Pope Francis seems to be beloved by many. At the same time, some accuse him of being the Anti-Christ. Those who believe that Pope Francis is the Anti-Christ believe that he will change Church teaching and lead us down the road to Perdition. I have found that most people who take this stance are arch-conservatives, steeped in Tradition, finding Pope Francis too liberal for their liking. These are people who don’t like change. They find the old ways appropriate, because that is what they know to be true. Francis’ approach to finding new ways of reaching the marginalized and oppressed has left these arch-conservatives in fear of Church teaching changing. Yet, Pope Francis has not changed one iota of Church teaching to date, and it doesn’t look like he ever will.
With that in mind, I paid close attention to Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, so that I could come to better understand the man. I am a firm believer that actions speak louder than words. I watched all the coverage and listened to all of his homilies/speeches.
So just exactly what did I observe? I saw…
…Faith in God when presiding over the Masses
…Hope for unity by building a “bridge” between Cuba and the United States
…Love for others when kissing babies
…Gentleness in his embrace of those in wheelchairs
…Kindness in his eyes when he waved to the massive crowds
…Forgiveness and Mercy when visiting those in prison
…Humility and Compassion in service of the homeless
…Truth and Tact when speaking to the U.S. joint session of Congress
…Gratitude expressed for the warm welcome extended to him
…Joy emanate from him in all that he did
…Piety, not an Anti-Christ
Everyone felt the electricity of his visit. People from all over were drawn to be in attendance, just to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis. The press was calling Pope Francis’ visit the Francis phenomenon; where the press seemed unable to adequately articulate why this man has such a positive impact on people. Well, the answer is virtue. The people were not necessarily drawn to the man, Pope Francis, but to the goodness that emanates from him. People are naturally drawn to the good. Why? Because that’s how God made all of us to be: drawn to the good. God is the Supreme Good. The more virtuous a person is, the more people are drawn to that person. The more virtuous a person is, the more Christ-like the person. To be Christ-like is to move away from sin, for Christ and sin are polar opposites. So to all those who worry that Pope Francis is the Anti-Christ, I think you need to look elsewhere, and begin trusting more in the Holy Spirit. Why? For two reasons: 1) The Holy Spirit knew what He was doing by selecting Pope Francis to become Peter’s successor, and 2) the Holy spirit will always preserve the Deposit of Faith for His church.
That’s my opinion, what’s yours? Feel free to opine in the comments section. I ask that you “be virtuous” by keeping your comments civil and respectful.