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Pope lauds Jesuit journal for courageous editorial approach

February 09, 2017

Pope Francis met on February 9 with the editorial staff of Civilta Cattolica, to celebrate the publication of the 4,000th issue of the Jesuit journal.

The Pope praised the publication for its “direct service to the Apostolic See,” and remarked that Civilta Cattolica “continues courageously to navigate in open waters.”

The Pope said that Catholics should “never be afraid of open waters, and must never seek the shelter of safe harbors.” Addressing the journal’s staff, he said: “You above all, as Jesuits: avoid clinging to certainties and security.”

Civilta Cattolica has long been regarded as a semi-official Vatican publication, because its contents are approved in advance by the Holy See. The journal has gained added influence under Pope Francis, with its editor, Father Antonio Spadaro, serving as one of the Pope’s closest advisers.

The Pope alluded to this relationship, saying that the tie to the Roman Pontiff “has always been an essential feature of your journal.” He then made an apparent reference to current controversies in the Church:

You are in the barque of St. Peter. At times in history – today as before – it may be buffeted by the waves, and we should not be surprised by this. But even the very sailors called to row in the barque of Peter can row in the opposite direction. It has always happened.

The Pope also welcomed the introduction of new editions of Civilta Cattolica, which is now published in Spanish, English, French, and Korean. He encouraged the editorial staff to continue challenging readers, saying that their work should be characterized by three words: restlessness, a sense of incompleteness, and imagination.

The current issue of Civilta Cattolica  features an essay by the deputy editor, Father Giancarlo Pani, in which he questions about the teaching of St. John Paul II that women can never be ordained to the priesthood.

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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Feb. 10, 2017 7:16 PM ET USA

    Constant chaos is the mark of a certain brand of political revolution: communist. Communist revolution can lead to liberation theology, a brand of political warfare that exists to undermine the Catholic faith. Liberation theology leads to theological dissent. Theological dissent takes the form of rowing "in the opposite direction. It has always happened." Rowing in the opposite direction can take the form of the political violence seen today in the U.S. Or it can take the form of papal bullying.

  • Posted by: feedback - Feb. 10, 2017 3:39 PM ET USA

    There is a "courage" of the heretics and courage of the Holy Martyrs. Arguably, both are "not afraid of open waters, and do not seek the shelter of safe harbors." I hope, the Holy Father lauds the courage of Martyrs, and not heretics.

  • Posted by: skall391825 - Feb. 10, 2017 2:29 AM ET USA

    "But even the very sailors called to row in the barque of Peter can row in the opposite direction." It appears even Peter can row in the opposite direction.

  • Posted by: Biscjim - Feb. 09, 2017 11:24 PM ET USA

    A "courageous" editorial approach that lately seems to have an obvious agenda that is not orthodoxy.

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Feb. 09, 2017 10:35 PM ET USA

    It is always comforting to have the boss tell you you're doing a good job and keep it up. Georgetown U et. als. must be greatly heartened and, no doubt, will re-double efforts to avoid clinging to certainties and security as will the great majority of the once great order. One must note, however, these are the "new" Pope's men.

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Feb. 09, 2017 10:29 PM ET USA

    Again! What is the Pope really saying? Is chaos his hallmark? Transparency certainly is not. Given the latest track record of this paper, chaos is their hallmark. Especially on ordination of women, they try to confuse their readers by challenging basic doctrine as taught by StJohn Paul II.

  • Posted by: ALC - Feb. 09, 2017 5:03 PM ET USA

    "But even the very sailors called to row in the barque of Peter can row in the opposite direction." If that is the case, then the barque is not making progress and those sailors need to be corrected or fired. It is not healthy to have constant chaos in the Church. For this pope to allow and even encourage it is very disturbing.