Here are two fine articles on Pope Francis that have appeared in the last few days. Both are well worth a look.
John Allen considers Francis’s saint-making thus far and points out that the impression one might get from the media (Catholic and otherwise) is not exactly reality:
After recently conferring sainthood on two former popes, John XXIII and John Paul II, Pope Francis has announced plans to move yet another, Paul VI, closer to a halo of his own by beatifying him on Oct. 19. In Catholic chatter these days, one can detect some blowback to this rash of pontiff saints: Why doesn’t Francis find some laity, especially women, to honor?…
To some extent, however, such reactions may reflect the celebrity status of popes more than the substance of Francis’ approach, because he already has advanced the sainthood prospects of a striking number of both laity and women.
Naturally, a communicator as adept as Pope Francis must realize that until he finds a captivating candidate for sainthood who symbolizes the new direction in which he’s pointing the Church, one which makes the world take note about the importance of women and laity, his choices will probably resonate only with insiders. Nonetheless, the sainthood causes he’s advanced so far do not reflect a pope determined to celebrate only those at the top of the clerical ladder.
John Gehring reminds us that for all the criticism Francis continues to get — most recently for comments last week about income redistribution — about his liberal socialist Marxist leanings, what he’s really revealing is his Catholic faith.
Pope Francis is not going rogue. The Catholic social tradition endorses a living wage for workers, defends the importance of unions, a positive role for government and the prudent regulation of financial markets. Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical on capital and labor positioned the Catholic Church as a formidable moral counterweight to the savage capitalism of the Industrial Era. Pope Benedict XVI decried the “scandal of glaring inequalities.” Pope John Paul II warned against the “idolatry” of the market….
Market fundamentalists who demonize government and defend an economic status quo that leaves billions of people around the globe trapped in poverty should be nervous. The Catholic Church is not on your side, and Pope Francis is just getting warmed up.
He’s just getting warmed up? Now that’s an exciting thought.