Pope Francis has dominated headlines and become a global spiritual rock star since his election on March 13. The 77-year old Argentine Jesuit is making waves by challenging Catholic leaders to build a "church for the poor," urging the hierarchy not to be "obsessed" with a few hot-button issues and challenging "trickle-down" economic theories. In a sign of his unlikely widespread appeal, Pope Francis was named Person of the Year by Time magazine and The Advocate, America's oldest magazine for the LGBT community.
This is surely one of the most quotable Vicars of Christ in memory. Here are my favorites.
1. "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" -- Interview aboard the Papal Plane after World Youth Day in Brazil.
2. "A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: "Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?" We must always consider the person. -- Interview with Jesuit Catholic journals around the world.
3. "We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context...We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel." -- Interview with Jesuit Catholic journals around the world.
4. "Just as the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say "thou shalt not" to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?" -- Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel.
5. "Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system." --- Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel
6. "Those who today always look for disciplinarian solutions, those who long for an exaggerated doctrinal "security," those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists -- they have a static and inward-directed view of things. In this way, faith becomes an ideology among other ideologies. I have a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person's life. God is in everyone's life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else -- God is in this person's life." -- Interview with Jesuit Catholic journals around the world.
7. "In the delicate task of carrying out inquiries for episcopal appointments be careful that the candidates are pastors close to the people, fathers and brothers, that they are gentle, patient and merciful; animated by inner poverty, the freedom of the Lord and also by outward simplicity and austerity of life, that they do not have the psychology of princes." Address to papal nuncios.
8. "One of the more serious temptations which stifles boldness and zeal is a defeatism which turns us into querulous and disillusioned pessimists, sourpusses." -- Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel
9. "Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside itself and go to those who do not attend Mass, to those who have quit or are indifferent. The ones who quit sometimes do it for reasons that, if properly understood and assessed, can lead to a return. But that takes audacity and courage." -- Interview with Jesuit Catholic journals around the world
10. "A good Catholic doesn't meddle in politics.' That's not true. That is not a good path. A good Catholic meddles in politics." (Morning homily at the Pope's residence, Casa Santa Marta.)