The Holy Father kept things low-key this week. No wacky soundbites. Nothing overtly offensive to anyone, really.
Pope Francis reminded the bishops to stay on-board with the Church’s ongoing dedication to cleaning up the vestiges of the shameful sexual abuse scandal. He spoke about the importance of fathers in their children’s life: Also today’s children, returning home with their failures, need a father who waits for them, protects them, encourages them and teaches them how to follow the good path. Pope Francis did express approbation for spanking a child under certain conditions; I’m surprised that this hasn’t caused an uproar yet. Maybe the obnoxiously frigid temperatures in the Mid-Atlantic region are chilling everyone out.
The Holy Father did announce that he will be addressing Congress when he comes to the United States this September. I can imagine what he will say to our legislative branch.
The real fun will be reading the reactions from Fox News, Breitbart, and the Drudge Report.
Finally, the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero was officially recognized by Pope Francis, which allows the beatification process to begin.
As the Holy Father is wont to do, he made a couple of very sweet and inspiring gestures of Christian charity this week. First, he chatted with a group of special-needs children on Google Hangouts. Then, after already announcing that the planned Vatican bathrooms for the homeless will include showers and barbers, 300 homeless were given umbrellas to keep them dry from the persistent bad weather.
To keep the sweet note going, I’m sharing with you a fun dessert I stumbled upon. It is a sandwich cookie called an alfajores. It’s an Argentinian iteration of a Spanish delicacy. The recipe, in Spanish and then English, is here. Strap on your metaphorical apron with me and try making these on Valentine’s Day, in honor of our Argentinian Pontiff!