Pope Francis was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on the 17th December 1936, in Benor Aires, Argentina. He was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1969, subsequently becoming Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, a cardinal in 2001 and then Pope on the 13th March 2013, following Pope Benedict XVI stepping down from his role. Pope Francis was the first pope to come from outside of Europe in over 1200 years.
He is noted for his humility and commitment to the poor, refusing to live in the most lavish of papal accommodation, compared to previous Popes, as well as promoting interfaith dialogue and the concept that the message of God to the world should be one of welcome and transparency.
Pope Francis maintains many of the traditional views regarding abortion, marriage etc, but does take a more civil approach to oppose capitalism and consumerism, supporting the focus on climate change. He has also been active in using his position and the position of the church to support diplomacy, particularly where it helps refugees and those without many rights. Despite this more positive view of the Pope, he has also been dogged by criticism of the church and his own management of the sexual abuse cover-ups, that have plagued the church for many years.
Whether you’re a religious person, follow a different faith or disagree with the concept, Pope Francis’s quotations cannot help but intrigue, inspire or challenge opinions.
1. The media only writes about the sinners and the scandals, he said, but that’s normal, because ‘a tree that falls makes more noise than a forest that grows.
2. I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.
3. No one can grow if he does not accept his smallness.
4. God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.
5. It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.
6. 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?
7. The question of truth is really a question of memory, deep memory, for it deals with something prior to ourselves and can succeed in uniting us in a way that transcends our petty and limited individual consciousness. It is a question about the origin of all that is, in whose light we can glimpse the goal and thus the meaning of our common path.
8. 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. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life. Although the life of a person is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.
9. Situations can change; people can change. Be the first to seek to bring good. Do not grow accustomed to evil, but defeat it with good.
10. Living together is an art. It’s a patient art, it’s a beautiful art, it’s fascinating.
11. This is the struggle of every person: be free or be a slave.
12. Idolatry, then, is always polytheism, an aimless passing from one lord to another. Idolatry does not offer a journey but rather a plethora of paths leading nowhere and forming a vast labyrinth.
13. And here the first word that I wish to say to you: joy! Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy born of having many possessions, but of having encountered a Person: Jesus, in our midst.
14. Once man has lost the fundamental orientation which unifies his existence, he breaks down into the multiplicity of his desires; in refusing to await the time of promise, his life-story disintegrates into a myriad of unconnected instants.
15. Where there is truth, there is also light, but don’t confuse light with the flash.
16. Instead of imposing new obligations, (Christians) should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet.
17. We don’t have to expect everything from those who govern us; that would be juvenile.
18. If I’m not mistaken, Sigmund Freud said that in every idealisation there’s an aggression. Depicting the Pope as a sort of Superman, a star, is offensive to me. The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps calmly and has friends like everyone else. A normal person.
19. To be faithful, to be creative, we need to be able to change. To change! And why must I change? So that I can adapt to the situations in which I must proclaim the Gospel. To stay close to God, we need to know how to set out; we must not be afraid to set out.
20. Indifference is dangerous, whether innocent or not.
21. The most important thing in the life of every man and every woman is not that they should never fall along the way. The important thing is always to get back up, not to stay on the ground licking your wounds.
22. If we—all of us—accept the grace of Jesus Christ, he changes our heart and from sinners makes us saints. To become holy we do not need to turn our eyes away and look somewhere else, or have as it were the face on a holy card! No, no, that is not necessary. To become saints only one thing is necessary: to accept the grace that the Father gives us in Jesus Christ. There, this grace changes our heart. We continue to be sinners for we are weak, but with this grace which makes us feel that the Lord is good, that the Lord is merciful, that the Lord waits for us, that the Lord pardons us—this immense grace that changes our heart.
23. Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others.
24. The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ, all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.
25. If our hearts are closed, if our hearts are made of stone, the stones find their way into our hands and we are ready to throw them.
26. Nobody can go off to battle unless he is fully convinced of victory beforehand. If we start without confidence, we have already lost half the battle and we bury our talents. While painfully aware of our own frailties, we have to march on without giving in, keeping in mind what the Lord said to Saint Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). Christian triumph is always a cross, yet a cross which is at the same time a victorious banner borne with aggressive tenderness against the assaults of evil. The evil spirit of defeatism is brother to the temptation to separate, before its time, the wheat from the weeds; it is the fruit of an anxious and self-centred lack of trust.
27. God’s image is the married couple, a man and woman, together. Not just the man. Not just the woman. No, both of them. That’s God’s image.
28. Jesus on the cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God’s love he conquers it; he defeats it with his resurrection. This is the good that Jesus does for us on the throne of the cross. Christ’s cross, embraced with love, never leads to sadness, but to joy, to the joy of having been saved and of doing a little of what he did on the day of his death.
29. …I think that we succumb to attitudes that do not permit us to dialogue: domination, not knowing how to listen, annoyance in our speech, preconceived judgments and so many others.
30. Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs. – St John Chrysostom
31. No amount of ‘peace-building’ will be able to last, nor will harmony and happiness be attained, in a society that ignores, pushes to the margins, or excludes a part of itself; it loses something essential. We must never, never allow the throwaway culture to enter our hearts! … No one is disposable!
32. We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationships with other people. Every act of cruelty towards any creature is contrary to human dignity.
33. By welcoming a marginalized person whose body is wounded and by welcoming the sinner whose soul is wounded, we put our credibility as Christians on the line. Let us always remember the words of Saint John of the Cross: “In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.
34. St. Paul says that “the love of Christ compels us,” but this “compels us” can also be translated as “possesses us.” And so it is: love attracts us and sends us; it draws us in and gives us to others.
35. The Lord never tires of forgiving. It is we who tire of asking for forgiveness.
36. Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.
37. To put it simply: the Holy Spirit bothers us. Because he moves us, he makes us walk, he pushes the Church to go forward. And we are like Peter at the Transfiguration: ‘Ah, how wonderful it is to be here like this, all together!’ … But don’t bother us. We want the Holy Spirit to doze off … we want to domesticate the Holy Spirit. And that’s no good. because he is God, he is that wind which comes and goes and you don’t know where. He is the power of God, he is the one who gives us consolation and strength to move forward. But: to move forward! And this bothers us. It’s so much nicer to be comfortable.
38. Crossing the threshold of faith means that we work out of a sense of dignity and see service as a vocation. It means we serve selflessly and are prepared to begin over time and time again without giving in to weariness — as if all that has been done so far were only a step on the journey toward the Kingdom, the fullness of life. It is the quiet time of waiting after the daily sowing and contemplation of the harvest that has been gathered. It is giving thanks to the Lord because he is good and asking him not to forsake the work of his hands (see Ps 138:8).
39. The Church Fathers teach us that a shattered heart is the most pleasing gift to God. It is the sign that we are conscious of our sins, of the evil we have done, of our wretchedness, and of our need for forgiveness and mercy.
40. DON Luigi Giussani used to quote this example from Bruce Marshall’s novel To Every Man a Penny. The protagonist of the novel, the abbot Father Gaston, needs to hear the confession of a young German soldier whom the French partisans are about to sentence to death. The soldier confesses his love of women and the numerous amorous adventures he has had. The young priest explains that he has to repent to obtain forgiveness and absolution. The soldier answers, “How can I repent? It was something that I enjoyed, and if I had the chance I would do it again, even now. How can I repent?” Father Gaston, who wants to absolve the man who has been marked by destiny and who’s about to die, has a stroke of inspiration and asks, “But are you sorry that you are not sorry?” The young man answers impulsively, “Yes, I am sorry that I am not sorry.” In other words, he apologizes for not repenting. The door was opened just a crack, allowing absolution to come in….
41. The lack of historical memory is a serious shortcoming in our society. A mentality that can only say, “Then was then, now is now”, is ultimately immature. Knowing and judging past events is the only way to build a meaningful future. Memory is necessary for growth.
42. One who believes may not be presumptuous; on the contrary, truth leads to humility, because believers know that, rather than ourselves possessing truth, it is truth that embraces and possesses us.
43. The Church does not exist to condemn people but to bring about an encounter with the visceral love of God’s mercy.
44. Often it is better simply to slow down, to put aside our eagerness in order to see and listen to others, to stop rushing from one thing to another and to remain with someone who has faltered along the way.
45. If someone has not learned to stop and admire something beautiful, we should not be surprised if he or she treats everything as an object to be used and abused without scruple. If we want to bring about deep change, we need to realize that certain mindsets really do influence our behaviour. Our efforts at education will be inadequate and ineffectual unless we strive to promote a new way of thinking about human beings, life, society and our relationship with nature. Otherwise, the paradigm of consumerism will continue to advance, with the help of the media and the highly effective workings of the market.
46. It is not necessary to believe in God to be a good person. In a way, the traditional. Notion of God is outdated. One can be spiritual but not religious. It is not necessary to go to church and give money — for many, nature can be a church. Some of the best people in history do not believe in God, while some of the worst deeds were done in His name.
47. We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it. We have had enough of immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty. It is time to acknowledge that light-hearted superficiality has done us no good. When the foundations of social life are corroded, what ensues are battles over conflicting interests, new forms of violence and brutality, and obstacles to the growth of a genuine culture of care for the environment.
48. Whenever we encounter another person in love, we learn something new about God.
49. But, careful! Jesus does not say, Go off and do things on your own. No! That is not what he is saying. Jesus says, Go, for I am with you! This is what is so beautiful for us; it is what guides us. If we go out to bring his Gospel with love, with a true apostolic spirit, with parrhesia, he walks with us, he goes ahead of us, and he gets there first. As we say in Spanish, nos primerea. By now you know what I mean by this. It is the same thing that the Bible tells us. In the Bible, the Lord says: I am like the flower of the almond. Why? Because that is the first flower to blossom in the spring. He is always the first! This is fundamental for us: God is always ahead of us! When we think about going far away, to an extreme outskirt, we may be a bit afraid, but in fact God is already there. Jesus is waiting for us in the hearts of our brothers and sisters, in their wounded bodies, in their
hardships, in their lack of faith.
50. The fragility of our era is this, too: we don’t believe that there is a chance for redemption; for a hand to raise you up; for an embrace to save you, forgive you, pick you up, flood you with infinite, patient, indulgent love; to put you back on your feet. We need mercy.
51. Our faith in Christ, who became poor, and was always close to the poor and the outcast, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of society’s most neglected members.
52. Let the risen Jesus enter your life—welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk; you won’t be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, don’t be afraid. Trust him, be confident that he is close to you, he is with you, and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.
53. People are looking for someone to listen to them. Someone willing to grant them time, to listen to their dramas and difficulties. This is what I call the “apostolate of the ear,” and it is important. Very important. I feel compelled to say to confessors: talk, listen with patience, and above all tell people that God loves them.
54. The corrupt man is the one who sins but does not repent, who sins and pretends to be Christian, and it is this double life that is scandalous. The corrupt man does not know humility, he does not consider himself in need of help, he leads a double life.
55. Do you allow yourselves to be gazed upon by the Lord? But how do you do this? You look at the tabernacle and you let yourselves be looked at . . . it is simple! “It is a bit boring; I fall asleep.” Fall asleep then, sleep! He is still looking at you. But know for sure that he is looking at you!
56. I think this is truly the most wonderful experience we can have: to belong to a people walking, journeying through history together with our Lord, who walks among us! We are not alone; we do not walk alone. We are part of the one flock of Christ that walks together.
57. We need to let ourselves be evangelized by the poor. They have much to teach us.
58. We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.
59. We can get angry: it’s even healthy to get angry from time to time.
60. Sin is more than a stain. Sin is a wound; it needs to be treated, healed. The place where my encounter with the mercy of Jesus takes place is my sin.