Article by Bailey Ochs. Media by James Menk.
In the short seven months that Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis) has been the Pope of the Catholic church, he has already made a large positive impact in his position.
On March 13 of this year, Pope Francis was elected to become the two hundred and twenty-sixth leader of the Catholic church. Because I am not Catholic, and have not heard enough about Pope Francis to form a fair opinion of him, I consulted news articles about him presenting different opinions and also asked Dr. Brian Hartley about his thoughts on the new Pope.
So far, many actions of the Pope have received mixed feedback, especially with social media. He seems to be very controversial. People are blogging and tweeting about how he is being more lenient on homosexuality and other popular issues while others are saying that nothing has changed.
Dr. Hartley suggested that “Pope Francis’ election inspired hope for many people because he is seen as ‘one of them.’ The papacy has been dominated by Northerners . . . Power and wealth have traditionally been concentrated in the north, so his election suggests that the attention of the church may not only be swinging towards the south but towards what the south represents.”
What I found from reading quotes from Pope Francis seemed to trump all of the arguments about what he meant or what he will do next. It is not that he is changing what the church believes or that he is ignoring topics that are usually controversial. He simply has more important things to worry about, in a good way. He wants spend more time focusing on helping the poor and loving people than on those issues because he says, “The church has already spoken on these issues.” He doesn’t feel that it is necessary to keep “obsessing” about the same things because people are tired of it. They already know what the church has said in the past and it hasn’t changed for the most part. I think that this approach is a godly one. Is there a better way to spend one’s life than by helping people who need help and spreading God’s love to whoever will receive it?
Another positive initial impression I got of Pope Francis came from an article in Christianity Today. When being interviewed about who he really is, Pope Francis answered, “I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I accept in a spirit of penance.” If that is the new leader of the Catholic church’s response to who he is, then I would argue that his heart is in the right place. He knows who he is and is seeking to know who God is. No one is perfect, including the leader of the church. What counts in my eyes is that he knows this and is humbly doing what he can to glorify God and share that with the people he comes into contact with. Ross Douthat, in his article for New York Times said, “He wants to be seen primarily as a pope of social justice and spiritual renewal, and he doesn’t have much patience for issues that might get in the way of that approach to Christian witness.”
If this is a true representation of the new Pope, then I think that he is off to a good start and we can expect good things to come.