Now, first things first. This family is not Catholic. The Pope is not the leader of our church. We don’t subscribe to the beliefs of Catholics. We’re not ‘shilling for our team’. This post is one of genuine appreciation for the things that the current Pope has done, and also for his rhetoric.
The current Pope, Pope Francis, has done a remarkable job. He’s almost single handedly reformed the image of the Catholic church, and by extension Christianity in general (many non religious people equate the two, which isn’t all that surprising – just like many non-Muslims don’t really know the difference between Sunni and Shia). He’s the first Pope in a long time who’s presented a positive, forward thinking, loving outlook of the world. Certainly, he’s championed the principles laid down by Jesus better than his two predecessors, who presumably were too busy protecting dodgy priests to do anything worthwhile.
Here’s a list of things that Pope Francis has said or done that make this family proud:
- He’s not afraid to point out the flaws he sees in the world. He understands that Jesus was always a champion of the weak, the disenfranchised, and the poor, and he follows in those footsteps. He sees that unbridled capitalism has the potential to leave people behind, and he’s not afraid to say it. In the US, there are far too many self-professed Christians who balk at paying more tax in order to support the poor and the needy. It’s good to see a Pope who’s willing to speak on this issue and point out the hypocrisy of being a Christian who isn’t willing to give back tot he disenfranchised.
- He got rid of some of the luxuries of the office. The Pope Mobile, for example – that silly little car that the last pope used to ride around – is not used by the Pope Francis. Not only does he speak out on important issues, he leads by example – eschewing privileges like the aforementioned car and even turned down the traditional, rather lavish living quarters of the Pope in favor of a smaller, more modest apartment.
- He expects his subordinates to also behave modestly, and has been cracking down on lavish spending within the church. He disciplined a German Bishop who spent $3 million on a courtyard, and has officially told church officials to dress more modestly, and eschew expensive clothing (and idiotic red Prada slippers).
- He portrays the kind of humility that one would expect from a true Christian. Never forget that Christianity begun as the underdog, and was at the outset primarily about helping the helpless. Francis demonstrated these qualities when, on a trip to a Juvenile detention center in Italy, washed and kissed the feet of a number of the minors being detained there. This is truly a man of God – a man who truly believes that he is not fit to judge others, and who demonstrates his humility even amongst people who society would consider far below him.
It’s been a really long time since I remember there being a Pope who I genuinely thought attempted to follow the example that Jesus laid down for us. It seems that Pope Francis is such a man, and regardless of whether he shares my specific faith, I applaud him for his excellent work so far, and for truly being a good Christian/Catholic.