06 December 2018, The Tablet

Christopher Lamb's weekly letter from the Eternal City

Christopher Lamb's weekly letter from the Eternal City

Most of the reporting on a new book-length interview with Pope Francis has focused on his remark that gay clergy should be “impeccably responsible” and, if they are living a double life, must leave the ordained ministry.

But the coverage has largely missed how in La Fuerza de la Vocaciòn (“The Strength of Vocation”) the Pope offers some serious food for thought on the difficulties facing men and women in religious life in the contemporary world.

It reveals how Francis, who was superior of the Jesuits in Argentina from 1973-79, refuses to play the numbers game, either lamenting the fall-off in vocations or looking back wistfully on past glories. Instead, he speaks positively about a “de-Europeanising” of the Church, with the emerging leaders of the orders of religious sisters, brothers, monks, and friars increasingly coming from former mission territories, especially in Asia.

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