[LEFT]On the day he was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll marks Pope Francis’ almost unanimous popularity among American Catholics – as well as the continued recovery in their views of the church itself since the worst of its pedophile scandals a decade ago.
Nine months after his elevation to the papacy, a remarkable 92 percent of Catholics express a favorable opinion of Pope Francis, 16 percentage points more than said so about Pope Benedict XVI early this year.[/LEFT]
It astounds me that some ultra trads refuse to acknowledge the undeniable fact that Oapa Francis is so popular both inside and outside the Church. Could it possibly be that spreading the Gospels of the Lord is a breath of fresh air? Mercy trumps rule driven old style Catholic preaching? :shrug:
Regarding your last statement, it is only true if one equates popularity with success. No Pope has it anywhere in his mission to be popular. Their goal is to lead people to Christ in authentic ways. Popularity is nice, but hardly necessary. Parents are rarely popular to children, but they can be effective nonetheless.
Regardless, I don’t think anyone denies our Holy Father is popular. It is obvious. Most faithful Catholics would rate every Pope as favorable, so we get it. I can’t imagine ever not rating any Pope in the last 100 years unfavorably - I love the Church and what the Papacy represents too much. I can’t begin to understand any Catholic who rated Benedict or JP II unfavorably. I honestly think many Catholics who haven’t taken their faith seriously at all are just now paying attention to the Church. I have no idea what they were doing for the previous decade or so, but they should realize pretty quickly that Pope Francis is saying nothing new. They just weren’t paying attention or doing their job as Catholics.
We all hope the Pope (every Pope) is able to foster a return to the Church for lapsed Catholics and an increase in conversions and vocations. I think it is something many Catholics can’t relate to. I myself don’t understand the concept of returning to the Church because of a likable person. The teachings are the same as they were for the past 2000 years. The papacy changes all the time. If I don’t support a groups ideals, I don’t much care who the leader is; likewise, if I support what a group represents, the leader still does not matter.
I look forward to seeing whether or not the popularity results in increased mass attendance, charitable donations, increased confessions, and properly formed consciences when it comes to electing world leaders. It is likely too early in his pontificate to see whether there has been any lasting impact in those areas, and since a majority of Catholics voted for Obama in 2012 just prior to Pope Francis becoming Pope, it will be interesting to see what happens in 2016 as far as properly formed consciences voting.
Ultimately, we all have to love the Church. Pope Francis likely has another decade as our Pope. I hope whatever seeds he is able to sow take root so that when he is gone, those who rate him favorably are not.
Catholic Answers Live had a great quote today. Catholics who receive Confirmation and they disapear were catechized, but never properly evangelized. I would also argue that many were never properly catechized either.
I used to be a Lapsed Catholic because I never learned anything in CCD or at home. I started to fall away after Confirmation, but really fell away in & after college. My college has a campus chapel with Mass, but I didn’t know about approx 3 weeks before I graduated (and the University was in my home Diocess)!
My dad was a Lapsed Catholic my enitre life (just now starting to attend Church every Sunday this year, but in a Protestant Church). My parents didn’t know it was a sin to not attend Church every Sunday. They didn’t know about the obligation of Holy Days. They didn’t know about no meat on Fridays durning Lent (my Dad thought it was a old rule that didn’t exist any more). My parents didn’t believe it was necessary to go to Confession (my one Grandmother - dad’s mom - still doesn’t think Confession is necessary). And when I married outside the Church, without dispensation, I had no idea that I would not be able to receive Communion - and no one in my family knew that either. I’m the oldest of 5 kids. Two of my siblings have become fundamentist protestants and the other two are lapsed Catholics who are both with lapsed Methodists. None of us married a Catholic (and of all my siblings and cousins - 14 in total - only 1 is currently in good standings with the Church).
Today, I’m very devout, but I’m still working on sorting out my marriage (I’m hoping to receive a Radical Sanation since my wife does not want to convalidate our marriage). Pope Francis isn’t the reason I came back, but I do understand where some Lapsed Catholics have been.
I’m slowly trying to educate my mother more regarding the Church. But there are some teachings that she won’t believe me on. Like how attending a Protestant (fundamentalist) service does not fullfill her Sunday obligation or that she needs to attend Confession before receiving Communion. I told her to speak with a priest if she doesn’t believe me. (So please pray for my Mother).
The Church has historiclly depended on parents to teach Children about the Faith. But I will tell you that there are A LOT of parents who know NOTHING about the Church. It’s true that some are well Catechized, but they are not Evanglized. But it’s also true that there are lots who are not even properly Catechized.
If anyone is a Religious Education Director and would like to talk, please feel to PM me. I have lots of ideas regarding how to make Religious Ed better and I can let people know how bad it really is out there for people who grow in an unCatechized and unEvanglized household.
I understand the concern some have with the Pope’s popularity. Some Catholics worry that the Holy Father’s message isn’t understood. I think the vast number of new converts and reverts know exactly what is going on. This is why I love the new Pope so much:
Presentation is everything? Maybe not, but is sure helps! Your boss comes in the office and says, "Your getting the Jones account and a promotion. [She puts a box on your desk and says without looking at you.] “Congratulations, Don’t screw it up.” She knows you won’t screw it up, that your a good worker, or you wouldn’t have gotten the new position. She is just dry, and has a huge workload, just like you.
Better Scenario: After work, downstairs in the lobby restaurant “HappyCat! You truly earned your chance at this account and the promotion. I hope you are as excited as I am about what you can bring to the table, good work!” The new Pope has been packaging his message with love and hope to a world filled with those that need it.
The Holy father has gone out of his way to emphasize helping the poor.
The Holy father has asked Cardinals and Bishops to come back to their parishes and and stop the publicity tours.
Vatican 1 is still in the garage. The Holy father avoids the pomp rightly enjoyed by any head of state in order to demonstrate to the Clergy and Laity, the example of Christ. The Holy Father knows who the Church belongs to.
We may well see sweeping changes in the Curia and other functionaries of the Vatican , a major refocus that has nothing to do with doctrine but has everything to do with the effectiveness of a now bloated bureaucracy. This is the same everywhere. Bureaucracy is like kudzu, it serves a purpose, but must be pruned and tended from time to time.
None of these things have to do with doctrinal changes. They have everything to do with demonstrating the love and message of Christ. This is why Christians and non-Christians all over the world, jaded, after years of government graft and living day to day with little hope are all taking notice.
Oh I get all that, and believe many changes are long over due. But in America for example, we have entire generations raised without a Catholic identity, and raised to believe things that are simply untrue as far as what the Church teaches. For people who fundamentally believe the Church is incorrect on its teaching on contraception, it is going to take nothing short of changing the policy, which will never happen, to woo them.
For those who believe in the right of the state to redefine marriage, they will never be sated unless the Church agrees.
For those who believe socialism is an acceptable as a modern ideology, they will never be happy until 2425 is stricken from the Catechism.
I tend to think the number of people who oppose the Church because of a bloated bureaucracy, a mangled curia, or too much apparent wealth is dwarfed by those who fundamentally disagree with God’s teachings on basic issues like marriage and life because for generations, we have not properly catechized or educated millions of them. It may take another generation of hard work and suffering to undo the damage.
But if it can begin with Pope Francis, I think any Catholic would be on board. I am just skeptical how much the fervor will last when the Pope is faced with making a major public pronouncement on a more touchy issue that poverty (defining marriage), or in 7 to 10 years when we have a new Holy Father. I hope I am wrong though!
I can’t imagine voting “unpopular” as a Catholic for any Pope. Out of respect for the office, and the decision of the Holy Spirit, to say you dislike a Pope in a secular survey to me seems crazy. We may internally all have our personal favorites, but much like a family, I’d keep that in house.