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Pope Francis' New Apostolic Exhortation Is Visionary (REVIEW ESSAY)

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) February 14, 2020: On February 3, 2020, I published my OEN article "The Roman Catholic Doctrine of the Real Presence":

click here

At the end of my OEN article, I included a rather wide-ranging reading list of related books.

Then on February 12, 2020, Pope Francis released his new apostolic exhortation titled in Latin Querida Amazonia (Beloved Amazon):

If you liked Pope Francis' 2015 eco-encyclical, which was addressed to all persons of good will, then you should also like his new 2020 apostolic exhortation, which is also addressed to all persons of good will.

If you like the poetry of the Victorian Jesuit classicist and poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889), then you should also like the pope's surprisingly poetic new apostolic exhortation.

For a perceptive discussion of Hopkins, see the American Jesuit polymath Walter J. Ong's book Hopkins, the Self, and God (University of Toronto Press, 1986), the published version of Ong's 1981 Alexander Lectures at the University of Toronto.

As I have just illustrated, I plan to interject associations throughout this entire review essay. For a bibliography of Ong's 400 or so publications, see Thomas M. Walsh's "Walter J. Ong, S.J.: A Bibliography 1929-2006" in the book Language, Culture, and Identity: The Legacy of Walter J. Ong, S.J., edited by Sara van den Berg and Thomas M. Walsh (New York: Hampton Press, 2011, pages 185-245).

For a survey of Ong's life and work, see my book Walter Ong's Contributions to Cultural Studies: The Phenomenology of the Word and I-Thou Communication, 2nd ed. (New York: Hampton Press, 2015; 1st ed., 2000).

Of Ong's 400 or publications, the one that comes closest to capturing much of the spirit of what Pope Francis says in his new 2020 apostolic exhortation is his article "Mass in Ewondo" in the Jesuit-sponsored magazine America, volume 131, number 8 (September 28, 1974): pages 148-151; reprinted in volume four of Ong's Faith and Contexts, edited by Thomas J. Farrell and Paul A. Soukup (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1999, pages 103-110).

As background information regarding Pope Francis' new 2020 apostolic exhortation, I should note here that he hosted the Synod of Bishops on the Amazon held at the Vatican from October 6 - 27, 2019. The preparatory document for the Synod to be held in October 2019 was titled Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology:

In any event, on February 13, 2020, the Roman Catholic columnist Michael Sean Winters published his op-ed commentary "'Querida Amazonia' shows how Francis is looking for deeper change" at the website of the National Catholic Reporter:

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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