Pope Francis’ legacy is also detected in his most memorable quotes. Here are some of them.
Just after three days of becoming Pope he summarised the beginning of his pontificate during an interview with journalists. “How I wish for a Church that is poor and for the poor!” The next day he revealed another theme of his pontificate, a constant focus on the Word of God’s mercy. “God understands us, he waits for us, he does not tire of forgiving us if we are able to return to him with a contrite heart”.
The World Youth Day of Rio de Janeiro was Pope Francis’ biggest challenge. It was his first great moment on the world stage. Expectations were high. And he ended up doing much more than anyone has predicted. He said: “But I want there to be a mess in the diocese, I want you to go outside. I want the Church out in the street”.
On the plane back from Brazil, during his first press conference, he was asked about his opinion concerning gays in the Church. He called on people not to judge others. “I think that when you encounter a person like this, you must make a distinction between the fact of a person being gay from the fact of being a lobby, because lobbies all are not good. That is bad. If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, well who am I to judge them?”
The year later in addition to wars in Syria and Ukraine there arose a new crisis between Israelis and Palestinians. The Pope, visibly shocked, delivered the most painful message of peace that he has made so far. “I think mostly of the children, of those who are deprived of the hope for a dignified life, of a future: dead children, wounded children, maimed children, orphan children, children who have the remants of war as toys, children who do not know how to smile. Stop, please! I ask you with all my heart. It is time to stop! Stop, please!
Pope Francis followed the path created by Pope Benedict XVI in responding to cases of child abuse. In July 2014 he invited several victims to the Vatican to hear them and personally apologize. They also celebrated Mass together. “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.”
Pope Francis has focused most of his weekly general audiences on rediscovering the value of family not only in the Church but in society. He has said that the family is the first hospital and the first place where we learn what love is. “The family is the nearest hospital, when one of the family members is ill, is in the home where they are cared for as long as possible. The family is the first school for the young, the best home for the elderly. The family constitutes the best ‘social capital’. It cannot be replaced by other institutions. It needs to be helped and strengthened”.
For Pope Francis even atheists can make it to heaven. He said: “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
Finally, we could not miss it! It’s his most used phrase. Whenever he must say goodbye Pope Francis asks people to pray for him. And if these people are not believers: “Send me good vibes. Thank you”.
Pope’s Francis’ life is a love quotation indeed!