- Dec 10, 2019
Yes, Pope Francis is a Jesuit to his core, from his spirituality to his leadership style, and that’s especially clear now as the Jesuits meet in Rome. Yet there’s a sense in which, despite that Jesuit background, this is nonetheless also a deeply “Franciscan” papacy.
Surrounded by Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, followers of traditional faiths and even atheists, as well as survivors of war and migrants, Pope Francis in Assisi on Tuesday declared that the “great sickness” of our time is “indifference” to the suffering caused by war and other tragedies.
As Pope Francis visits Assisi today to mark the 30th anniversary of St. Pope John Paul II’s historic interfaith summit, the legacy of that 1986 event, captured in the phrase “the spirit of Assisi,” seems very much alive as religious leaders unite for peace again.
As Pope Francis headed to Assisi today for an interfaith prayer for peace, he said, “Today the world will have its center at Assisi, for a day of prayer, penitence and crying, because the world is at war … God the father of all, Christians and not, wants peace. There’s no god of war, this is done by the devil.”
As Pope Francis is in Assisi today along with other religious leaders, it’s a reminder that it’s wonderful to be together to pray. This way we highlight the fraternity and communion among people without barriers and avoid the insidiousness of syncretism and indifferentism.
This week, Pope Francis will make his third visit to Assisi since his election to the papacy. The “Francis effect” on the town appears to be real: a spokesman said that since the pope’s first visit in 2013, the number of visitors to Assisi has risen from 4.5 million to 6 million a year.