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July 28, 2016

Book: What Would Pope Francis Do? Bringing the Good News to People in Need
Author: Sean Salai, S.J.
Our Sunday Visitor. Huntington, IN. 20016. Pp. 143

An Excerpt from the Cover:

Taking six themes from Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, What Would Pope Francis Do? examines the essence of our mission and the movements of the heart that allow us to go boldly toward those on the peripheries to build a better world.

What Would Pope Francis Do? is filled with stories of ordinary people as well as saints who have followed the call of Jesus --- and Pope Francis --- to go to the peripheries with the joy of the Gospel.

An Excerpt from the Book:

As we go to the margins ourselves, Francis says we will continue to face such opposition from people who aren't ready to go there with us. He writes:

The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies. At times, however, they seem to be a mere addendum imported from without in order to full out a political discourse lacking in perspectives or plans for true and integral development.

How many words prove irksome to this system! It is irksome when the question of ethics is raised, when global solidarity is invoked, when the distribution of goods is mentioned, when reference is made to protecting labor and defending the dignity of the powerless, when allusion is made to a God who demands a commitment to justice. (Evangelii Gaudium 203)

Francis knows that our politicians often resist systemic efforts to affirm the dignity of the poor, preferring a rhetoric that justifies selfish or immoral policies by appealing to concern for the needy. But in response to this reality, the pope calls on Christians themselves to witness to the dignity of excluded people through political action as well as direct charity. In a section recalling the Ignatian maxim that love expresses itself more fully in deeds than in words, Francis elaborates on what happens to a church that forgets this prophetic calling:

Any Church community, if it thinks it can comfortably go its own way without creative concern and effective cooperation in helping the poor to live with dignity and reaching out to everyone, will also risk breaking down, however much it may talk about social issues or criticize governments. It will easily drift into a spiritual worldliness camouflaged by religious practices, unproductive meetings and empty talk. (Evangelii Gaudium 207)

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Joy

1. Longing

2. Closeness

3. Dignity

4. Weariness

5. Tenderness

6. Mary

Conclusion: Courage