Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

3/19/2014 (4 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 (4 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 July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More U.S.

Sudanese woman previously sentenced to death arrives in United States Watch

Image of Greeted by her husband and two young children at a large crowd of supporters at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in New Hampshire, Mariam Ibrahim declined comment to the media.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Mariam Ibrahim from Sudan, at one time sentenced to die for her Christian faith has since arrived at her new home in the United States. Her plight was of grave international concern. Greeted by her husband and two young children at a large crowd of supporters ... continue reading


'We are coming for you!' American Islamic jihadist suicide bomber gleefully shouts to Americans on chilling final video Watch

Image of American terrorist Moner Mohammed Abu-Salha smiled and talked about dying and going to paradise.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new video shows an American smiling as he prepares to kill himself and dozens of others in a suicide bombing. In the video, made just before his death, Moner Mohammed Abu-Salha, 22, ripped, chewed, and burned his American passport before climbing into an ... continue reading


Bridget of Sweden, Marriage and Family, and the Need for Canonized Married Saints Watch

Image of St Bridget of Sweden, her husband Ulf, and all the modern Popes call Christian married couples to become the 'Sweet and Smiling Face of the Church' in this age. This is an age which is desperately in need of all kinds of saints. I suggest we particularly need examples of married, canonized Saints. That is precisely because this is an age where faithful marriage is now counter-cultural. We need examples of men and women who not only embraced it in Christ, but lived it as a but a path to heroic virtue.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The clear teaching of the Bible, the Christian tradition and the re-emphasis of the last Council in the Catholic Church, the Second Vatican Council, make clear - we are ALL called to holiness in life. That  is what the Catholic Church regularly refers to as ... continue reading


GOBBLING UP RESOURCES: Fastest part of U.S. population is immigrants, gobbling up national resources Watch

Image of A new report from the group warns that continued population growth could top a worldwide 10 billion by 2100. The report, entitled

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Most of the United States' population growth is from immigrants - who are consuming resources dangerously fast. Those are the finding of the group called Negative Population Growth Inc. Furthermore, 80 percent of the growth in U.S. population comes from ... continue reading


Malinformed much? Ninety percent of your information now comes from just 6 media sources Watch

Image of Small media outlets are consumed by the large, limiting the variety of expression.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Have you ever tried to describe something, but lacked the vocabulary to do it? This is the concept behind Newspeak, a fictional language in George Orwell's 1984. Orwell proposed that by limiting expression, thought itself could be limited. Today, as media companies ... continue reading


Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage struck down Watch

Image of The Virginia case, Bostic v. Rainey, was brought by two same-sex couples. Fourteen thousand gay couples also were certified as a class for the suit.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a dramatic reversal of a voter-based 2006 decision, U.S. appeals court this week struck down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, the latest in a string of court rulings to back gay marriage. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit ... continue reading


Archbishop Chaput Speaks at the Napa Institute Conference on Pope Francis and Economic Justice

Image of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is one of the preeminent Churchmen of our age. He offers a prophetic voice for this important time. He not only grasps and articulates Catholic Social Doctrine well, he also understands the real treasure we have been given in this Pope who took the name Francis. I believe that his insights into Pope Francis need to be read by as many people as possible.

By Catholic Online

In matters of economic justice, Francis' concerns are the same as Benedict's and John Paul II's and Pius XI's and Leo XIII's. He understands economic matters through the lens of Church teaching in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Like his ... continue reading


Thousands of Christians Flee Under Death Threat From Tyrannical Caliph and ISIS Jihadists Watch

Image of (Pictured: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim) At first, Christians were ordered to gather in a central place to receive the directive from the self appointed Caliph. Understandably, given the track record of this maniacal tyrant, few did. So, the text of the statement was issued as a formal declaration to all Christians - We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

By now, everyone who is in anyway concerned about what is happening to Christians in Iraq has heard the horrific news. The madman who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi - who in his delusion and grandiosity has taken to calling himself ... continue reading


Deacon Keith Fournier: The Courage of the Catholic Bishops, Religious Liberty, Hobby Lobby and ENDA Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate. Deacon Fournier is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Theology and Philosophy, BA), the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University (Theology of Marriage and Family, MTS), and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (JD). He has completed requirements for the PhD in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America and is writing the PhD dissertation on the teaching of St. John Paul II.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Catholic Bishops are doing an excellent job standing up for Religious liberty as a fundamental human right. One of my growing concerns is that many Catholics do not even read what they are saying. Sadly, in a propagandized media where sound bites substitute ... continue reading


Obama demands that illegals be allowed to enter U.S. Watch

Image of Tens of thousands of illegal, unaccompanied minors have flooded into the United States since 2014 began, often escaping violence in war torn Central American countries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama's administration is considering whether or not it will allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras and other war-torn Central American states to enter into the United States illegally and without crossing into the country ... 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, Jeremiah 26:1-9
1 At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:6, 8-10, 14
6 Those who hope in you must not be made fools of, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:54-58
54 and, coming to his home town, he taught the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 1st, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori
August 1: Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the ... 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