By now, I think everyone has heard about Pope Francis being Time’s Person of the Year. I was raised Catholic and I have to say I like this pope. He seems to embody many of the qualities I was taught in my catechism classes growing up, but have seemed so lacking in recent years in the church. I admire his concern for the poor, his valuing service to them over church doctrines, and the olive branch he appears to offer groups the church has often viewed as their opponents.
This is, of course, causing all kinds of heartburn for the conservative factions in the church. Francis is very much not their man. However, I think he is their friend in the sense that the image he’s putting forth is very much what the church needs after all the years of child abuse scandals and seeming tone deafness to real human concerns.
None of this is to say that I think the church still doesn’t have a lot of problems. It still seems to have a lot of scandals to resolve. And for all his signs of friendliness, Francis hasn’t yet changed any of the doctrines that I think cause pointless suffering, such as opposition to contraception, medically necessary abortions, or divorce, just to name a few.
Still, by not condemning gays, atheists, or others outside of his particular faith, he probably makes life a lot easier for many individuals in Catholic families and communities who discover they fit into one of those categories. And that’s worth praising, at least in this nonbeliever’s opinion.
- Pope Francis is Time’s Person of the Year (sfgate.com)
- Pope Francis Named Time’s Person of the Year, Despite Not Changing the Direction of the Church (patheos.com)
- TIME’S 2013 Person of the Year: Pope Francis (5j2014missdoyle.wordpress.com)
- Pope Francis Is Time’s Person Of The Year (ambulivictor.wordpress.com)
- Year in Review: Pope Francis named Time’s 2013 Person of the Year (kristofferjames.wordpress.com)