Pope Francis is urging the faithful to evangelize by leading with a person, rather than push moral rules and doctrine on others, two cardinals have said.
“Francis introduces people to the person of Jesus,” said Cardinal Dolan of New York, speaking Wednesday at the Rome launch of Crux, a website of the Boston Globe on Catholicism. He addressed the event at the North American College alongside the recently appointed prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, Cardinal George Pell of Australia.
The New York cardinal, however, admitted he hadn’t thought Francis would be the charismatic “rock star,” who ceaselessly “electrifies” crowds. Rather, he thought of him as a quasi-retired, “behind-the-scenes man.”
“In no way did I think of him as charismatic,” he said, adding his style is “simple” and “sincere.” He elaborated, “No one needs to tell Pope Francis what to do. He just knows.”
“Pope Francis doesn’t need to be told how to act,” because it’s naturally “who he is,” he said. “No one needs to tell him to pay his hotel bill. He just does it.”
Cardinal Pell, the member of the Vatican’s Council of Cardinals who now is charged with overseeing Vatican finances, has made it clear that even if some lenience is being discussed, he is not, nor will ever be, one for “relaxing the standards.”
“When we talk about some time of renewal and reform of our vocabulary, we don’t mean to soften or to dilute our teaching, but to make it more credible,” the Vatican’s finance czar continued, noting it’s not an attempt at “sidestepping.”
The Australian prelate stressed not only how much Christians and Catholics can offer the world, but also suggested how badly the world is in need of their contribution.
No to silence
Addressing the audience, many of whom were seminarians from the North American College, he said: “I hope you’re not going to be one of those priests or bishops whose primary mission is to keep out of the press.
“If we are silent, we can’t complain that we’re not being heard,” Cardinal Pell frankly stated.
“Some may wish that Jesus might have been a little softer on divorce, but he wasn’t and I’m sticking with him,” Cardinal Pell concluded.