Sandro Magister reports
It is a widespread opinion, confirmed by numerous testimonies, that the
intention of electing pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio grew substantially
among the cardinals on the morning of Saturday, March 9, when the
then-archbishop of Buenos Aires spoke at the second to last of the
congregations - covered by secrecy - that preceded the conclave.
words made an impression on many. Bergoglio spoke off the cuff. But we
now have the account of those words of his, written by the hand of the
Bergoglio's remarks in the preconclave were made
public by the cardinal of Havana, Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, in the
homily of the chrism Mass that he celebrated on Saturday, March 23 in
the cathedral of the capital of Cuba, in the presence of the apostolic
nuncio, Archbishop Bruno Musarò, of the auxiliary bishops Alfredo Petit
and Juan de Dios Hernandez, and of the clergy of the diocese.
Ortega recounted that after the remarks of Bergoglio in the
preconclave, he had approached him to ask if he had a written text that
he could keep.
Bergoglio responded that at the moment he did not
have one. But the following day - Ortega recounted - "with extreme
delicacy” he gave him “the remarks written in his own hand as he
Ortega asked him if he could release the text, and Bergoglio said yes.
Here is that text of Cardinal Bergoglio's notes:
Reference has been made to evangelization. This is the Church's reason
for being. “The sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing” (Paul VI). It
is Jesus Christ himself who, from within, impels us.
Evangelizing implies apostolic zeal. Evangelizing presupposes in the
Church the “parresia" of coming out from itself. The Church is called to
come out from itself and to go to the peripheries, not only
geographical, but also existential: those of the mystery of sin, of
suffering, of injustice, those of ignorance and of the absence of faith,
those of thought, those of every form of misery.
2) When the
Church does not come out from itself to evangelize it becomes
self-referential and gets sick (one thinks of the woman hunched over
upon herself in the Gospel). The evils that, in the passing of time,
afflict the ecclesiastical institutions have a root in
self-referentiality, in a sort of theological narcissism. In Revelation,
Jesus says that he is standing at the threshold and calling. Evidently
the text refers to the fact that he stands outside the door and knocks
to enter. . . But at times I think that Jesus may be knocking from the
inside, that we may let him out. The self-referential Church presumes to
keep Jesus Christ within itself and not let him out.
Church, when it is self-referential, without realizing it thinks that it
has its own light; it stops being the “mysterium lunae" and gives rise
to that evil which is so grave, that of spiritual worldliness (according
to De Lubac, the worst evil into which the Church can fall): that of
living to give glory to one another. To simplify, there are two images
of the Church: the evangelizing Church that goes out from itself; that
of the “Dei Verbum religiose audiens et fidenter proclamans" [the Church
that devoutly listens to and faithfully proclaims the Word of God -
editor's note], or the worldly Church that lives in itself, of itself,
for itself. This should illuminate the possible changes and reforms to
be realized for the salvation of souls.
4) Thinking of the next
Pope: a man who, through the contemplation of Jesus Christ and the
adoration of Jesus Christ, may help the Church to go out from itself
toward the existential peripheries, that may help it to be the fecund
mother who lives “by the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing.”
Rome, March 9, 2013
The influence of de Lubac, one of the finest Jesuit theologians of the past century, on Bergoglio is also obvious in this 2007 interview, which ends with this remark:
[Q:] For you, then, what is the worst thing that can happen in the Church?
It is what De Lubac calls «spiritual worldliness». It is the greatest
danger for the Church, for us, who are in the Church. «It is worse»,
says De Lubac, «more disastrous than the infamous leprosy that
disfigured the dearly beloved Bride at the time of the libertine popes».
Spiritual worldliness is putting oneself at the center. It is what
Jesus saw going on among the Pharisees: «… You who glorify yourselves.
Who give glory to yourselves, the ones to the others».
De Lubac wrote several significant works of ecclesiology, including The Splendor of the Church (Ignatius Press, 1986, 1989; French original in 1953) and The Motherhood of the Church (Ignatius Press, 1982; French original in 1971). The quote mentioned by Bergoglio comes at the very end of The
Splendor of the Church, in the chapter titled, "The Church and Our
The-Church-as-Mother is never
at the end of her labor to deliver us to the life of the Spirit, and the
greatest danger we are to the Church, the most subversive temptation,
the one that is ever and insiduously reborn when all the rest are
overcome, and even strengthened by those victories, is what Abbot Vonier
called the temptation to "worldliness of the mind ... the practical
relinquishing of other-worldliness, so that moral and even spiritual
standards should be based, not on the glory of the Lord, but on what is
the profit of man; an entirely anthropocentric outlook would be exactly
what we mean by worldliness. Even if men were filled with every
spiritual perfection, but if such perfections were not referred to God
(suppose this hypothesis to be possible) it would be unredeemed
this worldliness of the spirit were to invade the Church and set to
work to corrupt her by attacking her very principle, it would be
something infinitely more disastrous than any worldliness of the purely
Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ, founder and editor of Ignatius Press, says:
early days of Ignatius Press, one of the most important books we
published was the English translation of Fr. Henri de Lubac’s classic Meditations sur l’Eglise (The Splendor of the Church).
Fr. de Lubac was my mentor when I studied theology in Lyons, France
from 1969-1972 and it was he who introduced me into the great Tradition
of the Church, especially the Church Fathers. I came to regard him as
many others already did, as a modern Father of the Church. The
translation of his works into English was one of the principal motives
for founding Ignatius Press in 1978.
Fr. de Lubac was one of the only two then-living theologians cited by Pope John Paul II in his first encyclical Redemptor Hominis
(the other was Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar). Pope Benedict XVI in his
short autobiography Milestones writes: “…meeting Balthasar was for me
the beginning of a lifelong friendship I can only be thankful for. Never
again have I found anyone with such a comprehensive theological and
humanistic education as Balthsar and de Lubac” (p. 143). And now we find
that de Lubac was cited by Cardinal Bergoglio in one of the final
pre-conclave congregations of cardinals.
My gratitude for all
that Fr. de Lubac had done for the Church and for me personally was
expressed in a short dedication I wrote to the Ignatius Press edition of
The Splendor of the Church:
"This re-edition is
dedicated to Cardinal de Lubac
in the year of his ninetieth birthday.
"My personal debt of gratitude to this
extraordinary scholar, loyal churchman,
gracious and patient teacher, and fellow Jesuit
is but a small part of what is owed him
by the countless numbers of men and women of every land
whose faith has been so profoundly enriched
by his life’s work.
"Cardinal de Lubac is above all else
a man of the Church, homo ecclesiasticus,
such as he himself portrays in these pages.
He has received all from the Church.
He has returned all to the Church.
"This book which, characteristically, he so humbly describes
in its introduction, is a testament which will endure
to his lifelong love of his mother and ours
the Immaculate Bride of the Lamb,
For more about de Lubac (1896-1991), who was named a cardinal by Bl. John Paul II in 1983, visit his author's page at IgnatiusInsight.com.