Tag Archives: reform

Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

I have been working with this coworker for awhile, he was hired around the same time that I did. He was hired as a maintenance worker and quickly became my favorite one, because I felt comfortable asking for help without feeling as though I was being an imposition. In exchange for his help, I gave him some extra samples of the pastry I was planning to sample that day. We would joke that he was the official taste-tester and if he dropped dead I would know that I shouldn’t sample that pastry.

Over the course of our time working together I developed the suspicion that he had a “colored” past, as they say. He went to Las Vegas for his birthday and let’s just say he was not going for the shows. I never asked him for details because it was not my business to know. On Tuesday he was sporting a freshly-shaved head and I commented on how dapper he looked. He smiled and thanked me, he then added that he did it every few months to keep him humble. I asked him what that meant and he admitted it helped him remember what life was like for him when he was in prison. Looking in the mirror everyday and seeing his shaved head was a good reminder of where he came from and to be thankful for the life he had now. It is easy for him to forget how terrible life was in prison. He confessed that he can easily fall back into his old ways and lose control with money; he needs to constantly check himself. He can receive a lot of bonuses at his other job and the temptation to use them to go back to dealing drugs can be hard to overcome at times. He needs to see his shaved head to remind him how awful his life was. He never wants to go back to prison — he has a better life now with a son that he needs to provide for and set a good example.

After telling me his story, I think he recognized how vulnerable he was being and tried to joke it off saying that he knew how weird it sounded. I told him that it didn’t sound weird at all and I admired him for being so aware of his limits. I said it was great that he took active steps to keep himself from giving in to temptation. The fact that he is smart enough to recognize that he still has the impulse to misuse money and shaving his head helped keep him from repeating his mistakes was a great accomplishment. I thanked him for sharing his story; he was an inspiration. He is a blessing in my life because he reminded me what a gift my life was and not to take anything for granted.


Originally posted at Kitty in the City.
Image: PD-US

Looking at Pope Francis via Pius V

Pope Francis, on the first full day of his papacy, prayed at the tomb of Pope St. Pius V. I do not think that was coincidental. In fact, I believe that His Holiness intends to be remembered as most similar to Pius V. There are five ways in which I see this is already evident:

1. Connections to the New World.

Pius V was a big supporter of missions in the New World (aka the Americas).

Pope Francis is the first pope from the New World, bringing with him a culture that has, until now, never seemed to have a serious foothold in the Vatican. His Holiness’ cultural experiences could potentially be very important to the future of the Church, considering an estimated 40% of Catholics worldwide are Hispanic.

2. Papal garments.

Have you ever wondered where the classic white cassock that popes wear came from? Though the actual origins are unclear, Pius V is the one most commonly credited for starting the custom, because after his election, he chose to continue wearing his simple white Dominican habit.

Like Pius V, Pope Francis chose to wear only the cassock (and a zucchetto and a pectoral cross, of course!) when he greeted the world after his election.

3. Care for the poor and disabled.

Pius V began his pontificate by giving large alms to the poor. He washed the feet of the poor and embraced lepers. He once even kissed the feet of a beggar covered with ulcers.

Pope Francis has blessed and kissed a disabled man, washed the feet of prisoners, and embraced a child with cerebral palsy. His Holiness has also called for the Church to be “for the poor.”

4. Church reforms.

On reforming the Church, Pius V did a lot. He cut the Vatican’s budget and tackled immorality (e.g. the use of prostitutes, etc.) among the clergy, along with other things.

In light of the mysterious Vatileaks report that a group of cardinals prepared for then-Pope Benedict XVI, in which it has been speculated that immorality and incompetence among some working in the Vatican is detailed, Pope Francis appears ready to reform the Roman Curia. He has even set up an eight-member commission to make recommendations on the subject.

5. Willingness to take on politicians.

Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I for her role in forming the Protestant Church of England, insisted on the importance of the Church’s teachings in civil affairs, and supported oppressed Catholics.

Pope Francis, as Cardinal Bergoglio, stood up to Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner on several issues, including gay “marriage” and abortion. He is not afraid to speak his mind.


Taking all of that into account, I am sure that the pontificate of Pope Francis will be regarded as a time of a reverent resurgence for the Church.