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Boston College Expert: Pope Francis & Evangelii Gaudium

Thomas Groome


(617) 552-8449 (o); (617) 875 5325 (cell);

Thomas Groome is a professor of religious education and pastoral ministry in the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College. His areas of expertise include religious education, the Catholic Church, the papacy, pastoral ministry and spiritual practices. He is the author of numerous books including Catholic Spiritual Practices; Will There Be Faith?What Makes Us Catholic: Eight Gifts for Life, and Educating for Life, A Spiritual Vision for Every Teacher and Parent, among others. Professor Groome is also the primary author of various religious education curricula which are widely used in Catholic schools and parishes.



NOVEMBER 26, 2013

In his first major published work, Pope Francis attacked what he calls the “globalization of indifference,” “unfettered capitalism,” and the “idolatry of money” as he presented his vision for the papacy while urging Catholics to become more compassionate.

“It’s a call for a bold, massive church reform - some people are already comparing it to Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech,” says Professor Thomas Groome of the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College. “It’s Pope Francis laying out his vision for the future of the Catholic Church,” says Professor Groome. “Not only for his own pontificate but for what he thinks the church must become if it is to remain effective and relevant in the contemporary world.”

The 84-page document, issued today, builds on views the pontiff has aired in sermons and remarks since he began leading the 2000-year-old church. It makes clear issues like abortion and women priests are not up for discussion, but also said as the world changes, so too must the church, including the “entrenched hierarchy” of the Vatican.

“One of the most significant things Pope Francis says is the Eucharist cannot be used as a prize for the perfect but must be a medicine for the weak,” says Professor Groome, author of seven books on the Catholic faith including Language for a "Catholic" Church and Sharing Faith: A Comprehensive Approach to Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry.He is obviously hinting at the issue of divorced and remarried Catholics once again being able to receive the Eucharist.”

While calling on politicians to guarantee all citizens a job, healthcare, and education, Pope Francis is also asking the rich to share its wealth, writing: "Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills….How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses 2 points?"

“He just doesn’t want charity, a handout,” says Professor Groome. “He wants justice; he wants us to address the causes of poverty. Why are so many people poor in the first place and why are so many wealthy? He thinks it’s the economic structures that are at fault. Unfettered capitalism he sees as a social sin. And he wants us to stop sinning.”



Media Note: For assistance or to request a source on another topic, please contact Sean Hennessey, BC Office of News & Public Affairs: 617-552-3630 (o); (617) 943-4323 (c)

Contact information for additional Boston College faculty sources on a range of subjects is available at: /offices/pubaf/journalist/experts.html


Sean Hennessey

Associate Director

Office of News and Public Affairs

Boston College

(617) 552-3630 (office)

(617) 943-4323 (cell)