BY CHRIS KERR | March 13, 2013
What a special day for the Catholic Church and for Jesuit institutions throughout the world. The announcement of Pope Francis (formerly known to us as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio) brings about many new pages in history, including the Church’s first Pope from outside of Europe and the first Jesuit Pope.
During his time as a Cardinal in Argentina he became known as a bold voice for social justice in the Church. It has been reported by many sources that as Cardinal he chose to use public transportation in an effort to live simply and also brought attention to many injustices in Argentina over the years.
Clearly, as time moves forward there will be much to learn about Pope Francis, but for the time being we thought we would share a few quotes that represent the importance the social mission of the Church has played in his ministry:
Speaking of contrast between the economically rich and poor, “Poor people who are persecuted for demanding work, and rich people who are applauded for fleeing from justice”. -August 2001 Speaking at the church dedicated to San Cayetano, the patron saint of work and bread (SOURCE: BBC News)
“We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least…The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.” -2007 Gathering of Latin American Bishops (SOURCE: National Catholic Reporter)
Preaching on the Gospel story of the good Samaritan, the cardinal said: “Every economic, political, social or religious project involves the inclusion or exclusion of the wounded lying on the side of the road. Each day, each of us faces the choice of being a good Samaritan or an indifferent bystander.” -2003 homily, location unknown (SOURCE: AmericanCatholic.org)
“The Gospel promises of God’s love, of salvation in Jesus Christ and of unchanging moral values still have the power to guide and to give life…the church must lead the way in reaching out to the elderly, to suffering children, to the poor and others excluded from the mainstream of modern society.” April 2005 Interview (SOURCE: Catholic News Service)
Our prayers are with Pope Francis and the Church in this time of transition, as we respond to the Gospel call of justice & solidarity.
Ignatian Solidarity Network
Chris joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) as executive director in 2011. He has over fifteen years of experience in social justice advocacy and leadership in Catholic education and ministry. Prior to ISN he served in multiple roles at John Carroll University, including coordinating international immersion experience and social justice education programming as an inaugural co-director of John Carroll’s Arrupe Scholars Program for Social Action. Prior to his time at John Carroll he served as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and secondary levels in Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Chris speaks regularly at campuses and parishes about social justice education and advocacy, Jesuit mission, and a broad range of social justice issues. He currently serves on the board of directors for Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ). Chris earned a B.A. and M.A. from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He and his family reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio.