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Francis’ mercy-drenched vision

JESUIT Father Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica recently gave a talk at the University of Notre Dame titled “The Diplomacy and Geopolitics of Mercy: The World of Pope Francis.” We tend to think of mercy as a personal quality, and it is, but Spadaro sees it as a theme that also runs through the pope’s vision of politics and society.

“For Francis, mercy is not an abstract concept. It is the action of God within the life of this world: in societies, in human groups, in families and individuals,” he said. “God not only acts through the lives of individual people, but through the historical processes of peoples and nations. Even the most complex and intricate ones.”

Spadaro mentions the fact that the pope’s vision is, ultimately, the only one available to the sincere Christian: “The love typical of the Christian is not only love for the ‘neighbour,’ but also love for the ‘enemy.’ When we look at those doing evil through the eyes of pietas, then what triumphs is something that is humanly inexplicable — and perhaps also ‘scandalous.’ It is the intimate force of the Gospel of Christ: love of our enemies. This is the triumph of mercy.”

Francis recaptures the radicalness of the Gospel. He is so comfortable with the poor and the powerless because he is acquainted with God who is their champion. The poor are not confused by the image of crucified God: They grasp his closeness to them in that image. It is the powerful who should, like the centurion, quake before God’s revelation.

Spadaro spells out Francis’ mercy-drenched vision of a world in which no one and nothing is ever considered beyond hope or love, but as the lived reality to which we Christians are called by our baptism. – michael sean winters,, 13.10.2017

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