Pope Francis Scares Me Because God Give Us What We Need…

… You know how you just get used to someone’s face? After seeing it for eight long years I am sorely missing Benedict’s. The affection I have Benedict just isn’t there for Pope Francis. In time, maybe. But for right now when I look on Pope Francis’s smiling face I keep wondering, who is this man and why is he our pope? That uncertainty and unfamiliarity makes me a bit uneasy. I couldn’t put my finger on it till last night.

Kate Edwards, who blogs at Australia Incognito, noted;

A lot of the reaction, I suspect, is still residual sadness, or even anger, at the resignation of Pope Benedict and the unfinished agenda he left behind.

It’s true. I am not handling the loss of Benedict XVI as my pope as well as I’d hoped. A HUGE part of why it’s hard for me to completely warm up to Pope Francis is the residual sadness and resentment I feel for having lost Pope Benedict. I noted it was like a father walking out on his children when the Bishop Emeritus abdicated. In a culture where patriarchal abandonment is commonplace, Benedict’s abdication brought about a lot of feelings of unresolved resentment I’ve held onto from my own childhood. Mostly I’ve just been deeply sad. The whole situation is too reminiscent of a bad divorce where the kids are divided between loyalty and love for two parents.

However, let’s place this sadness aside for a moment. It’s fear I want to talk about.

True story; I am not as smug and self assured as I play on the internet. The fact is I am gripped with a very strange and unsettling fear. I want to bring this fear out of the darkness in my mind and into light of day, not to feed on the fear, but to address and name it in hopes of conquering it. Or at least try to tame it.

Yes, I miss Pope Benedict immensely. I miss his red shoes, ecclesiastical bling, and regal finery. He looked like everything a man of his stature should, like a prince of the Church. Right down to the tips of his toes.

This pope, the “Poverello del Vaticano”, looks like a man who has no desire for finery. And if the Holy Father has no desire for something that I placed such a high importance on than shouldn’t that tell me my priorities are misdirected?

To say this transition from one pope to the next has been difficult is an extreme understatement. So if it sounds like the traddies are panicking, it’s because they are scared. Scared they are going to lose the things they love, like beautiful liturgies and masses in the extraordinary form, and scared to find out if losing them is going to be a great test of faith.

Of course I can only speak for myself, but this seems to be general assumption being made, one I’ve made myself; that those who are worrying most are just being liturgical snobs.

Guess what though, I’m sure this comes as no surprise, but I can be a bit of a liturgical snob too. I remarked that I miss seeing regal papal finery because it represents a certain timelessness. The modern world is shit. The traditions of the Church remind me that at least She doesn’t change. It’s comforting like a childhood home.

But as much as loved the papal red shoes and will miss seeing them, it’s still not the root cause of my general malaise. There is something more going on and it wasn’t till last night that I was able to pinpoint it.

Logically I know that Pope Francis isn’t going to destroy the mass with giant puppets parading through St. Peter’s. Logically I also know that no pope throughout the entire history of the Church, even the Borgia and Medici popes, has ever preached heresy. Yes, I have considered the propensity for liberation theology that South American regions have and their charismatic tendencies for worship. I understand these fears many have and I don’t want to discredit them… I personally just feel that are unwarranted.

So what the heck is my problem then? If I’m not afraid of Pope Francis or the changes he may or may not make, I must be afraid of what this Pope says about my nature as a Catholic. I don’t like his pectoral cross or his shoes? Guess what, I just realized I’m a superficial Catholic.

Let’s just say… this Pope, the Poverello of the Vatican, makes me feel extremely guilty. His simplicity and humility embarrasses me. Well, makes me embarrassed for myself at the lack of my own virtue. It has me unsettled.

On top of that; however, there’s yet another layer to my disquiet. For some time now I’ve known that this nation is headed down a very dark path. We think we are impervious to the problems other nations are facing regarding religious freedoms. Slowly we are beginning to see that this is not the case. We, as Catholics, are not safe. I can see it in the acceptable prejudices directed toward us via the government, media, and entertainment industry.

You know God gives us what we need, not what we want. So God has decided that we need a Third World pope. What does mean? That we need a strong dose of humility administered daily and that we need a man in the Seat of Peter who has personal first hand knowledge of real government persecution and atheistic public policies? These are disquieting thoughts indeed… that we are about to have our peace disturbed.

But an old friend, whom I trust and respect, reminded me that it’s good to have a pope who’s dealt with this. It’s what we need. And I can find comfort and peace in that. So thank you, friend. I hope everyone else feeling unease can too find comfort in that. Even the trials are good because we walk away stronger, so have hope and be at peace. God always gives us what we need.

Viva Il Papa.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • http://www.facebook.com/ironiccatholic Susan Windley-Daoust

    I swear, Kat, you are amazing. I’m not in the same place as you, but I am unsettled in different ways and wondering what that says about me and my relationship with God and Church. This is beautifully written, and would we all step back and breathe and pray to God about this.

  • Rhetor

    I, too, have felt unsettled since Benedict announced his resignation. I trusted Benedict, and, perhaps as a consequence, I am apprehensive about the new pope. The Church must engage not only the dust and sweat of our daily struggles, but also our aspirations for something better. I sometimes wonder whether Francis understands this. On the other hand, I not only trusted, but still trust Benedict. He stepped aside for a reason. Perhaps it is time for a pope who is more engaged with the dust and sweat than with the aspirations. More than almost anyone else, Benedict understands that the Church’s tradition is bigger than one pope. That tradition embraces not only the reverent beauty of the Tridentine mass, but also the unsqueamish physical caritas of Mother Teresa and Francis of Assisi. Benedict departed from the practices of his immediate predecessor to reach back into the tradition for images of our aspirations. Francis departs from the practice of his immediate predecessor to reach back into the tradition for help in our daily struggles. And Benedict is still behind the scenes, praying for us and (as our apprehensions perhaps demonstrate) guiding us by his enduring example.

    • Molly

      I see a LOT of Mother Teresa in this Pope. That has to give some comfort!

  • mo

    All that I’ve been feeling. . . .exactly.

  • KEVIN OBRIEN

    Well written and much welcome. I will add this – in one very important sense it does not matter who is pope. This is because our faith teaches that all grace comes from God, holiness is not something we attain by our own efforts, but by cooperating with His grace. Who the pope is, is really about as meaningful as who you and I are – which is to say very meaningful in that you and I have the opportunity to allow grace to perfect our nature and to glorify God by our unique lives; but not meaningful in that it’s all about Christ and not about us. He must increase; we must decrease.

    Benedict knows this and so he stepped aside, so as to decrease. Pope Francis knows this, and so his particular style or personality will be just another illustration of the many means we have of following the one Way.

    And I can’t imagine the Mass going backwards after what Pope Benedict has done for it.

  • Molly

    I think it’s the same age old fear of “what if it’s not true?” After all this time, what if we get a Pope who makes the whole thing come crashing down? I know AND believe on an intellectual level that this isn’t possible, but sometimes it’s hard to tell my heart not to fear. I know the Borgia and Medici popes happened, but they seem like stories, not real. But then I have to remind myself that Benedict, BENEDICT, scared the living daylights out of me. I knew he was faithful to Church teaching and was known for being maybe the most faithful of his time. So why did he scare me? He wasn’t my Papa. I had grown up not relating to the Pope as a teaching father, but as an emotional father. I know JPII was a brilliant philosopher in the same vein that Benedict is a brilliant theologian, but that’s not what my heart experienced. My heart experienced that face filled with love, that solid huge rock of a man who never wavered. He embodied the unchanging teaching of the Church for me because I trusted him. And so intellectually what I knew about Benedict, that here was a Pope who had proved himself throughout his own life never to falter on Church teaching, did nothing for me. My thought about him, honestly, when his name was read? “What if he doesn’t love us like Pope John Paul II?” I see now what a ridiculous question. But it was the question of a scared child losing her father. What I had to realize was that losing him was going to make me trust my real Father. As much of a saint as JPII was, he couldn’t give me all that I needed and he was never ever meant to. I came to love Benedict because I had to first realize that I needed to trust my Father, trust that He would never abandon his Church and therefore would never abandon me. Once I trusted that, I could see what he gave me through Benedict, I could feel that love from his gentle eyes, and see that the strength that flowed from his teacher ways were as strong as John Paul II’s. And again he became my Papa. But only because I trusted my real Father. I hope this will happen with Pope Francis. I simultaneously love the things he’s doing from a deep emotional reaction, but since I’ve come in the past eight years to look for my Papa in the ways God allowed me to love Benedict, I can’t see a Papa yet. All I can do is trust that it will come, and trust that the Church cannot fall, whoever he turns out to be.

  • Sofía P.

    . I’m still not over the fact that Pope Benedict left.
    I’m from Argentina and moved to Europe a few years ago. I was in a honeymoon-mood for a few days when I find out that Pope Francisco is from my country, until it struck me that I have no idea what this pope is going to be like! I’m scared for the future like never before. I guess we will have to wait and pray.
    And about persecution: I don’t know where you are from, but do people treat you like a lesser human being if you admit that you are a practising, faithful catholic? Maybe I just know the wrong people…

    • michiganlady

      Yeah, Europe is rough these days. Friends who love you in every other way can feel perfectly free to give you a really bad time about the Church. I know from working experience with friends living in the Netherlands. Keep the Faith, Sofia. You may be the only Catholic some people see on any given day.

  • GregoryDiPippo

    Katrina, you are not a superficial Catholic, because if that’s the message that we draw from the black shoes and the ugly pectoral cross, than all the Popes who wore red shoes and bishops who wore beautiful pectoral crosses (i.e. the vast majority until very recently) were also superficial Catholics. If people think they are going to lose “the things they love, like beautiful liturgies and masses in the extraordinary form, and scared to find out if losing them is going to be a great test of faith.”, it’s because this was already tried in the 1960s and ’70s, and it was not a raging success. Fr. Z repeatedly described Pope Benedict’s liturgical actions as a Marshall Plan for the Catholic Church, and he was right to do so – a Catholic Church with a clear sense of its own identity and belief, both of which are intrinsically rooted in its history, is a stronger and truer Catholic Church, one better capable of confronting the new atheistic societies and the new assault on religious freedom. Beautiful copes did not stop the Lion of Muenster from staring down the Nazis and dying for the faith (and speaking of “first hand knowledge of real government persecution and atheistic public policies” Papa Ratzi may have only been a kid, but he was there too.)

  • Molly

    I think it’s the same age old fear of “what if it’s not true?” After all this time, what if we get a Pope who makes the whole thing come crashing down? I know AND believe on an intellectual level that this isn’t possible, but sometimes it’s hard to tell my heart not to fear. I know the Borgia and Medici popes happened, but they seem like stories, not real. But then I have to remind myself that Benedict, BENEDICT, scared the living daylights out of me. I knew he was faithful to Church teaching and was known for being maybe the most faithful of his time. So why did he scare me? He wasn’t my Papa. I had grown up not relating to the Pope as a teaching father, but as an emotional father. I know JPII was a brilliant philosopher in the same vein that Benedict is a brilliant theologian, but that’s not what my heart experienced. My heart experienced that face filled with love, that solid huge rock of a man who never wavered. He embodied the unchanging teaching of the Church for me because I trusted him. And so intellectually what I knew about Benedict, that here was a Pope who had proved himself throughout his own life never to falter on Church teaching, did nothing for me. My thought about him, honestly, when his name was read? “What if he doesn’t love us like Pope John Paul II?” I see now what a ridiculous question. But it was the question of a scared child losing her father. What I had to realize was that losing him was going to make me trust my real Father. As much of a saint as JPII was, he couldn’t give me all that I needed and he was never ever meant to. I came to love Benedict because I had to first realize that I needed to trust my Father, trust that He would never abandon his Church and therefore would never abandon me. Once I trusted that, I could see what he gave me through Benedict, I could feel that love from his gentle eyes, and see that the strength that flowed from his teacher ways were as strong as John Paul II’s. And again he became my Papa. But only because I trusted my real Father. I hope this will happen with Pope Francis. I simultaneously love the things he’s doing from a deep emotional reaction, but since I’ve come in the past eight years to look for my Papa in the ways God allowed me to love Benedict, I can’t see a Papa yet. All I can do is trust that it will come, and trust that the Church cannot fall, whoever he turns out to be.

  • Molly

    Can I also pretend that after all that over emotional typing I just did that I did not type the phrase “had proved”? I hate it when I think I sound really smart and then I do stuff like that. Seriously :).

  • pedroerik

    I am missing Benedict XVI more each day, I must pray for me and for the Church.

    But I also think that simplicity and humility is not enough for a Pope, and, druing his papacy he will show much more.I pray for that too.

  • paustainp

    Be at peace. I love Pope Emeritus Benedict, but I also trust the Holy Spirit is in charge and it is time for Pope Francis.

    I make rosaries. Not to sell, but as an offering to God which I then give away for Him to do as He pleases with them (in order to help the recipient develop a closer relationship with God.) I always get a response of “these are beautiful!” They are also “non-traditional.” I use different bead types and colors, usually representing a story or a concept. The only rule I follow is to remain “constant” in size and shape in a single decade. For example, I recently made some St. Michael rosaries for the troops. The first 3 Hail Mary Beads suggested a fire and I used the same bead type in a larger size for the Our Fathers between the decades, but the initial 2 Our Father Beads were ceramic beads in the shape of a dragon and the remaining Hail Mary beads were flat oval beads to suggest a blade. Obviously I was doing a visual representation of the “expulsion of Lucifer and the rebellious angels from heaven by Michael.” Was it a rosary? Yes, it was a 5 decade Dominican rosary. Was it traditional? It depends what you mean by traditional. The only specified rule for rosaries is that they have the beads necessary to count the prescribed prayers, there is no “rule” about their form, but the rosaries I make are unusual.

    Tradition is good, but respectful innovation is not bad as long as one is doing it with God’s guidance in prayer and not in hubris.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lydia.cubbedge Lydia Hart Cubbedge

    This is very beautiful, Kat.

    I miss Benedict, too, but for slightly different reasons. Taste-wise, BXVI and I are truly sympatico, but I’m not particularly fussy, generally speaking, about vestments, etc. As long as it doesn’t end up on Bad Vestments, I’m happy. I was a Razinger fangirl before he became Pope, and his writing is, in part, what chucked out a lot of my protestant ideas about the faith. Spes Salvi changed my life, no joke. A lot of the uncertainly may be just because we haven’t had a chance to get to know our new Pope yet. He doesn’t have a huge canon of written work we can sift through and begin to know the man. His canon of work seems largely visual thus far. Being a visual learner myself, it has caught me off guard at how very apostolic and in your face Christianity is meant to be. (Not that BXVI wasn’t. I remember the footage of him breaking away from his security detail in Africa to go and kiss a baby with hypercephaly. Fearless and kind.The man is NOT an isolated academic, whatever the press says. His gifts, though, certainly lie in teaching).

    I’m not afraid of our new Pope, and I admit I liked him right away, but I am disconcerted by his example, just like folks who didn’t know BXVI were disconcerted by him. I can talk the talk with the best of them, and I believe and love all the Church teaches, but it’s SO hard to live it in a visible “see how Christians love one another” kind of way. In the West, where people don’t read or think, example is sorely needed, and, if I’m anything to go by, the brainy Catholic brigade isn’t doing too well in terms of reaching worldlings. I think that’s the scary thing for me. It reminds me of what Evelyn Waugh wrote in his novel, Helena. St. Helena goes to Bethlehem to celebrate Epiphany, to which she is particularly attached because the wise men were “her’ people: educated, noble, with a taste for the impractical and fancy. There isn’t anything wrong with that. It’s good. But in the novel she offers a prayer, the gist of which is “remember people like us, when the simple come into their kingdom.” I think those of us who are of a type need this unsettling not so we can do away with the importance of beautiful liturgy and art and all that good stuff, but so we can simplify our hearts and our example.

    Sorry to be so long-winded!

  • Ed Skrivanek

    Be not Afraid!

    “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

    Joshua 1:8-10

  • http://twitter.com/theheartlander The Heartlander

    I don’t know if we’ll ever know the full truth behind Benedict’s abdication. If the whole truth ever becomes public, though, I believe Benedict will be recorded by history as one of the most heroic popes ever. I personally believe that he abdicated because of the rule that when the papacy becomes “Sede Vacante,” ALL the top Curia posts become “sede vacante” as well. Stepping down was the only way to assure that the extreme evil infecting the Curia would be swept out sooner than later. In other words, Benedict “fell on his sword” for the sake of the Church. His abdication so soon after receiving the full dossier prepared for him by the 3 cardinals he assigned to investigate everything surrounding “Vatileaks” is a strong piece of evidence for this, in my opinion.

    I became convinced of this theory after reading a HUGELY important paper by the well-respected Polish theology professor Fr. Dariusz Oko. I cannot urge strongly enough all my fellow Catholics to read this post-haste. It will shock you, it will open your eyes, it will explain many things. It is long, but I beg you to read the whole thing:
    http://www.lifesitenews.com/resources/with-the-pope-against-homoheresy

    I do believe Benedict is a hero, and that it is only because he is deeply, intimately plugged in to the Holy Spirit that he was able to discern that God wanted him, I believe, to take that most unusual action, abdication.

    I believe we can rest assured that the same Holy Spirit who guided Benedict’s decision also guided the cardinals’ election of Pope Francis.

    We are living in VERY interesting times.

  • http://twitter.com/theheartlander The Heartlander

    Yes, the best writing is always by people who DO NOT HOLD BACK and fearlessly seek to be absolutely honest.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    One thing that helped me greatly with these same thoughts, is a conspiracy theory. I have no idea if it is true- but it raises Benedict to an even higher status of humility if it is.

    Here goes- Vatileaks exposed *major* problems with the curia, with the cardinals whose jobs run the church. One way to sweep the floor clean- was to take a member of the curia who the report listed as one of the good guys, have Benedict resign (thus firing all the curia without actually naming names) and let the new Pope attack the corruption by not reappointing certain people.

    As one of the few cardinals with almost NO skeletons in the closet (and the few skeletons he has, appear to be dry bones and dust from 40 years ago) Pope Francis is a *better* man for this job than Benedict was- and Benedict, in his humility, knows it.

    It is vitally important that this Pope does something, anything, to clean house.

  • Nicholas Haggin

    Katrina, you are not superficial to worry, or to be sad about losing some of the ornaments of the liturgy. You would be superficial if you left the Church over it, or refused the Pope his due honor and obedience, but the kind of sadness you express, which is rooted in an appreciation for the symbols and what they mean, is not superficial.

    My wife and I both have been having trouble with this transition, and my wife thinks the problem is that we can’t mourn Pope Benedict. I think she’s right, and that inability to mourn has not been helped one whit by the Internet-enabled nastiness, whether it comes from the Vinegar and Urine wing (thank you Mark Shea) abandoning reason for raw hysterics, or from Cardinal Mahony tweeting away about how he’s so happy about going from HIGH church to LOW church (his own capitalization). With friends like these….

    Oh, and as to Marxist liberation theology: Pope Francis is a staunch opponent thereof. That is one reason why certain folks in Argentina have attempted a smear campaign on his history with the military government, and that is also why he was marginalized by his fellow Jesuits in Argentina until he was consecrated as an auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jane.hartman.716 Jane Hartman

      Oh, how I agree with you about this Internet nastiness. I won’t even darken the door of Mark Shea’s blog. Patheos gives first lines of the blogs and sometimes I stumble into it, but it’s always just awful.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

        I am honored then that you stuck around long enough to make it to the comments Not all of Patheos is awful, I hope you continue to give it a chance.

      • Nicholas Haggin

        Apologies; I did not make myself clear at all. Mark is not a member of the Urine and Vinegar Wing, and I think he has been doing very well in re Pope Francis. As far as I know, Mark coined the term “Urine and Vinegar Wing” to describe folks such as those commenting at Rorate Caeli and elsewhere, people of a traditional bent who are flipping out over Pope Francis in irrational fear.

        • FuquaySteve

          Yeah, Mark is known for his charity. /sarc off

  • michiganlady

    This is really one of the better blog posts I’ve seen this week. I love Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, for his honesty, not so much for his clothes and all the trappings, but those things came with. :) He told the truth about the Latin Mass, and he told the truth about the abuse scandals. He guided the Church through a very dangerous time. I will always be very grateful to him.
    Pope Francis is also going to be a very honest, straight-forward pope. This is exactly what we need in this time. He’s going to lead us from the superficiality that we’ve fallen into, to a new realization of the Gospel through evangelization. We’re ready for it, or God wouldn’t have queued it up at this time. Don’t worry. Keep the Faith. It’s going to be okay.

  • kirthigdon

    I had no idea there were so many people angry or sad about Pope Benedict’s decision to resign. Everyone I talked to thinks he made the right decision in terms of his poor health and many have praised his humility. I certainly like Benedict, but can’t really relate to his fashion sense. I’m generally considered the polar opposite of fashionable. Dare I hope that Pope Francis’s taste in clothes may be as bad as my own?

  • Iota

    [Disclaimer: Francis is so much MY pope, that I could be jumping for joy (I was silently hoping for a member of a religious order, and I’m thrilled he's not European, plus I like his outgoing manner). As I pointed out being from a very different part of the world means I have no anxieties whatsoever about any impact on the liturgy. We hadn’t gone through whatever the US seems to have gone through in the seventies....]

    Nevertheless…

    I don’t really think it’s fair to see Popes as ideals, which all faithful must match. A Pope is still a single human being and, if we’re lucky and he’s saintly, can logically only express SOME aspects of Catholic spirituality. Popes have to differ.

    Secondly, you wrote: “who has personal first hand knowledge of real government persecution and atheistic public policies?” – Sorry, I am going to nitpick: John Paul II knew real government prosecution (both Soviet and Nazi – both can be called atheistsic). Benedict has been forced into Hitlejugend… If you want to project a Pope’s life directly onto a single country then the prosecution
    of Catholics in the US should have been relatively stable for a long time now,
    given this metric.

    Of course, if we shift the perspective to encompass the global Church, we can see persecution (literally involving a risk of death).

    TL;DR: Everyone, please try not to panic (that’s what this post feels like – apologies if I’m wrong). The Pope is elected for the Universal Church (the “us” that is bigger than “me and you” or “a nation”), so I’d suppose his choice is not primarily an indictment of a single country, much less of a single person’s spirituality. If Francis spurs you on to do something constructive and holy, I’m happy for you. But I kind of doubt if panic is holy.

  • Nan

    As God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son to die on the cross for us, so Benedict resigned as an act of love for the Church. We don’t need to understand exactly why Benedict resigned, but we must accept it and accept his successor. We’re not required to have the warm fuzzies for him, merely openness to learn who he is and grow to love him, not as we loved Pope Benedict or Blessed John Paul II or any other pope but as we love Pope Francis.

    Pope Francis took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Poverty. Not using all the fancy trappings sends the message that he adheres to his vow of poverty. It doesn’t mean he disdains the Mozetta, the red shoes, the papal tiara, it just means he doesn’t think it’s appropriate to use them. Same thing with not having a super-fancy pectoral cross or a gold fisherman’s ring; his is gold-plated. Taking the bus with the other guys (are Cardinals guys?) and taking care of his own business is who he is; I’d pray for the Swiss Guard as he has probably already given them fits and will continue to do so.

    I’m scared for Francis, not for us; he’s a straight-shooter and will say what he thinks. Many powerful people don’t find that endearing. He darts into the crowd, making himself an easy target. At the same time, he shows how much he loves us; he doesn’t want the security, the popemobile, anything to distract him from us, the people of God. The biggest reason for my fear is that he reminds me of John Paul I, the smiling pope. I hope he will remain healthy for many years to lead the Church through these difficult times.

    All my lenten penances are offered for Benedict, as he prays for the Church. I pray for Pope Francis, that he may guide the Barque of Peter on its true course.

  • Fr John Corrigan

    How beautifully honest Katrina.

    I could relate to a lot of it. If I read too much commentary, I get anxious, and I miss Pope Benedict. When I read or watch Pope Francis unfiltered, and when I pray for him, the anxiety leaves and I’m filled with peace.

    I think another problem — apart from the one you’ve raised and I’ll ponder on further — is that the commentariat constantly COMPARES Francis and Benedict. The Prelate of Opus Dei recently suggested this is a big temptation which Catholics should fight against.

    To repeat what I’ve just blogged myself, “Journalists will naturally view Pope Francis as a Pope Benedict’s replacement. But as Catholics, we should view Pope Francis as St Peter’s successor. These understandings are quite different. For that reason alone, we should not allow the media to determine our attitude on the pope.”

  • Iris Celeste

    One person is attracted to the Church and is brought to Christ one way and another another way. Pope Francis is a latin with the usual latin show of love and affection Pope Benedict is German and more reserved with his demonstration of affection, but that doesn’t mean he loved the “other” any less. Does Pope Francis’ showing his acceptance of the “other” tweak your conscience? Good. We all have to be more generous towards those who are different than we. The thing is to bring the “other” to Christ. When we can’t bring ourselves to do it with action, then we need to do it with prayer.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    Wow! I was having a very hard time reading this and thinking what a narrowminded view this writer has, until I reached “Guess what, I just realized I’m a superficial Catholic.” and then had a good laugh. Self reflection is wonderful.

  • Elvenfoot

    Lovely post–thank you for this profound and timely food for thought.

  • KyPerson

    When it comes to shoes, how quickly we forget that John Paul II disdained the red ones and kept on wearing his old brown ones. Indeed, they were almost his trademark. John Paul also refused the sedia gestoria (the chair the pope was carried on) and cut the papal ceremonial down quite a bit. I have a feeling Pope Francis will wear a mozzetta as soon as he feels the cold of a Roman winter.
    When it comes to the Mass, I think Francis celebrates it with reverence and dignity. I think he will be a much loved man and fearless in his defense of the Faith. I also think he will be the administrator the Church needs to clean out the deadwood in the Curia and, like St. Francis, build up the Church.

    • Marie Ruddy

      Well said! I couldn’t agree more!

  • http://twitter.com/JenniferLiving7 Jennifer Livingston

    I couldn’t agree more and I admire Kat’s courage in expressing openly what so many are feeling. Thank you, Kat.

  • Anne

    We need to remember what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI gave to us and never forget his beautiful homilies, encyclicals, letters etc. They are so beautiful. He was preparing us to enter into a deeper relationship with Christ in our personal lives and that is so important especially now in these days of uncertainty. I can only pray for Pope Francis and pray for our Church which is heading in for some really difficult moments. Trust in Jesus always at this time and remember He is always with us no matter what happens.

  • Melinda Loustalot

    I just look at it as having a papa AND a grandpapa. .

  • http://www.facebook.com/coucoumelle Jeanne Chabot-Baril

    I think of it this way. Pope BXVI resigned, not to “abandon” us, but to give us, not only a new vibrant, energetic “Papa” but also in order to give us what we haven’t had in about a millennium, something we probably really need; a “Grandpapy”. :) He didn’t abandon anybody, his role has just changed.

  • Mike

    I love that this article challenges us to not be superficial… However I can’t help but be further challenged to think that we need to get back to trusting in Christ, upon whom the church was built, rather than in a man (with all due respect to the pope). We need to understand what God teaches because His word is profitable for correction and teaching. Here is the Almighty God loving his children so much that he made himself lowly for our sake because of his great love and rich mercy!! He was not adorned in opulence. I can’t help but think of how many children are starving because of the riches caught up in the pope’s fancy throne, or in my fancy flat screen TV, or my extra helping of ice cream! I don’t mean to be disrespectful rather i want to be biblical. If Jesus didn’t have a throne here on earth than who are we to? We ARE NOT the end consumers of God’s blessings. His blessings are for others also… if it were not so then He wouldn’t have given us the Great Commission. Let us cherish God, His word, hope in him and trust that He has the power to lead the Pope and the rest of God’s church.

  • Debi Knight

    we must not follow any man. we need to place our faith in Christ and disregard all others. it seems to me that this pope wants to make the catholic church more politically correct but the scriptures are very clear and they are the word of God. in order to gain greater acceptance for the church, the pope appears to be contradicting the word of God. I was so shocked to hear him say that people don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven. the bible tells us that we must believe that Jesus is the son of God and that he died for our sins. Jesus is the truth, the light and the way. any other message than this doesn’t come from God. this pope is scaring me.


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