Anecdotes of a Church Being Changed (Maybe) by Pope Francis

An atheist friend of mine is married into a Catholic family, and he attends church with said family every Sunday, being a good sport and a general glutton for punishment.

This friend — in fact, let’s call him “GFP” for “glutton for punishment” — noticed a change of tone lately at the church his family attends, and he wondered if the let’s-all-be-nice public persona of Pope Francis (or, as I call him at The Morning Heresy, Pope Fluffy) is trickling down and beginning to genuinely change things in the Catholic Church as a whole.

Now, I realize this is all a highly-localized anecdote from one guy, but I thought it was interesting enough to share.

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How Revolutionary is Pope Francis, Anyway?

It’s hard, even for an angry, arrogant, militant new atheist like me, to not like Pope Francis. He seems to be saying all the right things for someone in his position, rhetorically easing off of gays, emphasizing the plight of the poor, and not being afraid to bring himself to the level of those in need, or those with whom he has little in common.

It helps that he’s so grandfatherly, with a warm smile and those standard-issue old-man glasses, whereas Ratzinger was so comically villainous.

Damon Linker, author of The Theocons and The Religious Test, wants progressives to temper their enthusiasm, however. Not because he sees Francis as nefarious, but rather he sees little evidence that a revolution of sorts is under way in the Church:

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