Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

3/19/2014 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Who is Pope Francis? You need look no further than the name he chose

Just who is the new pontiff, Pope Francis, after his first year in office? He's a Catholic, first of all, which has come as a surprise to much of the secular media.  He's neither a man of the left or the right and doesn't seem to look at the Church through that polarizing lens.  Pope Francis is attempting a paradigm shift in the Church, one that moves everything towards evangelization, whether it's theology, catechetics, apologetics, homiletics, or liturgy. 

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/19/2014 (6 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Deal W. Hudson, Pope Francis, anniversary, culture, culturalconversion, new evangelization, throwaway culture, Catholics, moral coherence


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - In Italy polls say the Pope has increased Mass attendance and volunteer service. In America polling shows there has been no "Pope Francis effect" but that the new pontiff is very popular.  Immediately following his election on March 13, 2013, the former Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Rev. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, was hailed and embraced as a "man of the left." Many conservative commentators took the bait and started scrutinizing the new Pope and declared various "concerns."

That Pope Francis was neither Italian, or even European, but was a Jesuit from South America, fed the imaginations of the self-appointed defenders of orthodoxy. During the first few months of his papacy, every statement of support for the poor, vulnerable, and disenfranchised was viewed by the suspicious as a "social justice" Pope, with all the implications that contains for Catholic pro-life activists.

My initial view, as I wrote at the time, was that the man chosen by the Holy Spirit to lead the Church could not be someone uninterested in the pro-life cause.  Even when the initial suspicions were confirmed by the Holy Father's September 19, 2013, offhand comments about toning down anti-abortion rhetoric, I considered that far from a distancing of himself from abortion, but rather a much-needed corrective in our pro-life efforts.

Pope Francis must have realized that he had inadvertently caused some confusion, because in an October 13, 2013, speech he called abortion a sign of living in a "throwaway culture." 

Then on January 13, 2014, in the Pope's "State of the World" address, his language became tougher, "It is horrific even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day." In spite of these crystal clear statements, some remained skeptical.  But when a month later, Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, spoke forcefully in L'Osservatore Romano confirming the Pope's commitment to the pro-life and pro-marriage movements, the critics were effectively silenced.
 
"It is not that the Holy Father is not clear in his opposition to abortion and euthanasia, or in his support of marriage as the indissoluble, faithful and procreative union of one man and one woman .. rather he concentrates his attention on inviting all to nurture an intimate relationship, indeed communion, with Christ, within which the non-negotiable truths, inscribed by God upon every human heart, become ever more evident and are generously embraced."

What made Cardinal Burke's statement so effective is that an anti-Francis narrative was already being created after Cardinal Burke's removal from the Congregation of Bishops. In correcting the impression left on some by his removal from the Congregation of Bishops, Cardinal Burke made it very difficult for those Catholics who voiced "concerns" to continue doing so.  Cardinal Burke is looked upon as having a kind of final say in matters pertaining to Catholics and issues such as abortion and marriage. 

There will be those who will say Burke is just being a "team player," but anyone who really knows the former Archbishop of St. Louis - who created a firestorm in 2004 when he said he would deny communion to Sen. John Kerry - knows he never dissembles. 

Just who is the new pontiff, Pope Francis, after his first year in office? He's a Catholic, first of all, which has come as a surprise to much of the secular media.  He's neither a man of the left or the right and doesn't seem to look at the Church through that polarizing lens.  Pope Francis is attempting a paradigm shift in the Church, one that moves everything towards evangelization, whether it's theology, catechetics, apologetics, homiletics, or liturgy. 

This Pope recognizes the legacy left by his two predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, particularly their remarkable capacity as teachers of the faith, and is saying to us, "Now, let's put these legacies to work in the service of the Gospel, reaching out to all those who have felt pushed or alienated away from the Church." 

So, who is Pope Francis? You need look no further than the name he chose.

© Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D

-----
Deal W. Hudson is president of the Morley Institute of Church and Culture, Senior Editor and Movie Critic at Catholic Online, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.This column and subsequent contributions are an excerpt from a forthcoming book. Dr. Hudson's new radio show, Church and Culture, is heard on the Ave Maria Radio Network.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More U.S.

A political warning against high taxes: Northest losses 40% of its House seats Watch

Image of High taxes have dropped the population of 11 Northeastern states dramatically, cutting their number of seats in the House of Representatives by 40% since 1950.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Census Bureau has reported that the Northeast is losing power in the U.S. as many citizens leave the high-tax region, heading south or west to states with lesser tax burdens. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Population growth has shifted, primarily to the ... continue reading


Is Ebola here to stay? Second patient being monitored for Ebola in Dallas Watch

Image of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had confirmed earlier this week that a patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas was the first person to be diagnosed in the U.S. with the Ebola virus.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A second person who had been in close contact with a person infected with Ebola is now being closely monitored in Dallas. Health officials here are treating the situation here with great seriousness, as this is the first example of an Ebola-infected person ... continue reading


How Can We Overcome Fear? Watch

Image of Perhaps we are no longer as crippled by our fears as we were when we were younger, but they still lurk in the background, robbing our freedom and preventing our human flourishing. They harm our relationships and can impede our growth.We can be set free!

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Unable to overcome fear by our own effort, we are often overcome by it. Though we may develop coping mechanisms over time, or learn to hide the interior reactions caused by fear, inside, it can paralyze us and impede us from living our lives to the full. The ... continue reading


'Political correctness' could have cost lives in White House Security breach Watch

Image of It was later revealed that the fence-jumper made it all the way to the East Room of the White House, on the second floor.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Political correctness" is a hot-button term that has come to mean irrelevance as applied to any given situation. According to Representative Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah), who sits on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, "political correctness" ... continue reading


Watch out Saudi Arabia! U.S. oil production expected to rapidly increase Watch

Image of A Saudi Arabian oil refinery.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The International Energy Agency says that U.S. production of petroleum is set to exceed that of Saudi Arabia's for the first time since 1991. A growing sign of the future of the American energy sector. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The production of oil and ... continue reading


Latinos run from Obama en mass after president punts immigration reform Watch

Image of Latino activists have turned their back on President Obama after he dropped immigration reform until the midterm election.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama has bowed to worried Senate Democrats, delaying executive actions on immigration until after the midterm elections, fearing that using executive actions would make immigration reform a partisan issue which would hurt Democrats. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


As thousands of illegals enter U.S., who's stuck with the education bill? Watch

Image of Tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have flooded into the U.S. during 2014 alone, mostly from South America. While they await immigration trials, schools are responsible for teaching them.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The large numbers of unaccompanied minors who have been illegally crossing into the U.S. from Mexico in ever greater numbers have caused American schools to scramble in an attempt to provide services. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The children and teens who ... continue reading


St. Michael the Archangel, Defend Us in Battle: Pope Francis Takes on the Devil Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Now the new People of God is the Church. That is the reason she considers him her protector and support in all her struggles for the defense and expansion of the kingdom of God on earth. It is true that "the powers of death shall not prevail", as the Lord assured ... continue reading


Need milk? Eggs or flower? The Post Office may have you covered Watch

Image of Amazon partnered with the USPS to provide daily grocery deliveries to people in the San Francisco Bay area, a program the USPS wants to extend to the rest of the country.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Postal Service has revealed a new plan to reverse its six-year streak of billion-dollar losses, which is as ingenious as it is simple. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The USPS wants to deliver your groceries to you, and the agency sent this proposal to ... continue reading


Where the buffalo roam... Native Americans plan return of free range Bison on the American Great Plains Watch

Image of Bison calves are playful and eager to roam free.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Buffalo are part of the American west. Across the vast prairies of the Great Plains, herds grazed and migrated, crisscrossing the open grasslands in great, thundering tides. Each year, some of these buffalo were hunted by Native Americans who used everything, from ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Exodus 23:20-23
20 'Look, I am sending an angel to precede you, to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 10-11
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 18:1-5, 10
1 At this time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 2nd, 2014 Image

St. Leger
October 2: Leger was raised at the court of King Clotaire II and by his ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter