Francis has made a name for himself by transforming the Church in the eyes of much of the world. Although the majority of Francis’ changes have been merely cosmetic (one man cannot reinvent a 2,000 year old institution, and the world is better for it), the secular world and many cradle Catholics have fallen head over heels for the man they believe is singlehandedly dragging the Church into the modern age.
But what about those who entered the Faith under Benedict? Do they feel like victims of a “bait-and-switch” scheme? Or are they embracing Francis and his fresh approach? What do “new-ish” converts like me think of our “new-ish” pope? In order to find out, I asked a few.
Scott Bradford, 32, converted to Catholicism from the United Methodist Church with his wife in 2009. When Pope Benedict stepped down, “I was surprised, to say the least!” Bradford said. “My wife and I had been Catholics for a few years already, but we still felt like ‘newbies,’ and so it was felt to us like a huge change was about to happen. We hadn’t even been through a pastor change as Catholics yet, and now we were going to go through a pope change!”
When Francis was announced as pope, Bradford said he was pleased with the Cardinals for making an “outside of the box” decision and impressed with Francis’ humility. “I have nothing against the ‘pomp’ of the papacy, but Pope Francis’s decision to skip a lot of that has resonated with many people who would normally take a very cynical look at the faith,” Bradford said. “I see so many people on my Facebook wall saying things like, ‘I’m not Catholic, but I really like this pope!’ He has been an absolutely amazing evangelist for the faith.”