Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

3/19/2014 (2 years 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 (2 years 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'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2016
Universal:
Sports: That sports may be an opportunity for friendly encounters between peoples and may contribute to peace in the world.
Evangelization: Living the Gospel: That Christians may live the Gospel, giving witness to faith, honesty, and love of neighbor.



Comments


More U.S.

St Augustine on a Personal Relationship with Jesus Watch

Image of St Augustine

By Deacon Keith Fournier

But we too can encounter Christ in reading Sacred Scripture, in prayer, in the liturgical life of the Church. We can touch Christ's Heart and feel him touching ours. Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we ... continue reading


Five-year-old invents 'Kindness Day' Watch

Image of Five-year-old boy treats officers to a lunch from Subway.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Five-year-old William Evertz Jr. saved up his allowance for several months in hopes of purchasing a Power Wheels police car but realized his money would better benefit others. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On Wednesday, the Winslow Police Department in ... continue reading


Two nuns found murdered in Mississippi home Watch

Image of Police have found two nuns slain in a Mississippi home.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Two Catholic nuns have been found dead in their home after they didn't show up for their work. The pair worked as nurse practitioners out of state. Police are investigating the deaths of two Catholic nuns after they missed work. The pair were found together in a ... continue reading


1 city, 2 days, 52 OD's Watch

Image of Opioids in the United States have appeared in the form of elephant tranquilizers.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Heroin laced with carfentanil, the most potent commercial opioid known to be 10,000 times stronger than morphine, is being dealt on streets across the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to CNN, carfentanil significantly slows breathing and is ... continue reading


The shocking NEW reason why young people are leaving church Watch

Image of The youth are leaving the church, but why?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

It's a surprising find, but it's also true. Americans are giving up on God. A Pew survey reveals that half of the people who have quit going to church no longer believe in God. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Nearly a quarter of the nation no longer attends ... continue reading


Massachusetts nun loses rosary to lesbian couple Watch

Image of Lesbian muggers rob nun of her rosary beads.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A Sister at the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth convent was mugged by a lesbian couple, who left with the nun's rosary. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the <a ... continue reading


'Right Before I Die': Photographer reveals heartbreaking truth on taboo topic Watch

Image of One photographer captured people's dreams as they drew closer to death (Shutterstock).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Photographer Andrew George decided to interview and photograph people close to death for a project titled "Right Before I Die." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - George's project earned an exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and he explained the ... continue reading


Deacon Keith Fournier: Jesus Walks with Us on the Dusty Road of Life Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We can learn a vital lesson from this account in the Gospel of Luke; one which can radically reorient our entire life. Jesus is always with us. He accompanies us on the Way of our daily life because He IS the Way. (John 14:6) But, we need our eyes to be opened. ... continue reading


Marian procession to commemorate birthday of Los Angeles Watch

Image of Los Angeles will hold a Marian procession and a votive Mass for the city's 235th anniversary.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The city of Los Angeles will get a Marian procession to mark its 235th anniversary on August 27. The city is named after Our Lady. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The city of Los Angeles has a very long name. Officially, the city is known as, "The Town of Our ... continue reading


Government finally admits truth about Area 51 Watch

Image of A truck transports a mysterious, covered object to Area 51 under tight security.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Daily Mail has posted pictures of the mysterious fleet of planes that flies workers into Area 51. Area 51 is the secret Air Force facility that is rumored to house alien technology. The existence of the base was only recently acknowledged. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • St Augustine on a Personal Relationship with Jesus
  • St. Monica: Mother of Augustine, Model of the Virtuous Mother
  • Daily Readings for Saturday, August 27, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Monday, August 29th, 2016 HD Video
  • The economic problem that could destroy America TODAY HD Video
  • You'll never believe what Obama did in Hawaii!
  • St. Monica: Saint of the Day for Saturday, August 27, 2016

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 1:26-31
26 Consider, brothers, how you were called; not many of you are wise by ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:12-13, 18-19, 20-21
12 How blessed the nation whose God is Yahweh, the people he has chosen ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 25:14-30
14 'It is like a man about to go abroad who summoned his servants and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 27th, 2016 Image

St. Monica
August 27: Saint Monica, also known as Monica of Hippo, is ... Read More