Favorite phrases from The Francis Factor

Going to The Francis Factor on Tuesday evening was exhilarating.

Just when I think maybe there’s not much left to learn about Pope Francis, I realize I’ve never known anyone who accidentally ate his breakfast or even considered whether he has a favorite painting. This is it:


Far more important, though, the panel discussion sponsored by the Archdiocese of Baltimore and held at Loyola University Maryland inspired me to think more deeply about why Pope Francis is touching so many hearts. I am left feeling even more optimistic about whether he can actually make the difference in the world that so many are hoping he will.

I could write on and on about my reaction to the evening, but I thought instead I’d share with you a few of the quotes from the panelists that are still resonating with me:
From Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap., archbishop of Boston:

“Morality is not a never falling down, but an always getting up again.”

“As a Capuchin, of course I’m very intimidated being invited to a Jesuit university. There are 36 craters on the Moon named after Jesuits, and we Capuchins only have a cup of coffee named after us.”

“Catholicism is not a catalog of prohibitions. Emphasize what unites us, not what divides us.”

“We should appear as joyful messengers of challenging proposals.”

“The pope is a true companion of Jesus, a Jesuit who puts Jesus at the center of his life.”

Helen Alvare, professor of law at George Mason University School of Law:

“He goes out of the way to call the church a woman, a mother.”


Mercy High School students pose with a cardboard cutout of the pope.
Fr. Matthew Malone, S.J., editor-in-chief of America magazine:

“I believe this is the time of mercy. The Church is a mother. It must reach out to heal the wounds with mercy.”

“He’s calling us to repent both as individuals and as a church.”

“The Holy Father isn’t saying that the rules are wrong, only that they are not the essence of our faith.”

“All of us must be able to say, ‘I am a sinner. Who am I to judge?’”

“We are called to cherish others, every life, every moment.”

Kerry Robinson, executive director of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management:

“He has restored our faith in humankind.”

Fr. Thomas Rosica, founding chief executive officer of Salt and Light Television:

“We’re not in a honeymoon. We’re in a very good marriage.”

“I remind my media colleagues on a daily basissomething else is afoot.”
“Francis is giving the world a powerful glimpse into the mind and heart of God.”

“His reform is going to succeed because it is based in the Gospel.”

“He’s not taking me back to Assisi, or even to Loyola. He’s taking us back to Bethlehem, to Galilee, to Jerusalem.”

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Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.