Up from Orphanism
Pope Francis has allowed to be published a “book” about what a priest in my parish calls “our family prayer,” Our Father: Reflections of the Lord’s Prayer, which arose from a TV interview he did with an Italian prison chaplain, Marco Pozza.
This hastily thrown together little book – made up of fragments from that interview as well as remarks from general audiences and his Angelus talks – presents Francis at his most capricious. Thus the pope’s Preface opens:
Without saying this word, without taking it to heart, we cannot pray.
To whom do I pray? Almighty God? Too far away. I cannot feel that he is near. Even Jesus did not refer to God as “the Almighty God.”
He goes on in this anodyne fashion for 120+ widely spaced pages, constituting ten chapters, each devoted to a phrase from the Lord’s Prayer.
Of the prayer’s title and its opening phrase, Fr. Pozza asks the pope to explain “what it feels like for you pray the Our Father.”
The pope responds that he finds the prayer “reassuring;” that it reminds him he’s not an orphan. He has a “dad.”
God is a dad who warns, “Pay attention, look out for this,” he is saying. . . . I think that today the world has somewhat lost the meaning of fatherhood. It is a world sick with orphanism. . . .Jesus says to us that it will be the poor, the sinners, the prostitutes, the discarded who enter before you into the kingdom of heaven, all.
That’s a direct quote from the pope’s chat with Pozza, but the lack of editorial attention here is appalling. Perhaps in speaking the pope added that “all” at the end of his words (an oral tic), but why on earth should that have made it into the published version?
The pope’s point is that God is not one’s “private property,” which is why the word “Father” is preceded by the word “our.” This lacks the intellectual depth of his two predecessors, but I suppose one ought not to dwell on that.