Pope Francis, in revolutionizing the Catholic church, is as radical as he is orthodox:

This is probably one of the more balanced articles that I’ve read on the Holy Father. It comes from a newspaper that is rarely mentioned.

Francis is orthodox, all right. He has reasserted the church’s “clear” teaching on abortion and said he could not do otherwise. “I am a son of the church,” he explained. But he is an orthodox searcher who wants to share the journey with anyone of goodwill (including nonbelievers) who takes the quest for truth seriously. “Who am I to judge?” he replied when asked his view of those who are gay. For so many, judging is what a pope does for a living. Francis did not change church doctrine with his statement. He merely changed virtually everything about how we see the role of a supreme pontiff.

Full article here

I’m rather shocked that EJ Dionne would write such an article, although there are some meh points.

As an outsider looking in, I do not see a revolution. Pope Francis isn’t doing anything different than his predecessors. He is only using a different approach, one which suits his personality.

I think people on the whole are getting a little carried away. This wouldn’t concern me except for the fact that when a person is placed on such a high pedestal, they have a long way to fall. I am not saying the Pope will fall, but he will eventually say or do something which makes people (the media, liberal organizations, etc.) unhappy and they will turn on him like rabid dogs. I actually worry for the Pontiff in this regard.

This is an Opinion piece, representing significant distortions about Catholicism and the papacy. Hopefully, serious seekers into Catholicism who may be visiting this forum will seek genuine sources for their information about the One True Church and not from journalists who write sensationally for purposes of sales and to puff up their own online profile.

Yeah, we’re kind of waiting for it to happen as well. As soon as they realize that he’s authentically Catholic, and that he’s going to continue upholding everything the Church teaches, it’s going to get ugly fast…

Elizabeth502…you said this article is “representing significant distortions about Catholicism and the papacy”…I didn’t see the distortions. Would you please write more about where the distortions are in the article?

Some people may be disappointed and if Pope Francis makes does help the poor not only from the global south but in the US and Western Europe also some people will be disappointed. I am routing for the him.

And some, like with some of Chrystostom’s followers under originally mistaken pretenses, may just very well stay.

I found the article extremely well written and yet was unable to discern a point. I agree with almost everything in it and so am sure it is brilliant. :smiley:


JReducation #1
This is probably one of the more balanced articles that I’ve read on the Holy Father.
Thus has he linked his words with a series of actions eschewing a regal style of living to underscore his commitment to building “a poor church for the poor.”

Such a pity that some real problems were clouded or evaded. Such imprecision is foreign to Bl John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Reference has been made to *Pope Francis and Poverty *by Samuel Gregg November 26, 2013 8:08 PM, at

There is praise of Pope Francis here, but very important problems arise which cannot just be glossed over. I quote on the serious problems identified in this Apostolic Exhortation:

  1. ‘To be very frank (which Francis himself is always encouraging us to be), a number of claims made by this document and some of the assumptions underlying those statements are rather questionable.

‘…the pope’s remark that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence” (253). As one of the most authoritative Catholic commentators on Islam, Pope Francis’s fellow Jesuit Samir Khalil Samir (who is no knee-jerk anti-Muslim), writes in his *111 Questions on Islam *(2002), Westerners who assert that groups like the Taliban are acting in a manner contrary to the spirit of Islam “usually know little about Islam.”

  1. ‘My purpose, however, is to focus upon some of the many economic reflections that loom large throughout Evangelii Gaudium and which are, I’m afraid, very hard to defend. In some cases, they reflect the straw-man arguments about the economy that one encounters far too often in some Catholic circles, especially in Western Europe but also in Latin America.

‘Prominent among these is the pope’s condemnation of the “absolute autonomy of markets” (202). If, however, we follow Evangelii Gaudium’s injunction (231–233) to look at the realities of the world today, we will soon discover that there is literally no country in which markets operate with “absolute autonomy.”

  1. ‘Another claim made by Evangelii Gaudium that warrants scrutiny is that certain ideologies “reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control” over the economy (56). But outside the minuscule world of anarcho-capitalists (who exert zero influence upon public policy), this simply isn’t the position of those who favor free markets today (let alone past advocates like Adam Smith).

‘…we find Francis critiquing those who “continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.”

‘There are several problems with this line of reasoning. First, opening up markets throughout the world has helped to reduce poverty in many developing nations. East Asia is a living testimony to that reality — a testimony routinely ignored by many Catholics in Western Europe (who tend to complain rather self-centeredly about the competition it creates for protected Western European businesses and other recipients of corporate welfare) and a reality about which I have found many Latin American Catholics simply have nothing to say.

‘Second, it has never been the argument of most of those who favor markets that economic freedom and free exchange are somehow sufficient to reduce poverty.

  1. ‘It hardly need be said that rule of law (mentioned not once in Evangelii Gaudium) is, to put it mildly, a “challenge” in most developing nations. The lack of rule of law not only ranks among the biggest obstacles to their ability to generate wealth on a sustainable basis, but also hampers their capacity to address economic issues in a just manner. Instead, what one finds is crony capitalism, rampant protectionism, and the corruption that has become a way of life in much of Africa and Latin America.

  2. ‘Francis adds that some people today find any mention of the distribution of income to be “irksome” (203).
    I don’t find discussions of wealth distribution to be bothersome at all. Catholics, other Christians, and other people of good will should, in my view, enter enthusiastically into such debates. Because it is precisely through these conversations that it can be pointed out that — as Evangelii Gaudium seems, alas, unaware — many poverty-alleviation methods that involve redistribution (such as foreign aid) are increasingly discredited. As the economist and historian of the Federal Reserve Allan Meltzer put it, one of the 20th century’s economic lessons is that “transfers, grants and redistribution did little to raise living standards in Asia, Latin America and Africa.” In other words, the standard wealth-redistribution policies that are often regarded as indispensable to poverty alleviation have failed to achieve their goals. Hence it behooves all Catholics to ask ourselves why such approaches have failed if we’re going to have a serious conversation about wealth and poverty in the modern world.’

  3. ‘And attention to particular realities about economic life is precisely what’s missing from parts of Evangelii Gaudium’s analysis of wealth and poverty. If we want “the dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good” to be more than what the pope calls a “mere addendum” to the pursuit of “true and integral development” (203), then engaging more seriously the economic part of the truth that sets us free would be a good start.’

The precision and depth of both Bl John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI need to be emulated.

Yes I feel sorry for TIME magazine, they may come to regret making him Person of the Year. xD

I only follow the Pope on twitter, and everything he tweets is as Catholic as Catholic can be. I can proudly say that I haven’t read a single news article on him yet and I plan on keeping it that way. :thumbsup:

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage, and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible,” he said in one of the most widely cited parts of his interview, published the Jesuit magazine America. “I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. . . . The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent.”


Much of the premise of the article is absurd. A real problem that we’re facing today is that the Papacy has been reduced to a cult of personality, and whoever the current Pope is becomes a celebrity. Sometimes he’s the celebrity the media loves to hate(Pius XII, John Paul II when he spoke firmly against abortion and women priests, Benedict no matter what he said or did). Now we’re faced with the spectacle of a Pope who the media establishment favors because of his “new outlook” and because he says things that can be twisted to favor some of the cultural trends(such as the homosexual lobby) that, frankly, are a sign of the decomposition of our society, and not its renewal in Christ.

What happens when Francis leaves us, and then a new Pope is elected? What if he is a conservative in the mold of Benedict, or(Heaven forbid!) Pius X? Will he then suddenly be a revolutionary who “changes the face of the Church forever”? We need to stop making our Faith about the personality of the Pope, and we need to bring it back to what it’s supposed to be: the Deposit of Truth, given to us by Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles, which cannot be changed by anyone. The Pope is the guardian of this deposit. It’s not his personal plaything to do what he wants with it. Unfortunately, that’s the impression given by the media, and unfortunately also by Catholics who play right into their hands and allow the Vicar of Christ to be turned into a rock star, and forget that he is the guarantor of what Our Lord Jesus Christ has handed down, and which can never be changed.

Well, that seems to be what the media is attempting to do–lure him in with the warmness of their welcome…then turn on him–when necessary, in order to influence him…then be his ‘friend’ again. Carrot and stick.

Pope Francis seems to be enjoying the ‘love’ he’s getting from the secular media–but I’m inclined to believe–certainly hopeful, anyway–that he will remain well grounded in his principles, regardless of how the media reacts.

Now, that said, didn’t he respond or react to Rush Limbaugh recently? Not that there’s anything wrong with Rush–but I had the same issue when Obama stooped down and reacted to him (Rush–and Hannity, et. al.)–it is beneath the dignity of the office of the presidency, to stoop to the talking heads’ level–much less the office of the papacy.

So while I have faith that Pope Francis will remain grounded…it is just a bit concerning when the Pope seems perhaps a bit too plugged in to the secular popular image of him.

Just say’n…

Let’s not confuse what the outside world thinks of the Pope, with what we know of him.

It is not ‘us’–i.e.–the Catholic Church–that ‘makes our Faith a cult of pesonality’–that is what the media attempts to do.

They tried to influence PJPII, and Ben. 16 the same way, to no avail.

Both popes stuck to their guns, and still remained extraordinarily popular amongst Catholics, though not the MSM–notwithstanding the media’s attempts to manipulate/influence their respective papacies.

I expect the same from Pope Francis–although his message, or tune, does seem to be resonating more with the MSM than his predecessors.

But my main concern, is PF’s reaction to it–that it not be to ‘sensitive’, or responsive, to secular agendas.

Same here /concur, re. twitter.

(though I have read some other news stories on him).

I hate to disagree with you, Goya, but there definitely is a tendency among Catholics to make the Pope and his celebrity the central part of their religion, to the detriment of everything else. This has to do with the cult of personality I referred to before.

Ok, I’ll meet you part way and concede that there is a tendency among some Catholics to do so, and I’ll agree with you that it is problematic. But I submit it is a small percentage, and further maintain that the Church in general/overall, is pretty good about keeping proper perspective.

But I’ll also caveat that this is just based on my personal experience, observations, and vantage point.

Perhaps your experiences, observations, and vantage point lend to a different conclusion.

I’m just stating my perspective–not nullifying, or attempting to nullify yours. I just thought perhaps you were letting your perspective be influenced by extrinsic views.

That is a possibility. I have known, and know, people whose faith is centered on the Pope and the Vatican. I also know people who don’t give a darn what the Pope says on any issue, but most of the latter are lapsed Catholics.

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