The distinctiveness of Francis

Interesting comments on the distinctiveness of Pope Francis:

[For those alienated from the church,] John Paul was difficult to understand because he was a philosopher. Benedict just didn’t connect with them, and he had a lot of bad press, they would call him the Rottweiler, he didn’t capture a lot of people’s imagination. But this guy does.

Must be some authority-shirking, liturgy-trashing, social justice dissident speaking there, just trying to mold Francis in their own image, at the expense of previous popes whom they hated anyway, right?

Nope, that’d be Fr. Mitch Pacwa, EWTN star and nobody’s liberal.

As an admirer of both John Paul II and Benedict XVI, I have been sympathetic to the complaints of some “conservatives” about the potshots that some have taken at these two remarkable men in order to explain the distinctiveness of Francis (you would think by some accounts that these two were Borgia popes or that Francis was the first pope to kiss a baby). So I’m intrigued at Pacwa’s willingness to, well, take a few potshots.

Don’t get me wrong — I have no doubt the man loves JP2 and B16. (I do, too.) My point is, Francis is different, distinctive, and more effective as a pastor and a Christian witness in some important ways. And to say so, perhaps by comparisons, need not be considered, in itself, disrespectful.

By the way, I enjoyed Pacwa’s metaphor quoted in the same article: “All the popes are against consumerism, but this guy brings the hay down to where the goats can get it.”


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