Pope Francis’s recent apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium,” highlighted many of the economic and social justice issues of today’s world and prompted reactions from critics worldwide. William Purcell, associate director for Catholic Social Tradition and Practice at the Center for Social Concerns, said the pope “is not being an idealist, but a realist with ideals.” Purcell said the apostolic exhortation’s contents are both prescriptive and intellectual, focusing largely on pastoral theology and how the Church can engage and shepherd people. “Francis addresses [“Evangelii Gaudium”] to the whole people of God, so not just to the laity, but also to the bishops, clergy and religious,” Purcell said. “He’s talking to the leaders at all levels, including lay leaders … and he’s challenging us to find creative ways to share the key emphasis of God, which is love.” Many of the critiques of and negative reaction to the text are “short-sighted,” Purcell said, misunderstanding the context of the pope’s statements and its background in Catholic Social Tradition. One notable criticism came from talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, who said Francis’s ideas were “pure Marxism” in a Nov. 27 show about the document, titled “It’s Sad How Wrong Pope Francis Is.” Purcell said people should remember that the pope is writing about theology, not ideology. “What he’s really talking about is joy – that’s what ‘gaudium’ means,” Purcell said. “He’s talking about how we’re called to evangelize and that nobody likes a grim do-gooder. “What he’s saying is that we’ve got to be joyful about it, we’ve got to be embracing it. We should attract people by our actions, and so we should be joyful and life-giving.” The apostolic exhortation is the first thing Francis has written completely on his own during his papacy, and Purcell said it presents his vision of what the Church is about, speaking from his position as the head of the institution. “I think it’s exciting because people have been taking notice,” Purcell said. “Some people react to it out of their ideology and not their theology, and people struggle with some of the things he’s talking about.” Purcell said throughout the document, Francis quotes bishops from across the world, as well as past popes and saints. Because of this, the content “isn’t new, but part of our tradition.” “His insight comes from talking about these things in a new style, in an uplifting way, so people see the power of what we’re called to do,” Purcell said. “He becomes so welcoming, so charismatic, and he speaks to the common person. “It doesn’t become esoteric or dense, because he’s speaking to the person in the pew. People can read this and understand it … and I think they get excited by it.” The four main themes of the text are joy, poverty, peace and justice, Purcell said. Beyond the thematic theological elements, Francis “becomes prescriptive and deals with real, concrete ways of addressing problems,” he said. “The beauty of the exhortation is that he writes so well, and he writes so positively and so openly,” Purcell said. “This is a pope who is a Jesuit, so he’s a thinker. There are ideals of things like solidarity and the common good, but he’s being a realist about how we try to address those things. “He gives concrete examples; he names saints or people or particular things so it doesn’t just become words like ‘solidarity,’ but you get the stories and symbols and scripture behind that makes it come alive.” To best utilize the document’s wisdom, Purcell said parishes need to find a way to break it into parts and find pastoral applications for it. “It’s too much to swallow all at one time, because it’s so rich and there’s so much good within it,” he said. “But it’s fun to look at since [Pope Francis is] just so positive, and he speaks so directly. He’s prophetic, but not obnoxious.” Contact Ann Marie Jakubowski at email@example.com
Press Association “Over the course of the season if you want to be a successful team you need to have those options and you need to have players ready to take opportunities,” he told evertontv. “You need to find out as a team how you cope with injuries and suspensions. “Gareth has played in that position before and has experience, Bryan Oviedo is someone comfortable in that position while Tony Hibbert and John Stones can adapt into that role, as can Sylvain Distin. “In that respect we have plenty of options. It is an opportunity for someone to show they can help the team.” On the positive side centre-back Antolin Alcaraz played his first match after almost four months out with a hamstring injury. The Paraguay international has yet to feature in the first team squad since following Martinez from Wigan in the summer but came through a run-out in a friendly. Hibbert, fit again after a spell on the sidelines, and Stones were also involved in the game. “We had a very good exercise on Monday, a friendly behind closed doors against Sheffield Wednesday,” added the Toffees boss. “Antolin played 45 minutes and showed no signs of not being fully fit, which is very pleasing. “He has had a really difficult time and has been fighting strongly to help the team and I don’t think it will be too long until we see Antolin available and in a position where he can help in this heavy period. “We have 10 games in six weeks so we need everyone ready and available. “It was great to see the likes of Antolin, Tony Hibbert and John Stones showing that they are desperate to play.” “Once more it shows you what an incredible character we have as he never wanted to stay in the dressing room, he wanted to help the team but in the end he had to come off,” said the Spaniard. “We have had the news there is a fracture in his phalange in the right foot. “That is still a little bit up in the air as to how long he is going to be out. “It could be up to six weeks but knowing Leighton it will probably be less than that. It is how he reacts to the treatment he is going to have. “It is a real disappointment to lose Leighton for any space of days, never mind weeks.” Such has been the 28-year-old’s permanence in the starting line-up over the last few years there is no ready-made, experienced replacement to step into the breach. Gareth Barry filled in for Baines at left-back, a role he performed intermittently earlier in his career, but it is unlikely the 32-year-old will continue there in the interim such has been his impact in central midfield. Martinez is looking for someone to come in and grasp the chance but knows it will be a challenge for his side to lose a player who has been the Premier League’s best left-back for at least the last two years. Everton manager Roberto Martinez admits the injury to Leighton Baines will be a test of his squad’s depth. The England left-back has been ruled out for up to six weeks with a fractured toe suffered in the first half of in Saturday’s Merseyside derby, which eventually forced him off in the 3-3 draw at Goodison Park. However, Martinez believes the injury further underlined the defender’s character as despite breaking a bone, Baines was determined to play on.