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Pope Francis: My Thoughts on the Man

November 4, 2015

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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.

This post was shared with Theology is a Verb and Reconciled to You.

15 Responses to Pope Francis: My Thoughts on the Man

  • The light of Christ shines in his face, revealing all I need to know! May God continue to bless and protect Pope Francis and leaders of the church around the world.

  • I am often asked by friends and colleagues how I think about Pope Francis and if he is a “good” pope. I tell them not to be influenced by the media’s take or those who think he is going to change things. You summed up my thoughts and feelings beautifully and I will continue to tell anyone who asks that Pope Francis cannot be labeled as conservative or liberal. He is a man of God who is bringing God’s love and mercy to all.

  • Anti Christ? Who says he’s the anti Christ? Probably some lunatic protestants, but they say that about all us Catholics. I have a problem with his understanding of economics and I think it’s a mistake for the Holy Father to get tied into the nuances of an political issue like global warming, but he’s a good pastor and someone to model our behavior on.

    By the way, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the mass in NYC when he was in the country, and I posted a blog on it here:
    http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-papal-mass-christ-in-city.html

    With pictures on this post:
    http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/2015/10/faith-filled-friday-photos-from-papal.html

    • Oh Manny! You should see the negativity being spewed at me over on Google+ in a community called Jesus Christ Daily! Yes it is non-Catholics spewing the hatred, but not all protestants are “lunatic.” There are many good people of all faiths. I think that it is wonderful that we share virtuous behavior with people of all faiths. That is our common ground for starters.

      • Oh please don’t get me wrong. I didn’t say all protestants were lunatics. I know many good protestants. I said, “some,” and some can be, as obviously you’ve encountered.

        • No problem Manny! BTW – Loved your write up on the papal visit in NY. I happened to watch it on TV. I love Cardinal Dolan. I got to see him speak the week before in Charlotte at our Eucharistic Congress. He was great.

  • I love this post! I have those people that think the pope is going to change everything about the Church in my parish. I absolutely adore him! I’m a recent convert, and part of the reason I joined the Church was because I saw him full of love, piety, and peace. Thank you for your post!

  • Great summary and I agree with your observations. I think it’s unfortunate that both sides of the spectrum politicize the man, his words, and the office itself, rather than looking at him for what he does. I wonder if it’s easier for people to hang onto whatever political platform makes them comfortable rather than looking deeper into the theology or philosophy behind the words. I have certainly been guilty of that!

    • Hi Ben: I think you hit the nail on the head, so to speak. Great observation, of which we are all guilty of holding on to what we are familiar with, since as a human race, we are reluctant to change, as change represents the unknown.

  • As a convert, I have to say, this is one of the scary things about being Catholic.
    That Catholics would actually seem to HATE the Pope, whom I just adore. I believe he is a fantastic man who makes me proud as a Catholic and as a human. I have friends from several Protestant religions who just love him.
    I love what you wrote. I will be sharing on FaceBook and social media. This is very well-written.
    Hugs,
    Em

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