VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In his formal documents, many speeches and unscripted morning homilies the past five years, Pope Francis has given the Church plenty of “food for thought” on many issues of great importance.
Here are a baker’s dozen of quotes from the pope, organized by topic:
— On clerical sexual abuse: “Before God and his people I express my sorrow for the sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse committed against you. And I humbly ask forgiveness. I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves. This led to even greater suffering on the part of those who were abused, and it endangered other minors who were at risk.” (Homily at Mass with survivors, July 7, 2014).
— On communication: “Communication has the power to build bridges, to enable encounter and inclusion, and thus to enrich society. How beautiful it is when people select their words and actions with care, in the effort to avoid misunderstandings, to heal wounded memories and to build peace and harmony.” (Message for World Communications Day 2016).
— On creation: “We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth; our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.” (“Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home,” May 24, 2015).
— On economics: “Let us say ‘no’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys Mother Earth.” (World Meeting of Popular Movements, July 9, 2015).
— On faith: “Please do not water down your faith in Jesus Christ. We dilute fruit drinks – orange, apple or banana juice – but please do not drink a diluted form of faith. Faith is whole and entire, not something that you water down. It is faith in Jesus. It is faith in the son of God made man, who loved me and who died for me.” (World Youth Day, July 25, 2013).
— On the family: “No family drops down from heaven perfectly formed; families need constantly to grow and mature in the ability to love. ... May we never lose heart because of our limitations or ever stop seeking that fullness of love and communion which God holds out before us.” (“Amoris Laetitia,” April 8, 2016).
— On life: “Human life is sacred and inviolable. Every civil right rests on the recognition of the first and fundamental right, that of life, which is not subordinate to any condition, be it quantitative, economic or, least of all, ideological.” (Speech to the Italian pro-life movement, April 11, 2014).
— On mercy: “Mercy: the bridge that connects God and humanity, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.” (“Misericordiae Vultus,” April 11, 2015).
— On migration: “Migrants are our brothers and sisters in search of a better life far from poverty, hunger, exploitation and the unjust distribution of the planet’s resources, which are meant to be equitably shared by all. Don’t we all want a better, more decent and prosperous life to share with our loved ones?” (Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2016).
— On religious freedom: “It is incomprehensible and alarming that, still today, discrimination and restrictions of rights continue for the single fact that one belongs to and publicly professes an unwavering faith. It is unacceptable that real persecution is actually sustained for reasons of religious affiliation! Wars as well! This distorts reason, attacks peace and humiliates human dignity.” (Speech, June 20, 2014).
— On Satan: “The devil exists even in the 21st century and we shouldn’t be naive. ... We have to learn from the Gospel how to fight” against him. (Homily, April 11, 2014)
— On vocations: “A vocation is a fruit that ripens in a well-cultivated field of mutual love that becomes mutual service, in the context of an authentic ecclesial life. No vocation is born of itself or lives for itself. A vocation flows from the heart of God and blossoms in the good soil of faithful people, in the experience of fraternal love.” (World Day of Prayer for Vocations 2014).
— On young people in the Church: “I want you to make yourselves heard in your dioceses. I want the noise to go out. I want the Church to go out onto the streets. I want us to resist everything worldly, everything static, everything comfortable, everything to do with clericalism, everything that might make us closed in on ourselves.” (World Youth Day, July 25, 2013).