“What do you think of the new pope?”
“I like him.”
The verdict is in; the world likes, no loves, Pope Francis.
In the past month, I have slammed the media’s coverage of Mother Teresa, and the pre-conclave speculation. Imagine my surprise in the glowing coverage of the new pope. It feels strange to see a pro-Catholic news article, and even stranger, to see pro-Catholic comments after the article.
The press has even gone as far as defending his record in Argentina’s Dirty War, the one area of controversy surrounding his election.
For me, the likeability of the pope ranks fairly low on my desirable characteristics. As we go through the readings during Holy Week, it is clear that Jesus was not well liked. I cannot read Francis’s mind, but I am pretty certain that he does not care if people like him or not.
Pope Francis gives a thumbs up as he leaves St. Peter’s Square after celebrating
Palm Sunday Mass at the Vatican March 24.
(CNS photo/Paul Haring)
The church has often been seen as hypocritical, preaching one thing but doing something else. One of the reasons Francis is so beloved is his authenticity. He lives the message that he preaches. It is disarming to see someone that is meek and humble, which makes it hard to have negative opinion of him.
We need to be held to the same standard as the church. Do you like the pope’s message of helping the poor? Then, make plans to help the poor. Do you like his call for forgiveness and mercy? Then, strive to be more forgiving and merciful.
Francis is delivering a message, a message that has been around for 2000 years. It is important that it’s conveyed in an effective manner, and Francis appears to have a gift spreading Catholic teaching. However, he is not the message.
More than liking the new pope, we need to listen to him, and beyond listening, we to need to live the Christian message. Francis desires that people put his words into practice more than praise his sermons and speeches.
Are you one of those people who likes the new pope? If yes, then it is time to put his message into action.