Two Jesuit novices both wanted a cigarette while they prayed. They decided to ask their superior for permission. The first asked but was told no. A little while later the other novice spotted his friend smoking and praying. "Why did the superior allow you to smoke and not me?" he asked. His friend replied, "Because you asked if you could smoke while you prayed, and I asked if I could pray while I smoked!"
The Catholic Church needs to revive its loving and tender side, which gets lost when the church becomes too serious, Pope Francis said. The church has ended up with "deviations, sects and heresies when it got too serious, that is, when it took things here too seriously and it forgot about embracing and tenderness," he told representatives of Caritas Internationalis -- the umbrella organization of national Catholic charities around the world. The maternal, tender side of the church is a value "that the mother church cannot lose," he said.
The pope made his comments during a 45-minute informal meeting with Caritas Internationalis' executive committee, its secretary-general, Michel Roy; and its president, Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa. Regional presidents of the Vatican-based umbrella group presented summaries of the situation in their regions. Roy also presented the pope with a small basket of bread to symbolize the more than 1 billion people who go hungry in the world and to highlight a new campaign Caritas will launch this year to fight world hunger.