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.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
Universal:
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.



Comments


More U.S.

Oldest living WWII veteran SHOCKED at AMAZING gifts from fellow countrymen Watch

Image of Richard Overton, America's oldest living WWII veteran may lose the home he built himself (GoFundMe).

By Monique Crawford (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Richard Overton is believed to be the oldest living World War II veteran in the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Overton has outlived most of his friends and his closest relatives. He currently resides in the same home he built himself in Austin, TX ... continue reading


Secret Service eyes Madonna after star threatens to blow up White House during Women's March on Washington Watch

Image of Madonna admits before a crowd of thousands that she has considered

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pop star Madonna was one of several celebrities attending the Women's March on Washington Saturday, January 21, just one day after Donald Trump was sworn into the Presidency. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Like many celebrities, Madonna spoke candidly without fear ... continue reading


Beheading videos and the ISIS flag - Masked man intimidates Trump supporters in Washington Watch

Image of Masked man revealed an ISIS flag and beheading video on his phone (InfoWars).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A group of President Donald Trump supporters were enjoying themselves in a sports bar in northwest Washington when a masked man approached the large glass window. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Outside the Proper 21 sports bar, the masked protester pulled a phone ... continue reading


'I could have been arrested...' - Nebraska law forcing nuns to remove habits in schools sparks controversy Watch

Image of Nuns are not allowed to wear habits in Nebraska schools.

By (CNA/EWTN News)

Sister Madeleine Miller's efforts to substitute teach in a Nebraska public school ran afoul of a century-old law that left her bewildered - and prompted the state legislature to take another look at the law's dark past. Lincoln, NE (CNA/EWTN News) - "I was just ... continue reading


Meth cook and devil worshiper attacks mother then leaves her for dead with demon king's name written on her chest Watch

Image of Chase Wall attacked his mother and left her for dead with a demon king's name scrawled across her chest.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Chase Wall, a 33-year-old occult-obsessed meth addict, was arrested after beating his mother, stealing her car and leaving her for dead with a demon's name inscribed on her bloody chest. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Wall's 66-year-old mother was discovered in a ... continue reading


Amazing discovery in Canada reveals one man's controversial claim was TRUE Watch

Image of Evidence of stone tools used on a horse's jaw means humans arrived in North America thousands of years earlier than previously believed.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Researchers at the Université of Montréal (UdeM) in Canada made an important discovery this year, changing a key element of North American history. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - New research suggests humans first traveled to North America 24,000 ... continue reading


When one Bible isn't enough, use two! Trump to take oath with TWO Holy Bibles Watch

Image of Donald Trump will be sworn into office using two Bibles.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Donald Trump will be sworn into office on January 19. At that time, he will have not one but two Bibles - one of which will be pulled from the Library of Congress collection to commemorate the special event. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Donald Trump will be ... continue reading


Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Pro-Life Christian Leader and Hero Watch

Image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Christian Leader

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On January 27, 2017, the annual March for Life will take place once again in Washington, DC. On January 16th we commemorate a great Christian and Human Rights Leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was assassinated in 1968 for defending the fundamental truth of ... continue reading


Pope Francis cited in one bishop's call for change - Will it help? Watch

Image of Pope Francis has been calling for help on behalf of immigrants for years.

By Kevin Jones (CNA/EWTN News)

The upcoming inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump has raised questions about the future of immigration reform, but the nation's Catholic bishops remain hopeful. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "We also find it important that we engage the present incoming ... continue reading


'The Greatest Show on Earth' to pack up for the last time after 146 years Watch

Image of The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus will close after 146 years (Todd Hesler).

By Nikki Crawford (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus announced they would be closing up shop for the final time this May after 146 years of bringing magic to families across the country. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Everyone knows the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & ... 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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 9:15, 24-28
15 This makes him the mediator of a new covenant, so that, now that a ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm] Sing a new song to Yahweh, for he has performed wonders, his ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 3:22-30
22 The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem were saying, 'Beelzebul ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 23rd, 2017 Image

St. Ildephonsus
January 23: St. Ildephonsus is highly regarded in Spain and ... Read More