Let’s just go a head and declare Pope Francis a saint – today!

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It must be disarming to meet Pope Francis in the confessional, as his insights into the sins and foibles of the people of our times are so penetrating. He cuts right to the quick without evasion, and he names often subtle ways in which we abuse the grace God gives us. The section of the apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” on temptations of pastoral workers (Nos. 76-109) unflinchingly identifies numerous defects of the church’s ministers. As an examination of conscience, there’s been nothing like it since C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters.

If true reform must grow out of conversion, then Pope Francis truly has the gift of discernment to set the church on the path of conversion. He identifies the most subtle ways in which pastoral ministers undermine their own effectiveness and the church’s mission. The list is long and in this Lenten season deserving of reflection by all Catholics. But the paragraphs on “spiritual worldliness” are particularly worthy of attention.

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8 Tips for Catholic Men

I don’t often write specifically for a male audience, but I believe our gender has some particular and unique challenges to staying on the right path.

I hope to offer some useful insight which will help you, me and other Catholic men be more aware of these self-created challenges and take the necessary steps to overcome them.

Let me start by listing a few general observations about men which may be uncomfortable to read and acknowledge:

We often struggle with humility and let our pride and egos get in the way.

We like to be in control.

We can be stubborn and inflexible to change.

Our identities are often wrapped up in our careers.

We struggle to ask others (especially the Lord) for help.

We are often inclined to action when reflection and discernment are more appropriate.

We are usually uncomfortable with open displays of emotion (ours and others).

We may be overly concerned about the opinions of others (What will our buddies think?)

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