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One Year Impact of Pope Francis is Topic

 One Year Impact of Pope Francis is Topic


Time magazine’s “person of the year” also made the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and was written about in The New Yorker — all in the past year. Is this person some political or entertainment world juggernaut? No, it’s Pope Francis.

Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark from the Diocese of Rochester (N.Y.) will lead a discussion about the religious figure who has captivated the world’s attention over the course of the past year on Tuesday, March 18, at SUNY Cortland.

Bishop Clark will address the pope’s outlook on many hot-button issues — such as homosexuality, the role of women and the global sexual abuse crisis in relation to how they stand to impact the future of the Catholic Church — during the talk at 5 p.m. in the Moffett Center, Room 2125.

Presented by the Clark Center for International Education and the O’Heron Newman Catholic Center, the lecture titled “One Year With Pope Francis” is free and open to the public.

Bishop Matthew Clark
Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark

Clark, who was appointed by Pope John Paul II as the eighth bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester in 1979, will bring to the discussion his 33 years of experience and service as the Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester.

 “Nearly a year has gone by since an awe-struck Jorge Mario Bergoglio stepped out onto the veranda at St. Peter’s Basilica and took the name Papa Francesco — ‘Pope Francis,’” said Shawn Allen, director of Catholic Campus Ministry at the O'Heron Newman Center.

Cardinal Bergoglio, the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected by the College of Cardinals on March 13, 2013 to succeed Benedict XVI as the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

“Since his election, Pope Francis’ expression of awe has been reciprocated by many in the international community,” Allen said. “Francis not only serves as the first non-European to be elected pope, but also the first pope elected from South and Latin America, and the first Jesuit to assume this responsibility.

“His simplistic lifestyle, his outspoken fervor on behalf of the poor and marginalized and his compassion has touched the hearts and minds of many.”

The pope has given only two official interviews to journalists, one to America Magazine, a weekly Catholic periodical, and to the affirmed atheist La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper.

“Pope Francis’ commentary on the role of women in the Church, on homosexuality and his criticism of the socioeconomic effect of capitalism and, most recently, his plan to restructure the Curia and the United Nation’s response to the global sex abuse crisis affecting the Church has given much for us to think about,” Allen said. “What will happen next for Pope Francis? What may we expect to happen to the Church?”

Bishop Clark was awarded a licentiate in theology, licentiate in Canon Law and Doctorate in Spirituality from the Gregorian University in Rome.

Before his episcopal ordination, he served as the spiritual director of the North American College in Rome, where he mentored a young Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who is presently Archbishop of New York.

Through his tenure as bishop, Clark has been a significant proponent of lay ecclesial ministry and wrote a book on the subject, Forward in Hope: Saying Amen to Lay Ecclesial Ministry (Ave Maria Press, 2009).

Bishop Clark has tried to support and encourage women in ministry and to bring the joy of Gospel to the marginalized. He was awarded Fordham University’s highest and prestigious award, the 2013 President’s Medal.

For more information, contact Alexandru Balas, Clark Center director or 607-753-4823; or Shawn Allen, at 607-753-6737.