I often get asked by all sorts of people, “So, do you like Pope Francis?”
And I always give the same answer, “Who doesn’t?”
Then I ask, what do you like about Pope Francis?
Varied responses to that question all have one thing in common, fascination and curiosity. Though I find that interesting, I’m not at all surprised.
The media has played a large roll in forming the popular image of Pope Francis. Unfortunately, they have not done such a good job of informing people about what he actually teaches. Reports from the secular press tend to distort the facts, and in doing so, they’ve done an incredible job piquing people’s curiosity about this intriguing pontiff. Now, within the first year of his pontificate, Pope Francis is arguably the most popular person on earth.
That’s a good start. People are not going to follow the pope — follow his words in the news or follow his teaching — if they aren’t even aware of him. Everyone is following this pope in at least one of those ways, because the media cannot ignore him. That means when Francis speaks, people are going to pay attention, and that’s a good thing!
Do you want to follow Pope Francis? I mean, hear what he has to say, when he says it? There’s an easy way to do that. He tweets pretty regularly @Pontifex. (Seriously, Biltrix, who didn’t already know that?) — Are you following him? If you want to know what he has to say, he tells the whole world almost every day. That’s a pretty good reason to get Twitter if you were avoiding it up until now.
Dear young people, let us not be satisfied with a mediocre life. Be amazed by what is true and beautiful, what is of God!—
Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 27, 2014
It isn’t confirmed that he will yet, but apparently Pope Francis wants to come to the United States in 2015. Where will he go? What will he say? I don’t know, but I do know one thing for sure. When he comes — and I hope he does — the whole world will be watching and listening, because that’s what happens when Francis speaks.
On several religious/theology blogs I follow I see a lot of condemnation of this pope by Catholics(the same group that think Vatican II and its resulting change of direction is the work of Satan) attacking him from diverging from the “correct” traditional Catholicism whatever that may be. I am not Catholic but he has people talking and discussing and has brought the relevance of religion back into today’s society which is certainly healthy and exciting in possibility.
He certainly has opened people’s minds up to the values of religion in a positive way, Carl.
I am not ignoring those who are criticizing him in the way that you pointed out, I just don’t want to make that an issue, because for most people, it just isn’t. And I think the Pope himself has done well to respond to that angle of criticism. One the one hand, he has shown that he embraces criticism and he is willing to discuss it. On the other hand, he’s made it clear that Christianity is about the joy of the Gospel, and that is where he wants us all to focus. I’m with him!
It IS kind of ironic that the only people who do seem to criticize him are some groups of Catholics. As you say, everybody else loves him–even when they don’t understand what he just said . . .
We need to reach out to those critics too. I think there is plenty of common ground for dialogue, and there is so much that we all must agree on with his message of Gospel Charity and Joy. I think that has to be the point of departure.
I think so, too.
I believe the “criticism” of Pope Francis by some “groups of Catholics” is far more complex than that inferred by the above comments of Carl d’Agostino and Reinkat.
Personally I have NEVER criticised him, and nor have any of my close friends and bloggers on Catholicism Pure and Simple. We recognise that he is the one chosen by the Holy Spirit to be the Holy Father of our One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and we love and respect him for it.
Pope Francis is loyal and faithful (how could he be otherwise?) to the Church’s never-changing teachings on Doctrine and Dogma. However, many of his “off-the-cuff” statements have caused dismay and surprise to the faithful, especially those who love Catholic tradition and orthodoxy, and this is completely understandable.
It is true that often Pope Franicis’ words – and there are plenty of them – are badly reported or quoted out of context (thereby giving the wrong idea of what he was trying to say) but have you not noticed how the Vatican secretary is CONSTANTLY having to “clean up” after the Pope has spoken to clarify his intended meaning?
This was never the case with our two previous Popes.
Kathleen, thanks for weighing in on this. Your point is incredibly valid. I think what Carl and Reinkat were referring to were more of the ultra-traditional type Catholic, at least that is what I inferred from their comments. That’s not what you are referring to. I know the type of statements from Pope Francis you are referring to and I do understand how they make a lot of people — faithful Catholics who are loyal to the Pope — uneasy.
I have a theory on this. It’s just a theory.
Francis has attracted a lot of media attention because of his “controversial” statements. This in turn has sparked conversation. I really think he wants to spark that conversation.
If his statements need to be clarified, it could be for a number of reasons. One of those reasons could be that he spoke imprudently. Another reason is that people need things cleared up for them when they don’t understand clearly. I think most of the time it is because of the latter. Here is why I think that — this is IMHO.
It has been said that the burden is on the speaker to make himself understood, not on the listener to interpret what the speaker says. Of course, that is true, but it is not entirely true when at times the problem is that people nowadays are not good listeners. That’s a cultural issue and I’m not applying this to any particular individual. Nonetheless, it is a real problem.
The problem consists in this: How do you convey your message to a crowd with deaf ears? How do you get them to pay attention when they think they already know what you have to say before you say it? One has to be provocative, I think. And I think that’s what this Pope has done on certain occasions. He’s being innocently provocative, which necessarily gets a reaction.
Now, again, that’s just IMHO, just a theory, and even if I’m right, that does not mean that people should then agree that the Pope’s provocative statements are right. But I honestly have to think that Pope Francis is not naive — and I could be naive for thinking that. I think he’s very sharp and knows what he’s doing.
Thanks again for your comment, Kathleen. I hope you don’t mind my longwinded response.
I don’t “mind” at all James – and I thank you warmly for taking the time and trouble to explain your “theory” to me of why Pope Francis has produced so many “provocative statements”…. (and also actions BTW.)
Some of these statements of the Holy Father’s have been even hurtful to those Catholics who fight tirelessly in the market place against the evils in the secular world today, who see the saving of souls as our most important mission on Earth, or who have suffered at the hands of militant islamists… and so on. Because many of these “provocative statements” of the Holy Father, have often given Catholics and non-Catholics alike the impression that these are not the highest things on the his agenda.
That may well not be the case of course, but by the very fact that the HF is so popular with the secular world, alarm bells start to go off for those whose struggle to be faithful Catholics has made them extremely UNPOPULAR with the world at large!
You are so right that people are often not good listeners nowadays. With modern technology we are inundated with the ‘noise’ of words, music, messaging etc. wherever we turn. People seem to lack the time, or even the desire, to relax, listen, dialogue – and that is sad. (Maybe it is often the reason why so many also find it difficult to find quiet time to pray.)
Anyway, I find your theory fascinating actually, and I would love it that time and patience should prove you to be right. It would bring many souls to take a further look at the claims of the Catholic Church and perhaps discover the truth of its teachings.
Perhaps indeed our HF is trying to break through our deafness and attract the attention of the masses….. to then “knock them off their horses” with the Truth as Our Blessed Lord did to Saul. 🙂