Update from Rome: Preaching the Truth with Love

This comes from Rome, where the sun is shining brightly, the sky is deep blue, the breeze is warm, the wine flows, and the pasta is al dente… and you are jealous!

It has been a full week.  Last Thursday and Friday, the entire College of Cardinals met with Pope Francis to discuss marriage and family.  The cardinals spoke as pastors, very aware of the threats to marriage and family, attacks from culture, the state and entertainment, for instance; but also of the beauty, nobility, and poetry of God’s grand gifts of husband, wife, father, mother, and children.  How can we propose to the world anew the grandeur of family, and defend marriage, without wringing hands and manning the barricades?  How better can we preach the truth with love?

The cardinals also pushed the image of the Church as family: God, our Father; Mary, our mother; Jesus, our older brother; the saints, our elders; our fellow Catholics, our siblings.  Like any family, we have our dysfunction, but we come to our supernatural family for rebirth in baptism, nourishment at the Eucharist, reconciliation in penance, maturity in confirmation, solidarity in prayer and charity.  We are born into this family of the Church, and we long to die in her embrace.

The consistory itself, welcoming the nineteen new cardinals and their people from all over the world, took place on Saturday and Sunday. Pope-emeritus Benedict ”stole the show,” with his humble, unexpected presence, quietly joining the rest of us in prayer.  It had been a year since we had seen him, and he brought joy to our hearts.

Yesterday and today I’ve been at meetings to plan the Synod of Bishops slated for October, 2014, and October, 2015, both on the topic of — you guessed it — marriage and family. It’s very clear that Pope Francis wants to use these synods — meetings in Rome among the Pope and elected delegates from bishops around the world, along with clergy, sisters, and laity present as experts and observers — as a regular and respected form of his governance and teaching.  He is big into listening, as was clear to us as he sat with ears open in the two days of consistory, and our meetings for synod preparation.

With all this going on, I have not had much time to savor the sun, sky, breeze, wine, or pasta!

So, tomorrow, I’ll be home again after this week in the Eternal City, happy to be with you, yet relishing a return here the Sunday after Easter for the canonizations of Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II.

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4 Responses to “Update from Rome: Preaching the Truth with Love”

  1. Irene says:

    Pope Francis just wrote a letter directly to all of us; It begins:

    “Dear families,

    With this letter, I wish, as it were, to come into your homes to speak about an event which will take place at the Vatican this coming October.”

    Our Pope is reaching out directly to us- speaking to us families- and he asks us all to pray very hard that the Holy Spirit will guide the Synod participants and help us all engage in a true journey of discernment as to how the Church can best respond to the many challenges we families around the world face as we try to live the Gospels.

    I am going to try and honor the Pope’s request and will pray for the success of this Synod.

  2. Irene says:

    I have been very concerned about what we Catholics have been calling religious liberty: telling other people that they can’t marry their same sex partner doesn’t seem to have anything to do with my own liberty- it just restricts theirs.

    I thought it was a dangerous road to go down and we’re already seeing its poisonous fruits. States are passing legislation allowing businesses to discriminate against gay people- refusing to serve them in restaurants, for example- all in the name of our “religious liberty”.

    If we’re honest with ourselves, we Catholics- especially our religious leaders- need to take some ownership of this terrible situation. It is a direct result of our “religious liberty ” campaign. This is just not a Christian way for us to behave.

  3. Jorge says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    I just heard the broadcast of your recent talk at St Vincent DePaul Regional Seminary. It was truly inspired! I would like to share the podcast with others. Could you post the podcast on your website or blog?
    Many thanks,

    Jorge–not Bergoglio :)

  4. David graber says:

    Dear cardinal Dolan, I am not catholic but Lutheran. Hope you don’t hold it against me! I really in joy your articles and wanted to tell you. May God bless you!

    Thanks again