The Francis Effect

“Every day, I hear from Catholics who, like me, are reconsidering their lives, their actions, their faith practice, all because of an Argentine priest who proclaims, ‘I am a sinner.’ The pope isn’t getting this reaction by outlining a list of do’s and don’ts. Instead, the world’s parish priest proclaims the message of God’s mercy in such human terms one cannot help but listen. He lives a life so obviously influenced by Jesus that one cannot remain unaffected. It is almost as though, if you listen close enough, you can hear him say, without uttering a word, ‘Try this again; it will lead you to Jesus.’

This weekend, I did try it again, walking into a dimly lit confessional, getting on my knees and saying, ‘Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.’ And for the first time in a long time, it felt like home.”

—Renée Shafer Horton in NCR
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