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Get ‘your Pope Francis’ straight from Pope Francis

Pope Francis is “very aware” how he is represented, and at times misrepresented, by the media, according to John S. Grabowski, Ph.D., a professor at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

“Pope Francis is certainly aware that his statements sometimes get misreported or taken out of context,” Grabowski said April 21 at the latest installment of the Archbishop’s Lecture Series at the St. John Paul Center for the New Evangelization.

So, don’t get your Pope Francis from The New York Times or the Washington Post, he advised, “get it from Pope Francis.”

In his lecture, the fourth and final in a series dedicated to the theme of the family, Grabowski, a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family, talked about Pope Francis as he relates to the media, family and the new evangelization. He shared how confusion can ensue when Pope Francis, a popular subject in both Catholic and secular media, is quoted out of context, in particular citing the period during and after the extraordinary synod on family last October.

“I spent more time on the phone talking to reporters during the synod than I had in the last five, six years,” he said about trying to clarify reports and help reporters put quotes in proper context.

Grabowski anticipates this will be the case again during the upcoming ordinary synod on the family in October. He urged patience in waiting for a final document to come from the pope following the synod, and for now, to read existing documents to understand Church teaching on the family’s role in society.

“Why are we having two synods on family?” Grabowski asked. “Because the family needs to realize they’re both objects and subjects of the new evangelization.”

“Regardless of what you hear in the media, and I bet you will hear a lot,” he continued, “(the goal) is to equip families to be active agents of the new evangelization.”

In addition to two synods dedicated to family, Pope Francis has committed to attend the 2015 World Meeting to Families in Philadelphia Sept. 22-25, and devoted his weekly general audience messages to the topic.

Grabowski drew on several quotes from Pope Francis in his talk, and recommended the following reading: “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,” a preparatory catechesis for the World Meeting of Families; “Evangelii Gaudium,” a 2013 apostolic exhortation by Pope Francis; and “Familiaris Consortio,” a 1981 apostolic exhortation by St. John Paul II.

>> Pope Francis on family and evangelization

“I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since ‘no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.’” Evangelii Gaudium, 3

“The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children.” Evangelii Gaudium, 66

“For the family grounded in marriage is the first school where we learn to appreciate our own and others’ gifts, and where we begin to acquire the arts of cooperative living. For most of us, the family provides the principal place where we can aspire to greatness as we strive to realize our full capacity for virtue and charity.” Humanum Conference, Nov. 17, 2014

“Families are the domestic Church, where Jesus grows; he grows in the love of spouses, he grows in the lives of children. That is why the enemy so often attacks the family. The devil does not want the family; he tries to destroy it, to make sure that there is no love there.” National Convocation of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit, June 1, 2014

>> 2015-2016 lectures

The theme for the next lecture series will be truth, goodness and beauty: avenues for the new evangelization. It will focus on cinema, music, art and literature.

Save the date: Sept. 1

“Evangelization through literature and fine arts” by author Joseph Pearce

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