Beware of Pope Francis

You can’t admire Pope Francis without acknowledging that the path he’s taking demands that we change.

Pope Francis has brought a breath of fresh air to the world’s discourse on all things divine. For those seeking meaning and belonging, he’s repeated the gospel invitation, “Come all you who are weary and I will give you rest.” For those seeking peace and justice, he’s walked the talk by eating and celebrating with people who are homeless and in prison. For those seeking acceptance without moralizing, he’s uttered the words to define a generation, “Who am I to judge?”

Like so many others who value progressive political and religious ideals, I welcome Francis’ proclamations of the beautiful “fragrance of the gospel.” But no one should make the mistake of thinking that Francis is merely shifting the discourse from moral and cultural issues to economic and social ones. That’s only a part of the story.

When he washed the feet of a Muslim convict, he was calling on the world to end the scourge of discrimination. When he invited the homeless to his home, Francis was calling on the world to end the gulf that separates those who have from those who have almost nothing.

Most people are applauding Francis’ call to change the Catholic hierarchy, and many are welcoming his challenge to attack economic inequality. But his call to change isn’t just about the social justice we seek for others or the reform of outdated Catholic insularity. It’s also about the deep and often painful work of changing ourselves from the inside out. The Hebrew prophet Joel captured the challenge of the inner life clearly: “Change your heart, not your garments.” Still, changing one’s heart isn’t easy.

The pope emerges from the Jesuit tradition where the cultivation of the interior life is intense. In Jesuit and countless other spiritually-grounded traditions, the spiritual search is in the stillness of one’s self. Prolonged periods of silence and depth are demanded. Seeking God leads to healing and then aching to heal others.

But there is darkness, too. In spiritual work, one encounters not just God’s unconditional love of each of us, but also one’s pettiness and neediness — the embarrassing underbelly of ego and fear working together to create pride and aggression. In long periods of silence and prayer, most of us find within ourselves a humiliating hunger for prestige, possessions and power. In the spiritual life, most reach the uncomfortable conclusion that we’re the problem that most needs solving. Francis’ self definition speaks to a man who knows darkness: “I am a sinner.”

What many love in Francis are the words of a man who has undergone deep and painful change. And you shouldn’t love Francis without also admitting that most of us fall far short of undergoing that kind of change ourselves.

If we pause to look beneath the surface of a few of Francis’ most celebrated moments, his challenge is clear.

When he embraced the young man with severe disabilities, he was calling on the world to change its approach to how we value human life by putting the most vulnerable at the center. To do so, each of us needs to become more vulnerable ourselves. That’s not easy or  comfortable.

When he washed the feet of a Muslim convict, he was calling on the world to end the scourge of discrimination. To do so, each of us needs to face our own prejudices, be they ethnic, social or personal — and most prejudices are deeper than many of us care to admit.

When he invited the homeless to his home for his birthday, Francis was calling on the world to end the gulf that separates those who have from those who have almost nothing. To do so, the guest list at almost every party in Washington would have to change. Those who have no need for power over others should have an urgent longing to welcome those who are victims of power. Most of us have a lot of work to do to achieve that level of solidarity.

The initial praise for Francis may not endure. Prophets often enjoy popularity until people hear the full depth of their challenge. People on the political right are already distrustful because the pope, like many mystics, seems to be abandoning certainty and trusting in the spirit that “blows where it will.” Order and control are at risk. The layers of conformity are being peeled away and what might emerge is uncertain.

But the left should be equally nervous because the spirit also invites a firm faith in the divine. It is not elitist. It is not arrogant. It does not come with doctorates in policy and economics and the sciences. It dethrones every kind of power. Its only principle is life—the more vulnerable the more beautiful. It only makes sense with an embrace of faith.

It is that faith in the goodness of God and that freedom in the spirit that are at the heart of Francis’ example—the man of God who embraces those with disabilities, those with no home, those who are strangers among us. Beware, lest we miss the full challenge to each of us of a faith like his.

Timothy Shriver
Written by

  • Doug Wilkening

    So true. Every word.

    • dorkyman

      Ah, so the author’s fond of “progressive” politics, eh? Homosexual marriage and abortion rights are cool with him?

      Sorry, friend. You’re departing from the traditions of all cultures over thousands of years. One day the pendulum will swing back. Take care to avoid being hit.

    • In All Fairness

      What does this mean then?
      ‘…….Francis was calling on the world to end the gulf that separates those who have from those who have almost nothing.’
      Also Catholic Churches are one of the richest organizations in the world that can end poverty. What is the Pope doing about it?

      • Doug Wilkening

        In the USA, Catholic Charities is the second largest provider of charitable and social services, second only to the US federal government. I’m not a fan of the Catholic Church in all respects, but one must give them their due. No other NGO exceeds Catholic charitable work in magnitude.

        I think Francis’ point was that no agency, no matter how large, can by itself end poverty. In fact, the legacy of Lyndon Johnson was to show that not even the world’s largest superpower, acting programatically through its agencies, can win a “war on poverty.” Francis’ point was that it will take a fundamental change in human hearts and a change in society’s values such that people are valued over material goods and “toys”.

        One big reason that the US government’s war on poverty continues to fail is that US voters, as a group, do not value the fight against poverty when it competes for resources against other priorities, such as preparation for war, for example. Thus, only a change in the hearts of large numbers of people will ever make a difference.

        Religious leadership is primarily about changing hearts, not primarily about donating money.

        • Joseph Lammers

          Perhaps, but another reason for the failure of the US government’s war on poverty is that in many cases instead of actually helping people out of poverty it makes them dependent. If merely throwing money at the problem (and I’m not saying money isn’t necessary, it is) were the answer poverty would have been ended years ago, at least in the US.

  • Bonnie Beard

    thank you for penning this. there are few things harder in a life of privilege than ‘walking the talk’ and emulating those values and ethics so easily espoused.

  • http://sheridanvoysey.com/ Sheridan Voysey

    Well put, Tim. Thank you. The challenge is indeed there.

  • William Wilcock

    But he is still head of an organization whose medieval stance on contraception is perhaps the surest recipe to ensure abject poverty and suffering across the world. Doesn’t seem very progressive to me.

    • jaimjackson

      Medieval? You don’t know the half of it. Opposition to contracepted sex acts, goes back as far as Genesis. That’s a who-o-ole lot older than “medieval”.

      • Lynne Newington

        Well I recal one pope saying “who are we to understand such things, we who are celibate”,
        maybe John Paul 1.

        • In All Fairness

          In all fairness he was only speaking for himself.

      • William Wilcock

        True but the Catholic Church didn’t exist then and only got active promoting these ideas a few centuries after Christ – only a little before the end of the Roman empire and start of medieval age.

    • Kiki Fogg

      Because, of course, unless he’s 100% progressive on EVERY issue, he shouldn’t be praised at ALL, right? One strike & he’s out, eh? How enlightened of you.

      • William Wilcock

        Let’s encourage poor and poorly educated people to have lots of children who will nearly all be destined for poverty since their families, their countries and ultimately the planet cannot support them, and then chastise those in power for not looking after the poor. Birth control is the ONE issue where an enlightened Catholic church could make the most difference.

        • Lynne Newington

          If I thought you weren’t just having a go at the church and not sincere I would agree with most of what you have said.

          • William Wilcock

            I am sincere. The Pope is clearly a very humble and impressive man but to my mind he lacks much moral authority to speak to secular leaders about poverty while his Church could take a very simple (and in most educated Catholics opinion a morally reasonable) step to reduce it.

          • Lynne Newington

            As I’ve said before about this new found humility……when Argentina returned to a democracy everyone scrambled for a new identity [or stole someone else’s,] that included the hierarchy there and in the Vatican.
            There’s still a lot going on behind closed doors about corruption and money laundering they need to sort out. As it stands, the Vatican is not worthy of handling any finances in the name of God, recalling the blood money it received during military rule in Argentina and others dictatorships.
            Then the poor will have a chance.

    • In All Fairness

      In all fairness it didn’t seem very progressive to the Nun that had a baby recently.

  • jwfs

    Thank you Tim. “Firm faith in the divine” Yes! Carry on your good work.

  • Fr. Richard Jones

    Unfotunately, many only go as far as to change their garments. But Pope Francis challenges us all to our very core, to put to death the old man on the cross with Christ, and to be transformed into His image. What we are truly witnessing in Pope Francis is not merely the good works of a religious man, but we are witnessing Christ who has taken up permanent and active residence in the heart and soul of the man, and transformed him into the very image of Himself.

    • Lynne Newington

      He became very different person after a change of government in Argentina in 1983, he’s a very astute politician and knows how to work the crowd.
      I shudder at the adulation I’m sorry.

      • Fr. Richard Jones

        So, you are going to judge him by something that occurred 31 years ago? I judge him by the works he is doing now, which is the standard we are to biblically judge by, and by which God will judge him. (Mat.16:27, 5:16, Eph. 2:10, 2Tim. 3:17, Titus 2:14, 3:8, Heb. 10:24, James 2:18, 20, 22, 26, 3:13,)

        • Lynne Newington

          It happened at a point in time, and there are still a lot answered questions, he still has mothers and grandmothers looking for their sons and daughters.
          Considering the dicatorship was financially supporting the church and they chose the prelates in conjunction with the Vatican, that should be enough to sound the warning bells.
          Catholic human right activists don’t exhonorate him and more than one went to their grave still fighting for the cause of justice for their fellow Argentinians.
          So far only one cleric has been charged falling on his sword protecting the rest of the cowards.
          Quote as much scripture as you like, one and one make two as far as I’m concerned, unless referring to the Holy Trinity.
          One activist, Professor Nancy Scheper-Hughes asks the same question, Can God forgive Mario Jorje Bergoglio, Emellio Mignone another kept records too, both well respected in their own right, the latter connected to the United Nations.
          You would do well to do a little research, [the libraries would be a good a good start] as thoroughly as we’re told to search the Scriptures instead of just taking everything on face value like so many others, but that takes time and energy…..

          • Fr. Richard Jones

            All you have is a false and broadly assumptive humanist narrative, coupled with an imaginary conspiracy theory perpetuated by a UCLA radical feminist and left wing anthropologist. Sad. Scheper-Hughes has no serious credibility among anybody, except among radical and elitist quasi-intellectuals.

          • Lynne Newington

            Better than being caught up in the mentality of a supernatural priesthhood hiding behind flowing paraphernalia.

          • Fr. Richard Jones

            The author of this piece, Tim Shriver has more credibility in his pinky finger than Scheper-Hughes will ever hope to have. As for me, say what you will, but my hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ, not in any human intellect. I will worship the Creator, not the creation as Scheper-Hughes would have us all do.

          • Lynne Newington

            With all due respect to Tim, he can’t be blamed as with others with these issues buried under the fanfare of media hype.
            Argentinians lived through those years and the sufferings and it’s all very well to identify with the cross, but that’s not how heaven sees it with all those souls crying out for justice.
            All hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ, but he expects us to have the courage to be up front and that derives from that hope, not making excuses.

          • Roberta Lavin

            Fr. Jones is it necessary to disagree and make you point without labeling people? Most feminist are good people, most left wing are good people, and all conspiracy theories aren’t false. We can discuss the facts and dispel conspiracy theories without name calling.

  • Maggie Goff

    You hit the nail on the head. Totally.

  • John Bridgeland

    Both the title and the piece are compelling. What a world we would have if everyone took up such a challenge. Thanks for all you do through Special Olympics and in other ways to wage peace.

  • Rational Conclusions

    Pope Francis, nice guy but is hampered by a flawed theology and history. Added details are available.

    • Kiki Fogg

      “Added details are available.” To my knowledge, there’s no character limit on Disqus; why don’t you go ahead & add those details in the first place instead of baiting people for feedback? Or is the feedback all you really care about?

      • Rational Conclusions

        I added the details and apparently it was too extensive and did not get approved. Will try a shorter version later.

        • Rational Conclusions

          See Professor Gerd Ludemann’s review in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 197-198, ” The passage (Matt 16: 18) was put into the mouth of Jesus by Peter himself or his followers and subsequently predated by Matthew into the life of Jesus. It is inauthentic.”

          • Rational Conclusions

            Addressing a small segment of the flawed Christian theology:

            With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

            : As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,
            o
            p.4
            o “Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God’s hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus’ failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing.”

            o p.168. by Ted Peters:
            Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. ”

            o So where are the bones”? As per Professor Crossan’s analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

          • BooBooGlass

            Ted Peters!? THE Ted Peters? Why didn’t you say so earlier? I mean, 2000 years of tradition, thousands of holy people, documented miracles, saints whose bodies have not decayed… that’s one thing, but, TED PETERS!?

          • Rational Conclusions

            Please reread, Peters was quoting two NT scholars.

    • Lynne Newington

      Don’t expect any laurels for bringing that to light.

  • Mack

    I love and obey the Bishop of Rome; you, Mr. Shriver, not so much. And ditch the “breath of fresh air.” That sort of filler leads to “hit the nail on the head.”

  • http://RickMK.com/ Rick Kephart

    I think the reason why people on the political right are distrustful is because up until now they had no idea of what the Catholic social principles are, which have been taught consistently by the popes since Leo XIII in the 19th century. The Catholic position is in opposition to both the Republican/Capitalist and Democrat/Socialist positions (both the Right and the Left), because both are just as materialistic.

    Pope Francis, more than any of the previous popes, is teaching Catholic social principles as much in his actions as in his words. That’s what’s finally making people take notice! And a lot of people are just beginning to realize that Catholic social principles are not quite what they had always thought they were.

    • Rational Conclusions

      The problem is that said social principles are not backed by the RCC’s theology with the biggest error being the resurrection. No one has risen from the dead and none ever will. Added details are available.

    • Lynne Newington

      Left or right, our social principles haven’t done much for us as far as the abuse of hundreds of thousands of our children, or the children who have been fathered by clergy, whether diocesan or religious orders and this pope has done his fair share of following the principles laid down by the church.

    • In All Fairness

      Tony Abbott is the Prime Minister of Australia and Catholic. Most of Australia distrusts him.

  • MarcusRegulus

    As usual, Yanks will try and impose their political categories on Francis. And the commercial-hedonist-serving media will try and call him to heel (as they have so many politicians). When he does not respond with groveling (as have so many politicians), they will try to vilify in order to make him ineffectual.

    It won’t work, and they will become more frustrated as they will never realize that the heir of 2000 years of faith (what’s that, they say) will not be swayed by the ephemeral rantings of American demagoguery.
    Yes, Francis IS dangerous. Very dangerous.

    • Rational Conclusions

      No he is not as his job is dependent on erroneous history and in fifty years, the papacy will be defunct.

      • MontyBurnz

        Defunct? Why?

        Your outlandish assertion without an argument is completely ridiculous, at least put some effort into your wishful thinking and come up with some premises from which you derive your anti catholic biggoted conclusions.

        The Catholic Church survived the persecution of Nero and Domatian, defended itself against the Barbarians, the Ottoman Turks and the Arab Caliphate of the Middle Ages. It survived the assault of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth and the Protestant reformers and nobles which stole their lands and undermined there authority. The Church survived the persecution of the French Revolution and Napoleon that renamed the cathedral of Notre Dame, the Temple of Reason. It survived the ideological attacks of Marx, Nietzche and Freud. It survived the persecution of the atheistic totalitarian dictatorships of Hiter and Stalin who sought to assasinate the “man in white” as has been revealed by declassified KGB documents.

        So why do you think the papacy will be defunct in fifty years, having survived 2000 years of all out military, political and ideological assaults?

        • Rational Conclusions

          I presented the details but somehow it got locked in “awaiting moderation”. Strange since there are no offensive words.

          • MontyBurnz

            I hear crickets..

          • Rational Conclusions

            OK, lets try this in parts to see if it passes the moderator’s review:

            Did Jesus establish a church? No he did not based on the lack of historical and theological proof e.g. “Thou art Peter” (Matt 16: 18-19) passage only appears in one gospel and therefore its lacks any attestation verification.

          • Rational Conclusions

            Matthew, whoever he was, should therefore be considered a part founder/”necessary accessory” of the Catholic Church, as was Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James his brother, Mary Magdelene, Mary, Joseph and another father if you believe the mamzer stories, the Apostles and Pilate. It was a team effort with Pilate being the strangest “necessary accessory”.

          • Rational Conclusions

            See also Professor Gerd Ludemann’s review in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 197-198, ” The passage (Matt 16: 18) was put into the mouth of Jesus by Peter himself or his followers and subsequently predated by Matthew into the life of Jesus. It is inauthentic.”

          • Rational Conclusions

            I also added a web page reference from Faith Futures but that did not get past the word filter. Strange !!

          • MontyBurnz

            so you believe the apostles made up christianity and the divinity of Jesus in order to burned alive by Nero to light up his gardens and be persecuted and tortured for almost 300 years. Got it. Makes no sense at all.

          • Rational Conclusions

            Might want to read Father Raymond Brown’s book, An Introduction to the New Testament, an excellent review (over 800 pages) to include who wrote the NT. It was not the Apostles.

          • Rational Conclusions

            And being a martyr for a cause is not a proof of truth. Muslim terrorists do it every day. And many of the so-called Christian martyrdoms are embellished or are legends.

          • Rational Conclusions

            Then there is this:

            Christian economics 101:

            The Baptizer drew crowds and charged for the “dunking”. The historical Jesus saw a good thing and continued dunking and preaching the good word but added “healing” as an added charge to include free room and board. Sure was better than being a poor peasant but he got a bit too zealous and they nailed him to a tree. But still no greed there.

            Paul picked up the money scent on the road to Damascus. He added some letters and a prophecy of the imminent second coming for a fee for salvation and “Gentilized” the good word to the “big buck” world. i.e. Paul was the first media evangelist!!! And he and the other Apostles forgot to pay their Roman taxes and the legendary actions by the Romans made them martyrs for future greed. Paul was guilty of minor greed?

            Along comes Constantine. He saw the growing rich Christian community and recognized a new tax base so he set them “free”. Major greed on his part!!

            The Holy Roman “Empirers”/Popes/Kings/Queens/Evangelicals et al continued the money grab selling access to JC and heaven resulting in some of today’s richest organizations on the globe i.e. the Christian churches (including the Mormon Church) and related aristocracies. Obvious greed!!!

          • Lynne Newington

            You forgot to mention he changed the sabbath [to separate the Christians from the Jews] leading the way for the majority of Christian churches……
            then as an act of cowardice he waited until his death was imminet before being baptised…..hedging his bets just in case.

          • MontyBurnz

            Why would people make up a religion and then be willing to be eaten by lions and strapped to poles and burned alive to light Nero’s garden for something they knew was false?

            All you arguments are rather poor and historically very ignorant.

          • wrecktafire

            The evidence is abundant. For example, go into the catacombs, and look. Or read Josephus. Or look at the dozens of scriptural references that elevate Christianity above the role of mere individual moral code: the command to teach, the granting of the power to forgive sins, the references to ordination, the institution of the eucharist, the command to be unified, the caution against just getting ones faith from scripture (!), and the references to the early church services in Acts. And that is only the beginning.

            The funny thing about evidence is that if we don’t want to believe, we can always demand more evidence that we know is not there, or quote some credentialed, professional doubter who is similarly impervious to the weight of historical evidence.

      • Joseph Lammers

        Those who imagine themselves to be more rational than most of us (such as yourself) have been making such predictions for hundreds of years. The papacy has been around for 2 millennia, and will be here long after you (and I) are gone.

        • Lynne Newington

          Yes but the papacy hasn’t been brought to account for as many.

          • Joseph Lammers

            For as many what? The individual popes are men, and are thus, as are all of us, imperfect, and many of them have needed to be “brought to account” for many things. Of course the body trying to bring them to account right now, the UN, is so notably corrupt, politicized, and dysfunctional that I hardly think it is the body suited to bring the papacy to account.

          • Lynne Newington

            Individual popes are men and thus imperfect…….one wouldn’t think so, especially at this point in history, they have the present one almost walking on water which is very unhealthy for him and ultimately for us.

          • Joseph Lammers

            There seems to be an almost universal impulse to adulate our leaders and make more of them than they could humanly be. This impulse is not limited to the papacy. During the Nazi era in Germany, for instance, an oft heard phrase from some Germans who were appalled by what was going on was “if only the Fuhrer knew!” Of course, the Fuhrer did know. I’m not comparing most of our leaders (and certainly not Pope Francis, who seems to be a good pope generally) to Hitler, but it does illustrate this almost universal tendency.

          • Doug Wilkening

            Godwin’s Law (check it out on Wikipedia). According to the international rules of internet debate, Joseph has godwinned out, and now automatically loses the argument.

          • Joseph Lammers

            Don’t think it really applies in this case. I wasn’t comparing any other poster’s views to the Nazis, or anything similar. It was just a point to illustrate this almost universal human trait. I could have easily used the same point with the last Czar of Russia in the waning years of his reign. Unlike Hitler Nicholas II was actually a decent man who didn’t deserve his fate, unless you think incompetence should be punished by death. I believe you are over emphasizing the letter of the law vs. its spirit.

          • Lynne Newington

            It’s all a murky business…….

          • In All Fairness

            Dangerous not to mention sexist. It is about time there was a female Pope.

          • Lynne Newington

            In All Fairness, who would want to be.
            If God ordained them it would be another matter, who could deny God?

  • Rational Conclusions

    Now for some economics that control the words of many heads of “non-profits”:
    Special Olympics

    CEO’s salary at the Special Olympics, is $235,514 which includes benefits. Twelve other directors/managers make on average $175,000.

    Special Olympics has/had $38,145,655 invested in the Christmas Records Trust. Said trust apparently lost $18,757,600 in value in the 2007-2008 time period

  • Bernice Maminski

    Definition of the Pope: A grown man running around in a costume playing make-believe.

  • Win Stanley

    Conservative, Tea Party esque Presbyterian here. This Pope understands Christian humility and all it requires. I don’t agree with him on all things, (obviously), but his complete integrity looms large on a world stage in which so many “leaders” are simply venal, hair shirts for thee, hupokritos.

  • deehra

    As one who enjoyed the privilege of a Jesuit education, I am amused by those who wish to think this Pope is some sort of radical. In truth, he is really a very, very sincere and loving Jesuit, as are most in that Order.

    • Rational Conclusions

      Sincere yes but also brainwashed in the resurrection, trinity, atonement, eucharist, heaven, papal infallibility and angelc cons. Added details are available.

      • deehra

        I get it, you disapprove of Catholicism, fine, enjoy that position. I’m sure you earned it.
        Meanwhile, let others enjoy their point of view, as long as it does you no harm.

      • Lynne Newington

        In all it’s beauty the faith does fulfill what you have mentioned, unfortunately one has to separate themselves from all the contradictions and hypocrisy.
        We would all have clean slates like Francis if we became pope.
        History has condemned and is alive and well in his country of origin even with all the PR, the problem is, no one can read Spanish……..

  • fuchsiaribbons

    We have no Catholic Church. It was eviscerated by Vatican I and II – What Francis is is a Marxist Presbyterian – the Catholic Church has hollowed its core and Francis represents that – he is a dimwit on economics and opened his mouth without checking facts – he refuses to stand tall on abortion horrors – the American “leaders” of the Catholic Church such as Dolan stupidly and ignorantly praise Islam saying the Catholic religion had much in common with Islam when, in fact, the Catholic religion has NOTHING in common with Islam, which is a religion of male power, female subordination, and death.
    Notre Dame – the university of OUR LADY – invited Obama to speak and gave him an honorary degree – OBAMA WHO SUPPORTS ABORTION ON DEMAND AND INFANTICIDE – Notre Dame gave him an honorary degree???!!! – Georgetown might as well be the Public U of D.C. – it’s Catholic identity hollowed by liberal ideology. The Catholic Church has surrendered all moral and ethical power – its predatory priests hidden and protected by cowardly bishops – the money for Catholic schooling for inner city kids was thrown away paying off lawsuits against disgusting behavior by priests – Francis is nothing to me – absolutely nothing. He is not a leader of any moral or ethical courage – as a matter of fact, The Catholic Church has none – the world has none – we are living in an age of Bambi Balls and frittered flitting “how do you feel about sin” crapola. Stop with the nonsense BS that passes as any kind of critical analysis – this might as well be the Democrat Liberal “media” of the USA -

  • DorothyPalmer

    The Roman Catholic Church has done so much damage over the centuries– killing thousands upon thousands in pope led wars and inquisitions, burning at the stake, having popes with bastard children whom they then named cardinals, changing liturgies they said were unchangeable, denying priestly orders to bastard men for centuries, denying roles of authority to women, actually withholding food from destitute parishoners while their bishops live in high style warmly ensconced in ermine, frills, and satin– it goes on and on. And then this guy comes forward and expects all this to be forgotten? LOL He can go to hell.

    • Rational Conclusions

      Again for the new members:

      To be fair:

      Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e. the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      Added details available upon written request.

      A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

      e.g. Taoism

      “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

      Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. “

    • Lynne Newington

      Things haven’t changed much in relation to children unless they’re homosexual, …….blood still runs in their veins, they’re still there only we don’t hear of it anymore unless one or two slip through the cracks.
      Those of clerical dad’s further down the line, are coerced into denying them by working on the disoriented mothers forced to relinquish their rights, even when the father’s in good conscience have requested rescrips of their vows[Canon 1139] and been denied.

  • Morgan Smith

    I like how he attacks prejudice and understands how judgmental much of the world has become and then promptly falsely stereotypes and prejudicially categorizes his real target: the “left”.

    • Lynne Newington

      He kows how judgemental the world has become because he’s living it, no so much in the western world but in Latin America where his past is still fresh in their minds and on their lips.

  • Paul Udstrand

    I’m puzzled by your warning to the left. As an Atheist and a leftist I wouldn’t expect any Pope to challenge Catholics with “weak” shallow faith. Faith in God is not an unusual expectation amongst religious people, and many people on the left are religious. In fact Pope Francis appears to espousing a variation on Liberation Theology which always enjoyed considerable support from the “left”. I remind you, it wasn’t leftists who killed Archbishop Romero in El Salvador and Romero was killed because of his affiliation with the leftist. Unless your talking about actual Marxists, and even then Atheism isn’t actually a primary principle of Marxism. Marx’s “opium” comment wasn’t actually a call for Atheism, it was merely an observation that power structures had a history of using religion and church structures as a means of controlling populations to their advantage. This was specially true in Imperial Russia. At any rate I don’t why anyone on the left would have a problem with decent people who believe in God and treat other people with dignity and respect.

    • Lynne Newington

      You’re right about Romero, and this newfound liberation of Francis is something new.
      As a matter of interest for me was, revolutionist and Argentinain son Che Quavera was a Marxist and a Communist, the reason for the reluctance for him to receive recognition for his fight against the dictaorship in Cuba.
      The dirty war was yet to come in his homeland and he would undoubtedly have been one for the dicatorship of the day to reckon with.

  • Roberta Lavin

    How could anyone listen to Pope Francis and not realize he is speaking not just to the leadership but to each of us. When he refers to a Church of the poor and for the poor he did not say a church of poor religious and Priests. One day soon we will all be asked to live our lives in a way that reflects more than just words.