Pope Francis’s Bon Mots

by Jim Manney

Pope Francis

Jesuits are known for their distinctive “way of proceeding.” Pope Francis is showing a distinctive way of speaking. Blogger Matthew Schmitz collects some of the striking phrases Francis has coined. It’s hard to imagine Benedict or even John Paul II talking like this:

“Babysitter church.” “When we don’t  [announce Jesus with our lives], the Church becomes not a mother but a babysitter church, which takes care of the child to put him to sleep.”

“Teenagers for life.” “How hard it is, in our time, to make the ultimate decisions! The temporary seduces us. We are victims of a trend that pushes us to the temporary . . . as if we wanted to stay teenagers for life!”

“Mr. or Mrs. Whiner.” “A Christian who constantly complains, fails to be a good Christian: they become Mr. or Mrs. Whiner, no?”

“Middle class of holiness.” “There are the saints of every day, the ‘hidden’ saints, a sort of ‘middle class of holiness’ to which we can all belong.”

“Charitable NGO.” “We can walk as much as we want, we can build many things, but if we do not profess Jesus Christ, things go wrong. We may become a charitable NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of the Lord.”

Photo by Catholic Church (England and Wales) under a Creative Commons license.

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Jim Manney

Senior Editor at Loyola Press
Jim Manney is a popular writer on Ignatian topics (God Finds Us, A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer) as well as the editor of many books on Ignatian spirituality, including What Is Ignatian Spirituality? He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Latest posts by Jim Manney (see all)

May 23, 2013

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynda May 23, 2013 at 6:11 am

Pope Francis is a gift to our Church in this time. Above all, it is very evident that he loves Jesus and he loves all of God’s people. Thanks for sharing this.

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Linda G May 23, 2013 at 7:53 am

As I said on yesterday’s post, gotta love this guy. Even the nonbelievers can like him. Now that is charisma — however unintended which makes it even better.

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Jim Manney May 23, 2013 at 8:13 am

Here’s another: this morning at Mass the pope warned against becoming “museum-piece Christians”– “a salt without flavor, a salt that does nothing.”

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Lynda May 23, 2013 at 9:15 am

Jim, it isn’t possible for me to keep up with the words of wisdom from our Pope. Thanks for sharing this new one!

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Jim Manney May 23, 2013 at 9:40 am

The Vatican Radio site has good coverage of the Pope’s speeches and homilies.

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Linda G May 23, 2013 at 11:34 am

I read an interesting article from one of these blogs about salt in this day and age when we are exhorted to avoid the horrid stuff (I use it for cleaning scale from pots and pans and for disinfecting things like scratches and mouth sores). I wish I could give a link here but I’ve forgotten where this wonderful article is. It did lead to the spiritual meaning of salt though. I think we need to come up with a new terminology after all those warnings, ha.

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Barbara May 23, 2013 at 11:07 am

I have never gotten so much meaning from so simply a message. Surely a gift for our time. That is Pope Francis.

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Rudy May 23, 2013 at 1:09 pm

And now, “All who do good are redeemed, including atheists.” (paraphrased) Vox Spiritus!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/pope-francis-good-atheists_n_3320757.html

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Christine Cipperly May 23, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I thought Catholics thought making comparisons was ‘odious’. I do not feel any need to compare Pope Francis to any of his predecessors. Each had his own charisms and was needed by the Church at that time, as Pope Francis is needed now. Can’t we appreciate him for who he is without seeming to denigrate others? I think it demeans him, and I think he’d be appalled.

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Jim Manney May 23, 2013 at 2:05 pm

I thoroughly agree: each pope brings his own gifts to the job. One of Pope Francis’s particular gifts is a knack for striking and vivid speech. In pointing this out, I meant no criticism of his predecessors.

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Linda G May 23, 2013 at 5:58 pm

It seems that people are ready to love a pope (princess, president) because they fill that role and that is how comparisons happen, I would think. People do that with spouses and ex spouses too. It is not fair to compare people with one another. Especially if they are siblings OUCH.

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kim May 23, 2013 at 1:59 pm

These are some good, good “bon mots”!

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Bill McInerny May 25, 2013 at 11:07 am

What a tremendous idea. I hope this tracking and collecting Pope Francis’ sayings continues. I wise colleague once suggested that a great way to learn about about a denomination is to study their hymns. A collection of good sayings can reveal much about a person. Fantastic idea here publishing these good words.

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Gloria Oddone Ebken May 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Pope Francis said also: “Non siamo (la Chiesa, i preti) qui per mettere i bigodini alle pecore”

“We (the Church, the priest) are not here to put curlers to the sheep”

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Hazelmay September 3, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Thank you, God, for calling Pope Francis, whose communications and lack of fear, humility and love for the poor open the doors of the church wide.

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