holy Week means increasingly entering into God's logic, the logic of the Cross, which is not first of all that of pain and death, but of love and of self-giving that brings life. It means entering into the logic of the Gospel. Following, accompanying Christ, remaining with Him requires....Stepping outside of ourselves, of a tired and routine way of living the faith, of the temptation to withdraw into pre-established patterns that end up closing our horizon to the creative action of God. God stepped outside of Himself to come among us, He pitched His tent among us to bring the mercy of God that saves and gives hope. Even if we want to follow Him and stay with Him, we must not be content to remain in the enclosure of the ninety-nine sheep, we have to 'step outside', to search for the lost sheep together with Him, the one furthest away. Remember well: stepping outside of ourselves, like Jesus, like God has stepped outside of Himself in Jesus and Jesus stepped outside of Himself for all of us....
"Often we settle for a few prayers, a distracted and inconsistent presence at Sunday Mass, a random act of charity, but we lack this courage to 'step outside' to bring Christ. We are a bit like St. Peter. As soon as Jesus speaks of the Passion, Death and Resurrection, of self-giving, of love for all, the Apostle takes him aside and rebukes him. What Jesus says upsets his plans, seems unacceptable, undermines the sense of security that he had built up, his idea of the Messiah. And Jesus looks at the disciples and addresses Peter with perhaps one of the strongest words of the Gospel: 'Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do'(Mk 8:33). God always thinks with mercy: do not forget this. God always thinks with mercy: our merciful Father. God thinks like a father who awaits the return of his child and goes to meet him, sees him come when he is still far away ... What does this mean? That each and every day he went out to see if his son was coming home. This is our merciful Father. It is the sign that he was waiting for him from the terrace of his house; God thinks like the Samaritan that does not approach the victim to commiserate with him, or look the other way, but to rescue him without asking for anything in return, without asking if he was Jew, if he was pagan, a Samaritan, rich or poor: he does not ask anything. He does not ask these things, he asks for nothing. He goes to his aid: This is how God thinks. God thinks like the shepherd who gives his life to defend and save his sheep.
"Holy Week is a time of grace which the Lord gifts us to open the doors of our hearts, our lives, our parishes - what a pity, so many parishes are closed! - in our parishes, movements, associations, and to 'step outside' towards others, to draw close to them so we can bring the light and joy of our faith. Always step outside yourself! And with the love and tenderness of God, with respect and patience, knowing that we put our hands, our feet, our hearts, but then it is God who guides them and makes all our actions fruitful" (General Audience, 27 March 2013).
- "A good priest can be recognized by the way his people are anointed: this is a clear proof. When our people are anointed with the oil of gladness, it is obvious: for example, when they leave Mass looking as if they have heard good news. Our people like to hear the Gospel preached with 'unction', they like it when the Gospel we preach touches their daily lives....People thank us because they feel that we have prayed over the realities of their everyday lives, their troubles, their joys, their burdens and their hopes. And when they feel that the fragrance of the Anointed One, of Christ, has come to them through us, they feel encouraged to entrust to us everything they want to bring before the Lord: 'Pray for me, Father, because I have this problem', 'Bless me Father', 'Pray for me' – these words are the sign that the anointing has flowed down to the edges of the robe, for it has turned into a prayer of supplication, the supplication of the People of God. When we have this relationship with God and with his people, and grace passes through us, then we are priests, mediators between God and men. What I want to emphasize is that we need constantly to stir up God’s grace and perceive in every request, even those requests that are inconvenient and at times purely material or downright banal – but only apparently so – the desire of our people to be anointed with fragrant oil, since they know that we have it....We need to 'go out', then, in order to experience our own anointing, its power and its redemptive efficacy: to the 'outskirts' where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters. It is not in soul-searching or constant introspection that we encounter the Lord....the so-called crisis of priestly identity threatens us all and adds to the broader cultural crisis; but if we can resist its onslaught, we will be able to put out in the name of the Lord and cast our nets" (28 March 2013: Chrism Mass).
- "Now we will perform this ceremony of washing feet, and let us think, let each one of us think: 'Am I really willing, willing to serve, to help others?'. Let us think about this, just this. And let us think that this sign is a caress of Jesus, which Jesus gives, because this is the real reason why Jesus came: to serve, to help us" (28 March 2013: Mass of the Lord's Supper).
- "I do not wish to add too many words. One word should suffice this evening, that is the Cross itself. The Cross is the word through which God has responded to evil in the world. Sometimes it may seem as though God does not react to evil, as if he is silent. And yet, God has spoken, he has replied, and his answer is the Cross of Christ: a word which is love, mercy, forgiveness. It is also reveals a judgment, namely that God, in judging us, loves us. Let us remember this: God judges us by loving us. If I embrace his love then I am saved, if I refuse it, then I am condemned, not by him, but my own self, because God never condemns, he only loves and saves....the word of the Cross is also the answer which Christians offer in the face of evil, the evil that continues to work in us and around us. Christians must respond to evil with good, taking the Cross upon themselves as Jesus did....We now continue this Via Crucis in our daily lives. Let us walk together along the Way of the Cross and let us do so carrying in our hearts this word of love and forgiveness. Let us go forward waiting for the Resurrection of Jesus, who loves us so much. He is all love!" (Way of the Cross at the Colosseum (29 March 2013))
- "I join all of you gathered before the Holy Shroud, and I thank the Lord
who, through modern technology, offers us this possibility. Even if it takes place in this way, we do not merely 'look', but rather
we venerate by a prayerful gaze. I would go further: we are in fact looked upon
upon ourselves....How is it that the faithful, like you, pause before this
icon of a man scourged and crucified? It is because the Man of the Shroud
invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth....Let us therefore allow ourselves to be reached by this look, which is
directed not to our eyes but to our heart....By means of the Holy Shroud, the
unique and supreme Word of God comes to us: Love made man, incarnate in our
history; the merciful love of God who has taken upon himself all the evil of the
world to free us from its power. This disfigured face resembles all those faces
of men and women marred by a life which does not respect their dignity, by war
and violence which afflict the weakest… And yet, at the same time, the face in
the Shroud conveys a great peace; this tortured body expresses a sovereign
majesty. It is as if it let a restrained but powerful energy within it shine
through, as if to say: have faith, do not lose hope; the power of the love of
God, the power of the Risen One overcomes all things. So, looking upon the Man of the Shroud, I make my own the prayer which
Saint Francis of Assisi prayed before the Crucifix:
Most High, glorious God,
enlighten the shadows of my heart,
and grant me a right faith, a certain hope and perfect charity,
sense and understanding, Lord,
so that I may accomplish your holy and true command. Amen" (Ostension of the Holy Shroud - Video Message of His Holiness Pope Francis (Holy Saturday, 30 March 2013)).
- "something completely new and unexpected happens, something which upsets their hearts and their plans, something which will upset their whole life: they see the stone removed from before the tomb, they draw near and they do not find the Lord’s body. It is an event which leaves them perplexed, hesitant, full of questions....Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives!....there are no situations which God cannot change, there is no sin which he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him....let us return to the Gospel, to the women, and take one step further. They find the tomb empty, the body of Jesus is not there, something new has happened, but all this still doesn’t tell them anything certain: it raises questions; it leaves them confused, without offering an answer. And suddenly there are two men in dazzling clothes who say: 'Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; but has risen' (Lk 24:5-6). What was a simple act, done surely out of love – going to the tomb – has now turned into an event, a truly life-changing event. Nothing remains as it was before, not only in the lives of those women, but also in our own lives and in the history of mankind....And this is a message meant for me and for you dear sister, for you dear brother. How often does Love have to tell us: Why do you look for the living among the dead?....Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life!....To remember what God has done and continues to do for me, for us, to remember the road we have travelled; this is what opens our hearts to hope for the future. May we learn to remember everything that God has done in our lives" (30 March 2013: Easter Vigil).