No Matter Who’s The Pope, The Church Will Always Still Be THE Church…

… The humblest thing I ever saw a pope do was to abdicate the papacy. That right there was a true act of humility. Granted, I was confused and heartbroken at the time – even a little angry. Alright, a lot angry. However, I can look back and see BXVI’s actions for what they were. A genuine example of humility and self sacrifice.

Now compare the act of giving up the papacy with riding public transit, living in the equivalent of a Vatican Motel 6, or opting for a cheaper ride. One Pope gave all that he had- the papacy- for the good of the Church, the other (in my opinion) gives little in comparison while the media continues to make a grand show of it.


Zeferino Da Costa, The Widow’s Mite

Let’s see … the Papacy versus a fancy pope ride. A sweet pope ride that was a gift, mind you, and not purchased with tithing from the faithful or Vatican funds.

A little perspective please.

Pretty red pope shoes worn by Pope Benedict. Gift. Mercedes-Benz popemobile used by Pope Benedict. Also a gift. Swank threads and vestments. Gifts. Gifts given to the Pope by the faithful as acts of devotion and love. The rest, hand me downs from all his predecessors.

So pardon me if when I read about Pope Francis eschewing gifts and opting for cheaper goods it doesn’t really smack of hard sacrifice. Quite honestly, it sounds more like false economics than it does humility.

A false economy is an action that saves money at the beginning but which, over a longer period of time, results in more money being spent or wasted than being saved. For example, if a city government decided to purchase the least expensive automobiles for use by city workers, it might be termed a false economy, as cheap automobiles have a record of needing more frequent repairs in the long term and the additional repair costs would eradicate any initial savings.

Buying less expensive products isn’t being financially modest. It’s poor economics. Because I know first hand that cheap in the long run isn’t always cheap, I’m not jumping on the hurray-he’s-so-humble bandwagon while the Pope guilt’s priest into not having nice vehicles. Never mind that priests do a lot of traveling and their vocation depends on having reliable transportation and lots of dealership offer discounts for clergy or they even get them as gifts, like the Colombian priest who is getting rid of the expensive car his four brothers purchased for him. No press release yet on how the priests’ brothers feel about their gift not being appreciated.

Speaking of poor economic decisions; I want to put some perspective of the Vatican’s riches. Typically when you hear a Catholic speak of the “riches of the Church” they aren’t necessarily referring to money and stacks of gold. Riches can include spiritual riches, important historical artifacts and art collected and donated over centuries and even knowledge. People hear “riches of the Church” and imagine the Pope as some goblin king sitting on mounds and mounds of gold doubloons refusing to share.


Smaug’s precious.

I am trying so damn hard people. I really am. The respect and obedience is certainly there. But the love is hard to muster. It’s definitely not coming as natural as it did for Papa Bennie. Where the media and half the Catholic world see Pope Francis the Humble, I see a Pope who refuses to give up the person and personality of Cardinal Bergoglio. Cardinal Ratzinger the person decreased and Pope Benedict flourished in his place. I’m not getting a sense of that personal decreasing in Pope Francis, which is why, I suppose, it’s so hard for me to translate Bergoglio just being Bergoglio as awesome humility. I believe he’s a genuine guy, sure, and he’s certainly more humble than I am. I just don’t share the opinion that he’s the most humble pope to walk the earth.

So I don’t love the Pope. It happens.

I’ve come to realize this doesn’t make me bad or any less Catholic than not loving our current president makes me un-American. No, it just makes me a struggling Catholic. And really, as Catholics, we are all predisposed to daily struggles. I think I am going to have stop beating myself up over this and using my love or lack thereof for Pope Francis as some litmus test for fidelity to God and Church. I’d appreciate it if readers did the same.

I mean, we aren’t talking about heresies and disobedience here. We talking about clashes in person style and taste. Nothing to lose faith over. Yes, it’s spiritually zapping not to have the love and pride for a Pope to fuel your religious enthusiasm, but it’s not a deal breaker. I’m not quitting the Church over this. That would be me refusing to get over myself. Instead it’s just going to have to be a matter of making a conscience decision to not let this disrupt my peace.

Because like I said before, there’s really nothing else for me to be but Catholic and no matter who’s pope, the Church will always be The Church.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • AMoniqueOcampo

    Thank God that in Catholicism there are different kinds of love. You may not admire Pope Francis or even like him (or what he brings), but I know that you do respect him. So while you had storge (affection) for Pope Benedict, maybe you can practice agape (unconditional) love for Pope Francis. (BTW: Read CS Lewis’s The Four Loves. It’s awesome!)

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

      You know what.. I own that book and have never read it. I might take that advice.

      • AMoniqueOcampo

        DO IT! DO IT!

        • Quid

          Not trying to critique CS Lewis here (usually he’s amazing) but I thought the Four Loves was easily his worst. If you’re looking for a good book on love try Deus Caritas Est

  • J Linn

    I second your emotion.

    • JR

      Papa Benedict XVI, the Venerable Old Man of Lazio

    • JR

      Oh, and I third. I haven’t listened to a single word he says nor will I. nor did I watch him walk out on the balcony.

      • Molly

        So are you just going to wait until there’s a pope you like to listen to the pope?

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

          Yeah, I agree with Molly here. I don’t like F1′s style, for sure, but we do, out of obedience, need to listen to him. Sure, maybe not every off the cuff homily, but certainly the biggies.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        I agree with the others- there is a need to listen to him. But if you are like me, you can only listen in translation.

  • Neil Leslie

    I wouldn’t worry about it too much Kat. Popes are people too, just like anybody else, and if Pope Francis’s style isn’t your style, it’s OK. You say that you related to Benedict XVI far better than you do to Pope Francis. As for me, I was extremely fond of John Paul II, and I had a hard time relating to Benedict. John Paul seemed so warm and expressive and outgoing, and by comparison Benedict seemed just a little prickly, aloof, and standoffish. In time though, I came to realize that Benedict just wasn’t going to be John Paul III, so I backed off and let Benedict be Benedict. I came to appreciate the different gifts that each man brought to the church. My advice is just to let Francis be Francis, and in time you may come to appreciate what he brings to the Church, even if you may not love him personally. I am old enough to remember JPII’s predecessor, Paul VI, who was definitely not a warm, fuzzy, lovable guy. He did, however, do one thing that’s worth appreciating and remembering: he wrote Humanae Vitae that reaffirmed the Church’s opposition to abortion, birth control and contraception in the face of considerable pressure to do otherwise. That took guts, and he deserves to be appreciated for that. I didn’t love the guy, but I do appreciate him. You may not love Pope Francis, but in time you may come to appreciate him.

  • Lisa Julia

    i dunno…i think you DO love Pope Francis…you just don’t care for/like his style…that’s a big difference…i don’t believe you to be shallow, so don’t sell yourself short.

  • Illinidiva

    I don’t think you need to love the Pope. I really didn’t like Benedict. He reminded me of the Church I grew up with ; that was rigid, harsh, and strict. It is the Church that featured heavily in my life.. one with crabby nuns in habits, having priests tell you you were naughty if you got bad grades (and headed for Hell), and having to kneel as a six year old through Communion. And that was during JPII who I loved. I admire Benedict for resigning, but forgive me if I’m not a fan of the people like Cardinal Burke who he enabled. I think this is the difference between being a convert and being a cradle Catholic.

    As for Francis, he isn’t trying to be oh so humble. This is just who the man is. I do think that some of the moves are purposeful. For instance, the car thing is really about corruption in the Curia. Curia officials don’t make big bucks so those driving awesome cars probably got them through nefarious means. The car thing and simple living thing has certainly hit a nerve with hucksters like Father Z, who has devoted large portions of his blog to whining about Francis’ two sentences of comments in a thirty+ minute speech.

    • Molly

      No, if you all of what he said, that’s not even really what it’s about. He spoke about how our current culture has taught us all that we need the newest, best thing, always at any expense. That this idea is wrong. He did make the mistake of saying “don’t buy brand new cars”, but then he kind of corrected himself and used the phrase “humble cars”. Even when he said that, he came back to his reasoning being founded in a fight against this message, not a statement about the morality/immorality or fiscal common sense of buying new cars. I don’t think this was a “money saving” comment on his part at all. I think he is impeded by language first of all, and he tends to speak before he thinks. Also, again, this is a modern problem in that he was just having a conversation and he is going to have to get used to the fact that absolutely everything he says is going to be reported to the public within seconds. He has to start thinking about the fact that all words, period, that come out of his mouth are going to be taken by the media and uneducated public as “infallible” official pronouncements of the Catholic Church. Benedict didn’t interact, personally, the way this pope does. JPII did, but didn’t have to deal with social media and the internet (remember it was the late 90′s when he was starting to not really be able to verbally communicate all that well).

      • Illinidiva

        Oh.. Francis meant exactly what Francis said. There was no correction to that statement and he actually doubled down with his Ford Focus and inspection of the Vatican garages. Francis has a very specific idea about the priesthood that he modeled in Buenos Aires and is continuing to model to the extent he can in Rome. That model includes voluntary, simple living. Yes, as a Jesuit, Bergoglio took a vow of poverty, but he was released from that vow when consecrated a bishop. And there is nothing to suggest that he couldn’t have lived in the mansion or kept the car and driver as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. They really are there mainly for the convenience of an extra busy man. However, Bergoglio really did understand the power of symbolism. To reach the people he wanted to reach, he needed to have a certain lifestyle. Who do you think that the people in favelas were going to relate to Father Jorge who they saw on the bus every day or the Archbishop of Buenos Aires? He is trying to do the same thing for the Church as a whole, which given the scandals is a good thing. The only people upset by the car thing seem to be Internet conmen like Father Z and that has to do with Father Z’s dawning realization that he might have to work as an actual priest rather than living off the donations of his readers and readerettes.

        Frankly, I’m getting really tired of the whole idea that Bergoglio is a bumpkin who somehow wandered into the Vatican and needs to learn to be Pope. The man is an astute politician and there is nothing to indicate he doesn’t know exactly what he is doing. Francis understands the modern media, he works a room better than many politicians, and he knows how to use dramatic gestures to make his point. What he is saying isn’t confusing or contradictory; it is quite clear. It does seem that people who don’t like what he is saying are bending it to adhere to their ideas. This is more them coping with a different type of pope than anything else.

        • Molly

          When I said correction I was referring to his difference in using the phrase “not new cars” vs “humble cars” and how he probably did not mean “clergy are bad for driving any type of new car whatsoever in any circumstance”. Maybe I should t call it a correction but more of a clarification. His main point was not to teach on the morality of buying cars, which is how I’ve seen it interpreted in some places (Fr Z’s blog included). And I never said he was a bumpkin, or not an astute politician. I illustrated the differences I’ve observed between him, Benedict and JPII. Which I think is perfectly fine. It not a criticism nor a comparison. Just an observation while trying to get to know him.

          • Illinidiva

            1. He actually did say it was fine to purchase a car in his speech to the seminarians and novices. What he did say is that perhaps be mindful of the car you purchase.

            2. Father Z is obviously in overdrive about the situation because the whole passage was criticizing priests like Father Z. What exactly does the man do again other than update his blog? I don’t think that he has an actual ministry or is assigned to a parish. If his readers start questioning him, then the money might stop flowing in. Best get in front of these stories and interpret them for his readers.

            3. I was mentioning this in general again based on my experience with certain blogs that condescendingly think that Francis needs time to learn to be “pope.” I don’t think that a man who served as Archbishop of Buenos Aires for fifteen years and nearly did become pope in 2005 needs time to adapt to his job. He certainly has different ideas about the institution and has had eight years to think about them.

          • Molly

            Agreed. Although I know very little about Fr Z and haven’t read many if his posts so I’ll refrain from agreeing with number two just out of lack of knowledge. But as far as the others I think we are on the same page.

        • Molly

          But I also get sick of the media calling upon how he contrasts Benedict in order to illustrate how THEY think the Church is out of touch. I think they’re actually quite complimentary to each other. A living illustration of the Church’s “both / and” mentality. Of course Francis’ walks through the garages were part of “cracking down” on he curia. But these comments he made to the seminarians were not made at same time as he was walking through the garages. I think when he was talking to them (which is the context of the comments) he was trying to teach, not trying to publicly shame the members of the Curia to the media.

          • Illinidiva

            I agree with you that Benedict couldn’t catch a break with the media. Lots of more liberal Vaticanistas like John Allen with the NCR have pointed that out and are sympathetic to it. And yes Francis does appreciate having his predecessor around as a sounding board.

            And no Francis wasn’t specifically talking about the Curia. He was discussing in general how priests should behave. However, everything should be filtered through Francis’ reform of the Curia. Average Joe priest who works as a pastor isn’t going to be driving a fancy car but it does seem that many of the Cardinals working for the Curia are leading impressive lifestyles. So I think that this is what was going through Francis’ mind about priests having lavish lifestyles. However, there is an occasional priest who likely does have a car he doesn’t need.

          • Nan

            What of the priests from wealthy families? Or late vocations who have savings from their time working? Diocesan priests don’t take vows of poverty so no reason for these guys to give back inheritances or say no to their family or friends who want to give them a car. Historically there have been many priests from wealthy families. Even saints.

          • Illinidiva

            Yeah.. St. Francis renounced his family’s wealth; that is a huge part of his appeal. Pope Francis wants priests and religious, even diocesean priests that don’t take a vow of poverty, to try living a little bit more like his adopted namesake. The Pope would likely prefer that a priest from wealthy families give their inheritance to charity before their ordination. Requesting that priests live simpler lifestyles is a good thing considering the bad reputation that the Church has.

          • Molly

            I’ll play a little bit of devil’s advocate here. You don’t know what the Pope would likely prefer. I like seeing both sides of these arguments because they both make sense. But while Kat is frustrated with the comparison the media is making b/c she’s letting the media get to her (in a way) I feel like you are as well. The Pope is not trying to change the entire church into the Franciscan order. I agree with priests living simpler lifestyles, but I think they should do this because it is right, not because they need to fix the reputation of the Church. If all of the motivation for change comes from reaction to the Church’s secular reputation it becomes a slippery slope. Keep going down that line and you’ll have St. Peter’s being taken apart and sold for charity, an argument you often hear. Which is 100% incorrect. Extravagant things are not bad in and of themselves. Think of Dorothy Day’s story about the poor person who finds a diamond ring.

          • Illinidiva

            Oh.. I know that he isn’t going to sell St. Peter’s piece by piece. I also don’t think that Francis is against wealthy people persay. However, I do think that he would prefer that priests, even those with money, live simple lifestyles. If this is too much to ask for them, then they shouldn’t become priests in the first place. They can live their lives as good Catholic lay people and enjoy their wealth. Extravagent things and excessive wealth don’t really help the priest with his ministry and can place a barrier to the people that he is supposed to be serving.

          • Molly

            I get what you’re saying but how do you apply “simple lifestyles” to an entire world? A simple lifestyle in Argentina is a one bedroom apartment and a reliable bike. A simple lifestyle in midwest America would seem extremely extravagant to “middle class” citizens of India. As much as reforming the Curia is a huge part of his job right now, I don’t think it’s fair to look at every single thing he does or says through the eyes of only that. He is the spiritual leader of the entire world, not just “the great reformer of the curia”. I’m sure he’s well aware of this.

          • Illinidiva

            And priests can use their discretion to live a simpler lifestyle. No priest needs a pimped out Mercedes.

          • Molly

            You’re missing my point and I’m beginning to to think you’re using the “reform of the Curia” issue as a way to illustrate what it is that you yourself don’t like about the Church. My point is that the Curia needing reform is important but also momentary and in no way reflects a deficiency in the absolute unchanging truth and revelation of God that the Church holds interpretive authority over and responsibility for.

        • Nan

          Wow! In your charity, you might think of the good that Fr. Z does and the fact that those who support him, appreciate him. Nobody is holding a gun to their heads and forcing them to hit the donate button.

          You previously referenced the difference between converts and cradle catholics but don’t seem to understand that Catholic is Catholic. There’s no difference in God’s eyes between converts and cradle Catholics. None whatsoever, yet you seem to think that converts are inferior. Everyone has different experiences and no Catholic is better than the next.

          Oh, and Cardinal Burke? A lovely, holy man. I’ve met him.

          • Illinidiva

            There is a great difference between cradle Catholics and converts. Frankly, converts make the decision as an adult after having a good experience with the Catholic Church. In contrast, many cradle Catholics can tell you the horror stories that they had as a child growing up. The therapy bill associated with my years in Catholic school is quite long.

            And the nicest thing that I can say about Burke is that he reminds me of every bad experience I’ve ever had with Catholicism rolled up into one person.

          • Molly

            I can think of about at least ten evangelical conversion stories where the person went kicking and screaming all the way to Rome. They didn’t want it, didn’t like, it made them uncomfortable, their families disowned them, they lost their jobs (they were pastors). This is not a “good experience”. Joining the Catholic Church as a convert or deciding to remain in it as an adult cradle Catholic is not about a good experience. It’s about following the truth of the Church, regardless of how it makes you feel. This isn’t to say there aren’t a multitude of reasons it shouldn’t make you overwhelmingly happy, but you feel that way because you’re experiencing the truth. Not because you necessarily want or like what you’re experiencing. I’m a cradle Catholic. Grew up with the strict nuns, uniforms, Mass every morning each weekday of my life. And we kneeled all through the Eucharistic prayer and communion. Sounds like we had similar experiences. And I’ve never resented it. Not once. Maybe that’s a gift from God for me, that I never felt like it was damaging. (My son’s parish school is right now acting as the church since it has yet to be built. The kids kneel all through the Eucharistic prayer too, every morning. And it’s in a gym. And there’s no kneelers. It’s not bad for them to learn to sacrifice in face of what is being commemorated in front of them.) I’m sure it’s a product of different instruction. I was, miraculously for the generation I was brought up in, well catechized. The nuns were STRICT, but they loved us, and we knew it. The priests knew our names and loved us too. We received good catechesis OUT OF their love for us. Which is how it’s supposed to be.
            Look, there are some stereotypes about cradle vs. convert Catholics that have basis in reality. But constantly calling attention to that as a basis for an argument is completely subjective, and to be honest is not much different than what the media does with the two Popes.

          • Illinidiva

            I think that converts are more drawn to “old-timey” Catholic things. I recoil because they remind me of every bad memory I had growing up. Converts don’t have that reference point.

            As for my experience with the Catholic Church, it led me to have a severe eating disorder and nervous breakdown by the time I was 12. I got into the crosshairs of the “mean girls” at school, and since the “mean girls” were all from prominent families in the parish, it was all about blaming the victim. The priest basically told me that it was my fault as a shy, gawky 12-year-old that the girls ganged up on me because I wasn’t “assertive” enough. I never had a good experience with the nuns and priests. They didn’t know my name because I didn’t come from a prominent family. I was actually scared of them because they were all so mean and strict. The priests were especially scary because you had to act so formal around them. They came to give out report cards and would yell at you if you got bad grades. By the time I was in third grade, I was convinced that getting a “C” in art (I can only draw stick figures) would land me in Hell. I did end up going to Catholic school through most of my education because it was vastly superior to the local public schools. (I did leave and go to a public school after my nervous breakdown and spent eighth grade bored out of my mind.)

            I was away from the Church for fifteen plus years and have never been confirmed (nor do I have the inclination to be.) I tried returning to the Church a few times but the really ugly version of Catholicism kept popping up. I tried going to a Bible study and attending Mass regularly in college but the priest at the Newman Center was a jerk who liked giving overtly political sermons. He also had many of the college kids convinced that they were going to Hell after their confessions. I only started going to Mass regularly a few years ago because I found a very nice parish that was very open and tolerant. It is very contra what was going on in Rome and very liberal.

            As for Benedict vs. Francis, I actually don’t mind comparing the two. I like Francis much, much more than Benedict. I didn’t think that Benedict wanted to provide a welcoming atmosphere. I remember hearing how he wanted a smaller and purer Catholic Church, so I don’t think he cared about people who had poor experiences with the Church growing up. I think that Francis in contrast wants a very welcoming Catholic Church and actually cares about people who might have had poor experiences with the Church. He realizes that it is the Church’s fault that so many people have left and are disgusted with it.

          • Molly

            I empathize with your story I really do. But what you have to understand is that your experiences aren’t the Catholic Church, they’re people. That’s why I said that God blessed me with good experiences with people within the Church. But what you have to come to terms with is that the Church is the Church no matter who the Pope is, no matter how one feels about it and no matter what people’s experiences are. It holds the authority to teach Gods revealed absolute truth. If you start to look into and study what it teaches and why, and you pursue a spiritual life using the tools offered by the Church, you will come to understand , be at more peace about your own situation and be able to make an informed decision about what you think you are called to do. The fact that you don’t see the significance of being confirmed, which is a sacrament, and one that signifies coming into the Church as a freely choosing adult speaks volumes about what you are looking for from the Church. You’re “Church shopping” in a way, looking for what makes you feel things that are important to feel, but ultimately are not reasons you commit to the Church. The Church exists to serve God, not us, and to show us how to do so as well. It’s in this service and letting go of what we think we need that we become free. As far as Benedict and what he said about a smaller purer church, no he didn’t want that. But that is what he saw happening as a result of modern times and people’s insistence on changing the church into something they want it to be. Which is impossible. The Church is a divine institution and the human will has no power over it whatsoever. People have and will continue to leave the church over this. Hence birth control, gay marriage, abortion, etc. Francis is dead on strictly in line with Benedict in these things and when the media gets over their love affair make no mistake, he will become a bad guy to them as well.

            His actions to reform the Curia are to just that. The way he lives and leads the church, however, are motivated by strict adherence to Church teaching because it is right. Hey are in NO way a calculated PR move.

          • Illinidiva

            I didn’t have the horrible experiences that some people had with the Church and am not comparing them to those people. However, did you really feel that a child who was for instance abused by a priest should have to stay with an institution that did that to him or her? Or that poor people in Latin America might not be very fond of the institutional Church’s response to the dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s? In those cases, I think that people have every right to church shop.

            Even in cases like mine, where people are recovering Catholics, because of bad experiences with nuns and priests, etc., I think that I’m not obliged to stick with a religious institution that has caused me nothing but misery growing up. I do appreciate some aspects of Catholic teachings; I’m especially fond of certain saints. And I do like the parish I’m currently attending which is very inclusive and nice.

            And I think that Benedict liked the pre-Vatican II Church. He wanted to bring back the old time-y stuff because it was his security blanket. He enabled people who really didn’t like Vatican II and wanted to turn the clock completely back. I like Francis’ approach better because he definitely wants to move the Church into the 21st Century rather than back to the 1950s. However, I do think that one’s main focus on the Church should be the local parish, not Rome. My decisions to leave and return to the Church were based solely on my experiences with local parishes. However, I do hope that Francis influences priests to become more pastoral so that children don’t have to have a miserable experience with the Church. I also reserve the right to leave the Church again if some pre-Vatican II type becomes pope and decrees that all Masses have to be in Latin, etc.

          • Molly

            No of course not. No one is required to remain in the Church. My point was just that people tend to want to make the Church what they want it to be, and use their bad experiences (with people within the Church, not the Church) to justify why this should be done, or could be done. People who do bad things, even high up in the Church, will always be in the Church, they’re still human. My point is that those people are never going to change the truth of the Church nor are people reacting to them. Don’t take what i’m saying as a lack of sympathy for those with bad experiences.

            As far as my Church shopping comment I think you misunderstood me. I didn’t mean shopping between the Church and other denominations. I meant shopping for a parish that fits what you think the Church should be. I get gun shy of words like “liberal” and “tolerant” and “open” bc that’s what you hear most often about HOW the Church should be in today’s society and from the media. That the Church should change to fit modern times. Usually they’re talking in terms of doctrine/dogma and teachings having to do with faith and morals, like my example of birth control or women priests. That’s not going to change. No person on earth has the power to change that. Reforming administrative problems and change disciplinary matters are important, and matter very much towards the Church’s image, but they are very different than doctrinal teachings. Your comments like “bring the Church into the 21st century” are what make me wonder about your understanding of this.

            I’m almost laughing at the security blanket comment. Please please please read some of Benedict’s actual writings (and possibly a biography while you’re at it). My concern with what you are focusing on is just that I think you’re looking at “Church” as some sort of faith club you attend on Sundays, and therefore missing out on what the Church really is. Which is missing out on a lot.

          • Illinidiva

            I live in Chicago, so all churches are going to be more liberal because the people who live there are generally liberal. And I think it is fine to “church shop.” If the pastor is a jerk or the parish is full of nagging gossips, then it is not a positive place to attend Mass.

          • Molly

            It’s also very obvious you’ve read very little or listened to very little of Benedict’s own words if this is what you think is actually true of him. This is almost verbatim the secular medias portrayal of him and it couldn’t be further from the truth.

            You have also only paid attention to the media’s betrayal of Francis if you think that this is the opinion he has of the Church.

            Read their actual writings or transcripts of their sermons and not excerpts or a journalist’s paraphrase of their words.

          • Illinidiva

            No, I’ve never read anything that Benedict wrote because it was actually dense and impossible to understand. I’m also aware that Francis is Catholic and that he holds the same opinions about controversial subjects that Benedict did. And I have read quite a few of Francis’ sermons. I thought the one he gave last Monday was very nice.

          • Molly

            But this is just my point. Read the new encyclical of Francis’, it was started by Benedict. Read some of his sermons and not necessarily his academic books. But until you do that, how can you even claim to know what kind of Pope he was or what he thinks or what his ideas were? You’re basing your opinion of him solely off of media reports and blog posts.

            I mean does this sound like a man stuck in a rut of wanting people to only go to Latin Mass (which he doesn’t) and not reach the world?
            “The world needs this renewal! In so many of our societies, side by side with material prosperity, a spiritual desert is spreading interior emptiness, unnamed fears, a quiet sense of despair. How many of our contemporaries have built broken and empty cisterns in a desperate search for meaning – the ultimate meaning that only love can give?….The Church also needs this renewal! She needs your faith, your idealism and your generosity, so that she can always be young in the Spirit!”

          • Illinidiva

            Well.. If he didn’t, then why did he enable those who did, why did he force the really bad new English Mass translation on everyone, and why did he himself only use Latin in his Masses and other old time-y practices? Many of the people who liked Benedict were also those who wanted to return to the 1950s Church. If he didn’t, then why didn’t he criticize his “super-fans” that did? I’ve heard quite a bit of criticism of such traditionalists from Francis (along with snarks about hippie nuns) but didn’t hear any such remarks from Benedict ever. Frankly, by renewal, I do think that he meant returning to the pre-Vatican II Church.

            And I never understood anything that Benedict wrote which is typical for popes. I didn’t understand most of what JPII was saying either. Francis is a breath of fresh air because I can actually grasp what he is saying.

          • Molly

            How can you claim to know what he meant if you’ve never read his own words and admittedly gotten your information only through second hand sources? And the translation WAS bad, as in it was the only modern language translation today that was not accurate. The new translation actually caught us up to the rest of the world.

          • Illinidiva

            “How can you claim to know what he meant if you’ve never read his own words and admittedly gotten your information only through second hand sources? ”
            Because his superfans never complained about him and they now spend most of their time in a perpetual hissy fit over Francis. A guilty pleasure of mine is to peek at traditionalist blogs and see what the newest complaint is.

            “And the translation WAS bad, as in it was the only modern language translation today that was not accurate. ”

            And why was it necessary to introduce clunky, awkward English that wouldn’t be tolerated by most high school English teachers. If the underlying Latin is so clunky and poorly worded, then perhaps that needs to be updated as well. Plus, the theology is confusing.. Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross didn’t redeem everyone?

          • Molly

            I’m not really sure why you’re here commenting on this blog. I’m not a traditionalist and don’t follow many their blogs although I have a generally good understanding of their position and as long as its rational have no problem with it. There is room for traditionalists and “regular” people in the Church. My suggestion would be to spend a llittle less time on the traditionalists blogs and a little more time actually learning about the Church and what it teaches bc by your comments you’ve demonstrated a tendency to look for a way to make the Church what you personally want it to be and not much actual understanding of even the basic fundamentals of what it teaches. I’m not saying this to insult you or judge you as a person. I’m saying this because you obviously have an interest in the Church and a desire for it to be in your life. Putting your preconceived stereotypes and ideas aside and actually being open to at leas finding out what the Church really is can only be positive for you, even if you decide you don’t want to be involved with it because you will be making an informed decision and not constantly frustrating yourself trying to make it what it isn’t.

          • Illinidiva

            “I’m not really sure why you’re here commenting on this blog. I’m not a traditionalist and don’t follow many their blogs although I have a generally good understanding of their position and as long as its rational have no problem with it.”

            This came up on my Google feed and I thought it was interesting.

            “My suggestion would be to spend a llittle less time on the traditionalists blogs and a little more time actually learning about the Church and what it teaches bc by your comments you’ve demonstrated a tendency to look for a way to make the Church what you personally want it to be and not much actual understanding of even the basic fundamentals of what it teaches”

            12 years of Catholic school.. I know exactly what the Church teaches; that got drilled into my head. And I do think that the Church is on the right track because the sort of people who screwed up my childhood are all upset. That makes me happy.

            “Putting your preconceived stereotypes and ideas aside and actually being open to at leas finding out what the Church really is can only be positive for you,”

            What stereotypes?

        • Romulus

          Well, Francis as Pope is occupying more real estate than Benedict did. Ever think about that?

          • Illinidiva

            I don’t see how Francis’ living arrangements are in anyway a bad thing. In fact, he seems to have solved the bubble problem that plagued his predecessors. If it provides for a happy, well-informed Pope who is able to tackle problems in the Church, I’m all for it.

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

      I don’t think it’s necessary or helpful to your point to call Fr. Z, a man of the cloth, a huckster.

      • Illinidiva

        If he was actually a frazzled priest running a parish, I’d have more empathy for him on this point. Just because someone is a priest, doesn’t mean that he is officially holy. The man they arrested in Rome transporting bags of money was also an ordained priest.

        I don’t think that Father Z is doing anything criminal, but I generally have more sympathy and empathy for priests who actually work as priests.

        • Nan

          You don’t think his blog is work as a priest? There are things I don’t like about him, but a few years ago, when I was trying to find credible information about the Church, and had nowhere to turn to get questions answered, his blog was a huge help to me. It might not seem like anything but whiny crap to you, but he shares a ton of good, solid information with the masses and it is a big deal.

          I don’t think that being a frazzled priest running a parish is a prerequisite for holiness, but nobody has said that priests are all holy and I don’t know where you’re coming from with “officially holy.” I don’t think you get a certificate from the Vatican or some kind of holiness stamp along with ordination.

          I do value the work Fr Z does in sharing contact information for various offices, counsel for who to contact if there’s a problem, how to approach various issues. He’s a cheerleader for the extraordinary form, which some desperately need, especially if they’re from dioceses with out or parishes in which the pastor has rejected that form of Mass and for those who think they’re alone in their desire for EF.

          Kneeling for Communion is a problem? That’s a first-world, spoiled rotten attitude. There are children starving for communion, whose greatest joy would be to receive. I know, I was one of them.

          • Illinidiva

            “You don’t think his blog is work as a priest?”

            No I think that he is ripping off his blog readers and mis-representing himself as a bigger deal than he is. As far as I know, he has never worked as a pastor or in any ministry. He misrepresents himself as a big deal when he really isn’t. I have to admire the chutzpah of it, but a scam is a scam.

            “I don’t think that being a frazzled priest running a parish is a prerequisite for holiness, but nobody has said that priests are all holy and I don’t know where you’re coming from with “officially holy.””

            I was just making the point that just because someone is a priest doesn’t mean that he is actually a good person. Don 500 is also a priest and he was arrested while sneaking bags of money out of Rome. I think that Father Z has a perfectly legal scam going on, but it is really contra to Pope Francis’ vision of the priesthood.

            “Kneeling for Communion is a problem? That’s a first-world, spoiled rotten attitude. There are children starving for communion, whose greatest joy would be to receive. I know, I was one of them.”

            Yeah.. I never had to do something ridiculous like kneel to receive Communion. I did as a six, seven, and eight year old have to kneel through the entire Communion reception (a good fifteen minutes) while the big kids received Communion. All I got from that delightful experience was sore knees. Just one of the fun little factors from my Catholic school education that contributed to my therapy bill.

        • Romulus

          A priest “works as a priest” when he celebrates Mass. Period. Writing about sacred subjects is entirely compatible with that. You seem to think all priests need to be Bing Crosby movies priests. You are the prisoner of low information and a limited imagination.

          • Illinidiva

            Yep, those twelve years of Catholic school totally left me low information.. Totally. I wish there were more nicer, pastoral priests out there. I’ve met a handful in my life.

    • Romulus

      Benedict reminded you of rigidity and harshness? That’s just weird. You really are out of touch.

      • BillyT92679

        I loved Benedict, I love Francis, and I loved Bl JP II.

        Why the ad hominem attack on Illinidiva? That’s a jerk comment.

        • Romulus

          Unintended irony alert.

          • BillyT92679

            Uh, no, not at all dude.

          • BillyT92679

            See, you see, there’s a difference in calling someone personally out of touch, and saying his or her comment is a jerk comment. Now, perhaps, you can split hairs and say it’s passive-aggressive/whatever your heart desires. But, overarchingly, there’s a subtle difference here.

            Nuance, Romulus, nuance.

      • Illinidiva

        I never warmed to the guy, which is why I said that empathize and understand why people might not like Francis. Benedict did remind me of bad childhood memories.

        • Ed

          Pope Benedict XVI was first and foremost a great teacher and scholar. Benedict could potentially be a future Doctor of the Church(just read his encyclicals, homilies and books) His aloofness probably has more to do with his shy and humble nature, but people who know him describe him as warm and gentle.

          • Illinidiva

            I actually have never understood anything that he has said. But that is nice that fellow academics like his work. I do admire the resignation and hope that this becomes a trend because modern medicine can lead invalid popes to linger for years.

      • Molly

        I wouldn’t say he reminded me of harshness but how he had been portrayed leading up to the election and his what I thought was his aloof demeanor (which I have now come to understand as shyness) didn’t do much to win me over in the state I was in, which was missing JPII. But I warmed to him quickly.

  • Molly

    Try to go to the source when you can, and read all of his words in context. With this “car” scandal in the past few days I’ve seen many blog posts quoting some, but not all, of what he said. He ended up in the end making the point that he just thought that clergy should be driving humble cars, not because this in and of itself carries specific moral weight, but because of culture today, and that the message of a “humble car” may be more important that fiscal smarts. Also, at the time he was speaking, he was just talking to seminarians, he wasn’t making any sort of official statement. He also talks faster than he thinks sometimes, he doesn’t have Benedict or JPII’s way with words. Benedict I don’t think was capable of saying anything that he hadn’t thought out extremely well first, but he was so brilliant that he could do this in about thirty seconds. JPII was a diplomat, knew how to be a politician when he needed to. Francis is neither of these things, and he tends to speak before he thinks sometimes. But he’s Pope for a reason, and I have to trust that. I love looking at his face, his emotions that come out in his face say so much more than his words a lot of the time. JPII was like this. And Benedict isn’t at all (which was why I initially, for the first few years, misinterpreted him out of my emotional reaction to him). It’s hard when you don’t love the Pope, after years of loving the only one you’ve ever known as a Catholic so much. I came to love Benedict, but I had to learn how. Still, my heart swells when seeing pictures of JPII, an instinctual emotional reaction, like a child really (though I don’t mean childlike in a negative way). And I will never have that for Benedict or Francis. What I ended up getting from Benedict was an extreme sense of security. I knew I could hardly even look into what he said and take it at face value and KNOW it was theologically correct, it was what the Church taught. He was like this solid wall that I could lean on. But you don’t really love a wall. Francis makes me think, he makes me look into what he says because I don’t always understand it, he makes me wonder if I’ve been thinking about things from the wrong perspective. He makes me active, if that makes any sense. Which, if you look at what his main message has been, that we need to not be a Church complacent in just being right (which it is) and that we need to be a Church that MOVES, at least with me he’s reaching his stated goal.

  • Molly

    I also have to tell myself that we could be in a position of some in the past who had to keep the faith when there were some truly questionable popes (as far as their personal moral choices, not questionable on Church teaching). I don’t know that there’s anyone in living memory who has had to deal with that in a way that some many hundreds of years ago did. My perspective is of a Catholic who for as long as she could remember until Benedict had a saint for a pope. So I guess I need to toughen up a little too.

  • ModerateMom17

    The Popes of our time are in the spotlight like they never were before. We are the first people to have the luxury of deciding that we like the Pope and what he does and says, which is something I think we should keep in mind.

  • txpilgrim

    I think the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us something by giving us Pope Francis. He is telling us that the real treasure of the Church is the people and he is giving us an opportunity to fast from our focus on the external gifts but on the internal. Pope Francis pastored the poor in the slums of Argentina right up to the time he left for Rome. His encounter, perception and interpretation of beauty will not be congruent with ours. We should appreciate his charism which is sorely needed in our time. It does not take anything away from Pope Benedict XVI ‘s papacy but complements it. He is showing us with his actions what Pope Benedict XVI clearly taught through his teachings.

    • Mary E.

      Who said the following?

      “Secularizing trends – whether by expropriation of Church goods, or elimination of privileges or the like – have always meant a profound liberation of the Church from forms of worldliness, for in the process she as it were sets aside her worldly wealth and once again completely embraces her worldly poverty. In this she shares the destiny of the tribe of Levi, which according to the Old Testament account was the only tribe in Israel with no ancestral land of its own, taking as its portion only God himself, his word and his signs. At those moments in history, the Church shared with that tribe the demands of a poverty that was open to the world, in order to be released from her material ties: and in this way her missionary activity regained credibility.”

      You can probably guess the answer: Pope Benedict, speaking in 2011 in Freiburg. The full address is on the Vatican website: “http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2011/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20110925_catholics-freiburg_en.html”. I see more continuity between Benedict and Francis than conflict, despite their different personal styles, but then again, I try to filter out the opinions of the media as much as possible. Whatever the “chattering class” thinks and feels, we aren’t bound to respond to their opinions. Doing so only gives them more power.

      • txpilgrim

        God bless you, Mary for sharing that quote. What a great blessing to have 2 popes to meet the extraordinary challenges of our time. I was so happy to see Pope Benedict in the garden looking much happier. He seems at peace. I pray we could have that as well.

        • Mary E.

          Thank you, and may God bless you too. The entire address is wonderful, like all of Benedict’s speeches, and well worth reading.

  • Roseanna Hatke

    Thank you so very much! Maybe now I can get over my guilt about not loving this Pope. I just have such a hard time with “humility” that gets so many public accolades, especially from the secular press. I wrote about this before, but I still think he needs to think a little more about the feelings of those who are giving the gifts instead of his own public persona as “humble”. OF COURSE, this does not affect my love for the Church, but it is a difficult thing to deal with after loving Pope Benedict so much.

    • Illinidiva

      Most of the gifts are either corporate marketing ploys or people asking for favors. Mercedes is willing to give the Pope a custom-made Popemobile because it provides Mercedes with some free publicity. Ford would be willing to give him as many Focuses as he would like for his new Vatican fleet for the same reason. For the most part, this ends up as a win-win for all involved. The company gets the picture of the Pope with their product that they want and the Pope gets to do with the gifts what he wants. For the most part, these gifts will end up being sold for charity during Francis’ pontificate.
      The other type of “gift” is more nefarious. Apparently, something that came out during the Vatileaks scandal is the fact that famous Italians were sending checks to the Vatican to secure audiences with the Pope. There have been some quite nefarious characters like Maciel who are thought to have provided bribes to gain close access to Francis’ predecessors.

      • Romulus

        It is well known that Ratzinger thought Maciel was filth and refused his cash “contributions to your favorite charity”.

        • Illinidiva

          Yeah.. but JPII did meet with Maciel because his advisors (namely Sodano) were willing to exchange access for “contributions.” There is nothing to suggest similar Benedict advisors weren’t willing to do the same for some similarly nefarious person. It is important to remember that the Pope lives in a bubble and advisors control access and information. Benedict got in hot water with lifting the SSPX excommunications because no one told him that one of the bishops was a Holocaust denier.

          Overall, having an atmosphere where it seems that people think they can be access and favors is bad for the Church. Rich people getting special favors and access is one of the reasons why Luther wrote his 95 Theses.

  • Roseanna Hatke

    PS That was a very uncharitable remark about Father Z. Let’s not make personal remarks about people. We are in danger of calumny and detraction. Just sayin.

    • Illinidiva

      Again what exactly does Father Z do other than updating his blog and spending other people’s money to travel? He is ripping off lots of faithful Catholics who probably have large families and limited budgets and I have no problem pointing this out. He also has no problem criticizing other priests who actually run parishes despite the fact that he never has actually run one.

      • Nan

        I believe he had a parish in Rome. He is also attached to a parish in Madison, WI that hosts the EF. Who is he ripping off? Anyone donating does so freely. Look at the traveling he does, which is primarily to conferences. He asks for money for a certain purpose and uses it for that purpose. He has an Amazon wish list and a donate button, both of which people are free to ignore.

      • Romulus

        Running a parish is not the only important and necessary work a priest can do. Lots of priests write for a living. Why are we supposed to think worse of one who writes for his blog? He performs a valuable service for the Church. If you don’t agree, you don’t have to send him a dime.

        • Illinidiva

          Running a parish or counselling or ministering to people in some other fashion are the most important things that a priest can do.

          • Romulus

            Wrong. Running a parish or helping people is something you or I could do. You seem to think priests are a “helping” profession — social workers but with faith. You could not be more mistaken. Priests are ordained to offer sacrifice. Everything else comes after that.

          • Illinidiva

            Priests are ordained to minister to the people of their parish and to help them with their spiritual and temporal problems. They aren’t there just to offer a few Masses on Sundays and to remain inaccessible to their parishoners the rest of the week.

          • Romulus

            You are peddling a false dilemma, in which it has to be one or the other. No one here is arguing for priestly inaccessibility. You however are arguing for a reformulation of what it means to be a priest. To place a vague notion of “helping people” on a par with celebrating Mass — and to insist this is the duty of every priest — is to fundamentally misrepresent what the priesthood is. The Good News is not Utopia. The mission of the Church is not coping skills for living in this world. It is conversion, to transcend and convert the world, beginning with us. I’m guessing you’re a product of the catechetical train wreck of the 60s and 70s, in which a generation of Catholics were taught that the highest good is “being nice”. You need to accept that you were lied to.

          • Illinidiva

            Well.. Considering that I was born in 1982, being catechized during the 1960s and 1970s would be a neat trick. I do appreciate the post-Vatican II Church; I cannot imagine what it was like for my parents growing up in the 1950s and early 1960s. I had an ugly experience with the Church in the 1990s; I cannot imagine how ugly and intolerant their version of the Catholic Church was!

          • LisaTwaronite

            “Lied to?”

          • Molly

            Only diocesan priests are ordained with that in mind. Priests from religious orders are not. And many diocesan priests end up not having a parish at all and working straight for administrative purposes in running an entire diocese. Diocesan priests serve a diocese, this does not necessarily mean they pastor a parish.

          • tj.nelson

            Wow. How do you know that Fr. Z doesn’t do that? He may have opinions that one disagrees with, but his doctrine and theology is solid. He also is under obedience to a bishop, and is accountable for his ministry/life in the United States – he’s not exactly a Lone Ranger. Like him or not, he is a Catholic priest in good standing and is entitled to all due respect as such. He is a faithful priest, a devoted son of the Church. His drive for donations provide needed support, I am sure. His studies and work require travel as well as modern technology – his online friends help him out with donations. There is nothing wrong with that. I know very good people – a couple of priests and a couple of bishops amongst them – who know Fr. Z well, and all would vouch for his integrity and fidelity. Perhaps you need to examine your conscience as to rash judgment and calumny.

          • tj.nelson

            I don’t know what happened to my last comment, so I will try again.
            Illinois Diva – I think I know who you are.
            So anyway. There is nothing wrong with Fr. Z – he is a good priest and faithful son of the Church. I know many good people – some priests, some bishops who can vouch for him.
            He is under obedience to his bishop and is subject to authority in the U.S. – he’s not a Lone Ranger. He is an active priest and in active, albeit limited, ministry. He is a priest in good standing. His studies and work need financial support – hence people donate. Likewise his studies and work appear to require travel and up to date technology – and he is quite open about that, as well as what he acquires.
            Like him or not, disagree with him or not, he is a faithful priest and I have never found an error in doctrine or Catholic teaching in his writings or homilies.
            You must be careful to avoid rash judgment and calumny in what you write about him.

          • Illinidiva

            Umm… I know many people who are getting both graduate degrees and have jobs and families. The man has been getting a Ph.D. for a decade. It seems to me that he can both work as a priest and work on a dissertation. He also really doesn’t need his readers to donate for him to attend X. conference or Y. speaking trip. Giving these things up and allowing his readers to keep their money would actually show maturity on his part. Ditto with actually working as a priest. But that would mean a sacrifice by him.

          • tj.nelson

            Wow! Has he been working for a decade? Maybe he’s just slow? Maybe he’s a special needs student?
            Seriously, you bring up points that have troubled his critics for years – it’s the same old stuff. He’s not doing anything illegal or immoral, and he is a priest in good standing. He just has an unconventional way of supporting himself. Some months he pushes the limits, to be sure – but who is stopping anyone of us from doing the same? When we worry about other people’s income, I always think envy may be at the root of one’s concern – not always – sometimes we just don’t like the person we seek to fault.

  • tj.nelson

    You don’t have to like the man – it doesn’t matter too much who sits in the Chair of Peter – I wouldn’t worry or feel guilty. You miss loveable, huggable, cuddle-able Papa Benedict. Me too. I am a Papist though – so I love the Pope. You are fine. You are a faithful, loyal Catholic. A spiritual director once told me one doesn’t even have to read the encyclicals – most Catholics don’t. Fidelity to Church teaching is what is necessary.
    BTW: The whole thing about refusing gifts goes back to the Book of Judges and John of the Cross repeats it – in order to avoid giving the impression – not of riches – but giving undo influence. The recipient is beholden to the gift-er, gifts can corrupt. Coming from a South American country where that kind of corruption is commonplace, Francis is particularly careful about such outward signs of showing favor and flaunting wealth and power – he said as much about avoiding photo-ops for politicians. I’d give him a break on that.
    Although I wish he could try to dress better.
    I hope this makes sense.

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

      It does.

  • Barbara Fryman

    Kat, I feel you’ve done what you hate the media for doing; that is draw a comparison between who was more humble. BXVI and Francis are two different men with completely different cultures. Francis is trying to be an example to the clerics because he came from a place where clerics used their office for personal gain. When I want my children to break a habit if TV watching or eating junk, I often do it by example before requiring it of them.

    I don’t mean to come down on your aversion to all the Francis hoopla. I think you are being wise by focusing on your faith in Christ’s Church. But I don’t think it’s fair to say B16 is more humble or compare them because it only fuels the idea that they are each Luther’s opposition.

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

      Good point.

  • Denise Cooper

    Kat, I find myself in much the same place as you. I don’t love this Pope and I did love Benedict. I find his mantle of humility to be almost of the showboating kind, as in “look how humble I am.” I am sure this is unfair, he is probably truly humble, but constantly calling attention to it is disconcerting.

    However, I do continue to pray for him and (and Benedict) that God will give him all the wisdom, discernment and charisms he need to be Pope of ALL Catholics, including us ordinary faithful who don’t live lives of extreme poverty or wealth. I also pray that I will grow to love I’m. I will most certainly obey him.

    • Molly

      I don’t think he is the one constantly calling attention to it. I think he’s just doing it and the media is jumping on every single thing. They did the same to Benedict it’s just in the way they want it interpreted for their readers. To them Benedict represented a Church “unwilling” to change for modern times. Every single thing he ever said was interpreted as a “stodgy old man / strict Rottweiler” who was not interested in relating to the “average Catholic”. No e of this was really the case. Francis’ personality, Jesuit ways and the fact that he comes from a culture that no pope has ever come from is the perfect opportunity for them to mold him into what they want by contrasting him to their version of Benedict.

  • perpper

    Hugs, Kat. I feel much of what you express. But I think a lot of what you see and decry is not so much the Papa as it is the media. They are always clueless and miss the point. I don’t blame Papa for not wanting to go into exile in the papal apartments … the man is obviously a very gregarious person … I’m not gregarious and I feel lonely in my 4-person family, so … yah. And I do agree with you that some of his choices appear to be false economies and that is grating. And of course there is the South American culture of corruption thing mixed in there …

    And I’m loving a lot of the things he says … and I noticed Fr. Longenecker pointed out that he speaks in broad generalities, thereby avoiding offending a lot of people in media/government who should be listening, while Papa Bene was much more precise — and I loved what he said, when I had the mental stamina to read and absorb it, he’s such a smarty-pants — and everyone (media/government complex) took offense at everything he said. So there’s that media self-absorption baloney again.

    A lot of it is teh stoopid media, which is my main consolation on this matter.

    God bless.

  • Gordis85

    Everytime I watch Papa Francis in action, I smile. I smile because I know and believe that one day, many will appreciate what he had to say, how he said it, and why he said it. I smile because there, in the background, hidden, holding Papa Francis up, is Papa Emerito, our beloved Benito. Papa Benito is holding his arms high, in prayer, to intercede for Papa Francis who has now to carry on the cross of the Universal Church. I am sure both, in their conversations, have had much to reflect on as to what it means…those thoughts make me happy and give me comfort.

    I did not love Papa Benedict for the longest time, but I liked him and respected him and listened to what he had to say. I love him now as he has endeared himself to me after a long time. Now, Papa Francis, I like him too and while there may be times I find him harsh, it is a good harsh since I must look at myself as he calls us all to conversion and to growth in Christ Jesus. May he reign for many years and may many of us find conversion and salvation along the way…I sure hope to.

    All is gift. Amen!

  • Rebecca Duncan

    Wow, you’re hung up on this. I think it is a GREAT thing for him to say that Priests should buy less crap than they do and live like the poor. I loved Pope Benedict, JPII and Pope Francis. What does their style have to do with anything? It’s the Holy Father. I could see if it was some Borgia Pope who had a bunch of illegitimate kids or was selling offices or something but just because Francis wants to live up to his name and promote gospel poverty you don’t like him? You just seem really angry every time I read you about this…and a lot of other things. I’ve had anger issues myself. It usually hides some kind of sin that you need to deal with. Maybe you could try to practice the opposite of how you feel and mortify yourself and write some good things about Pope Francis every now and then with no attacks included. edit: I said attacks here, I really just should have said negative things. I don’t think you’ve attacked him really. And btw, simply in style I’ve liked Pope Benedict the most! Pope Francis in his ugly motherboard ship Church is well, ugly. I totally agree. BUT for your sake, just try to see the positive in Francis and try to let go of your negative feelings. It isn’t about our personal likes and dislikes after all, it is about the message God is giving to us through our Holy Father. Try to focus on that. Didn’t mean to come off holier than thou or anything like that.

    • Molly

      I think she has experienced what all Catholics are supposed to feel at one point or another, which is the connection and subsequent attachment that makes the Pope, a leadership figure, the Pope our earthly father. It is natural for us to have a strong emotional attachment to a father. And just as normal to have a strong emotional reaction to a replacement for the father you lost. Those who converted or matured as Catholics during Benedict’s reign are experiencing that just as we JPII kids did the same with Benedict. My mother still says as much as she loved JPII the “real pope” in her eyes will always be John XXIII (did I do the numbers right?) and I still don’t get it, she knew JPII as long as I did. Don’t you have a pope you feel like that about?

      • Rebecca Duncan

        No, I’ve never felt like that. Is there some sort of point to that? Wouldn’t that be like becoming really attached to your priest only to have him move on a few years later? That isn’t good. You’re just setting yourself up for a bad time doing that. I became Catholic in 2003, I believe Kat did in 2006, right? I’ve liked all the Popes. They each were different and had different things to emphasize to the faithful. That’s how it should be. It wouldn’t be very good if every Pope emphasized the exact same thing, now would it? It wouldn’t be very good if they were like robots who were exactly the same in how they spoke and acted and such. I don’t see why it would be hard to have liked all of these Popes. I can’t say anything about before JPII, of course. But from JPII onwards, there have been different things to like with each one. I just think she’s being unnecessarily negative and she should try to make an effort to be more positive. That’s all. We’ve been blessed to have good, holy Popes for so many years.

        • Rebecca Duncan

          It would be like me going on and on about how JPII should have abdicated just like Pope Benedict did. Or that Pope Benedict should not have abdicated just like JPII didn’t! Harumph! There’s no point in comparing these men to each other. Just accept what message God wants to give you through them and stop focusing on them in your own personal likes and dislikes. JPII wanted to show the dignity of people with illnesses and disabilities. So, he held on. Pope Benedict wanted to hand the reigns to someone else so he did with humility and littleness. Pope Francis so far wants to give his fellow priests an example of simplicity and poverty. That’s how I see it.

          • Molly

            I think you’re right and I agree with you. I just think the part about actually looking at them as real fathers maybe makes less sense to you?

          • Rebecca Duncan

            I see them as real Fathers. But I just see that no Pope is ever going to be Pope forever and ever. So, if that’s the reality, why get attached to a certain one? You have problems when you do that just like Kat is having right now.

          • Molly

            If that’s your argument, why get attached to anyone in your life?

          • Rebecca Duncan

            Indeed. Attachment is not a good thing. Love is a different thing than attachment. St. John of the Cross speaks a lot to that, but then so do most of the Saints.

          • Molly

            I don’t think you’re understanding the kind of attachment that I’m speaking of. The attachment of a parent to a child and vice versa is a natural part of the way God made us and is a reflection of the Trinity, as is the family in general. It is a part of that love, not a detriment to it. It is a relational bonding between humans that is meant to happen and continues after this life. This is not the kind of attachment John of the Cross nor Teresa of Avila speak about, as in earthly attachment that is detrimental to our relationship with God. I consider myself as strongly bonded to Mary and some of the Saints, through a relationship made possible in the communion of Saints, as I am to my friends and family here on earth.

          • Rebecca Duncan

            Yeah I got that. But your family is different than a priest or Pope or Bishop. You’re never going to have another Dad or Mom than the one you’ve got even if they die, that doesn’t change. It’s even different than Mary and the Saints because they aren’t going anywhere and they’re not going to be replaced. My point is that priests and Popes come and go. Becoming so attached to them to the point where you can’t see another man as your priest or Pope or to the point where you get really angry and upset and it even makes you question your faith is not good. It’s irrational since you knew this day was coming. That’s what I was getting at. Even your relationships with your family CAN be a bad attachment just like Jesus said, you can’t love your family more than you love me.

        • Molly

          “No, I’ve never felt like that. Is there some sort of point to that? Wouldn’t that be like becoming really attached to your priest only to have him move on a few years later? That isn’t good.”

          Why in the world isn’t that good? That’s exactly how we are supposed to be. The whole of the Church is a familial relationship. Hence calling priests “Father” and calling the Pope, the Pope (Papa), and calling nuns “sister” and calling heads of female religious orders “Mother”. We are very much supposed to come to love them and be attached to them as we would a member of our own family. That’s how the Church was built.

          “It wouldn’t be very good if every Pope emphasized the exact same thing, now would it? It wouldn’t be very good if they were like robots who were exactly the same in how they spoke and acted and such.”

          How is calling attention to God’s intended familial structure of the Church suggesting anything in the above selection?

          “I just think she’s being unnecessarily negative and she should try to make an effort to be more positive. That’s all. We’ve been blessed to have good, holy Popes for so many years.”

          Everyone should do this, and everyone should try not to let the media get under their skin. But everyone should also recognize that losing someone you look at as a father, a real father, is hard. I think you’re calling for people to “like” as in “appreciate” the popes and think that maybe it’s strange that one should actually feel an emotional, real love for the Pope?

  • Katherine Hayes

    Something to keep in mind about his style of humility (if we can call it that) – Pope Francis is a Jesuit. His has made a vow of poverty. JPII and Benedict were/are not religious. They didn’t make that vow. So of course Pope Francis is going to come off as living a more simplistic and humble life, because he vowed to God he would, and *gasp* he is a good Jesuit! I don’t think there can really be any comparison and I think we should stop trying to do so.

    I think all three men expressed true humility at their approach to the chair of Peter, yet taking in account personality and vocational differences, I don’t know if it is helpful to make these comparisons.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Pope Francis’s shoes I’m not sure are such an example of false economics so much as *distributed* economics. It is not cheap to buy shoes from a real cobbler these days, and it certainly isn’t cheap to have them flown in from Argentina.

  • michelletherese

    Pope Francis’s showy humility annoys the crap out of me. Because he is reminding me constantly that I have, have, have, while people right over certain borders are starving to death. I curl my lip with disdain at the Pope making such an effort to show humility, as if it is a cheap act, but I have to admit that it’s working. He’s making his point because he’s daily making me uncomfortable in my Western wealth. And when it comes down to brass tacks as much as my lip curls with irritation at such gawdy display of humility and poverty… I’m now feeding a hungry woman and her two starving kids.

    I think he should be named, “Pope Francis The Cattle Prod”…

    • Illinidiva

      Yes.. The day after he was talking about how the developed world wastes too much I went to a corporate event where they had way too much food. I felt incredibly guilty about being there. He is really good at making people aware of real poverty in the developing world.

    • Hilary White

      What you’ve got there is not moral discomfort over a sin, but a bloom of white liberal guilt. Important to know the difference.

      • michelletherese

        You’re assuming I’m White… and a Liberal?

        • Hilary White

          You don’t have to be from Stockholm to love your captors either.

          • michelletherese

            Wow. Judgmental much? I’m not all “White” nor am I “Liberal” either. Maybe next time you should keep your fingers off of the keyboard?

    • jahnabibarooah

      What do you mean by Pope Francis’ “showy humility?” He’s definitely not making a splash. It’s the media that is interested in him, and in the comparison with Benedict and John Paul II which makes little sense to me.

      • michelletherese

        Sure, sure, Pope Francis refusing to wear the red shoes, to sit on the dais, to wear a gold pectoral cross, to live in the Papal Apartments, etc etc, and so forth and so on, none of this is making a splash, it’s all smoke and mirrors from the media…

  • Ryan Hilliard

    There is so much I want to say in agreement with you and opposed, but instead I thought I’d share these 2 clips:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuddfvaizP4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRfMcRQLegg

    • tj.nelson

      Ryan – the videos are wonderful.

  • Clara

    I did not read all 71 comments so maybe someone said this already, forgive me if so. It seems very likely that Pope Francis knows that “showy” humility is not worth anything and so if he carries on with making the choices he does (and pointing out excess when he sees it) it is because the risk of being called “showy”
    and being perceived to be false is less strong than his conviction that these are good things to do. In other words, I imagine he has the same interior monologue that I often do: “Other people will think I am Proud or holier-than-thou for preaching this/doing that/praying in public/giving to this homeless person/walking out of a conversation that has turned vulgar. But I will do it anyway because it is the right thing to do.”

  • Dreyrugr

    I work with computer systems and do a good job at it. If I choose not to drive as fancy of a car as I can afford, or wear clothes as new and stylish as my co-workers, it doesn’t have to be seen as a grand gesture or sermon. Maybe it’s just part of my personal spirituality and tastes. P. Francis may just be avoiding those things for his own good, and then preaching the message of his vocation. I think too many people are conflating the two. Solid Catholics look like freaks compared to modern celebrities, so if you treat them the same and read too much into their choice of style and brand, you are comparing apples and oranges. It’s the media blowing this out of proportion, not the Jesuit from down south. Just take him for what he says, and not what the media sells him as. He couldn’t care less, and neither should you. I’m sure Benedict wasn’t following the latest fashion mags for what they thought of his shoes. Be at peace, and love the Word as it is handed on down the centuries.

  • Quid

    I never understood Francis’ humility to be a flashy show of how great he is. He’s been doing the same things for 30 years, it’s just now the media is interested in him. I also don’t understand your critique of his decision to live a simple life. It’s not as a criticism of Benedict or any the pope’s before him, he’s just emphasizing a different virtue than his predecessors. Also, given how often the media and non Catholics criticize the Vatican for being a rich, decadent organization concerned only with its own power, Francis’ way of doing things is really helping the image of the Church. It’s hard to criticize the Church for not loving the poor after you see what Francis does.

    I think it’s extremely clear that Francis genuinely loves the poor sincerely and completely. No one can say his charitable acts are only because he wants everyone to think he’s a nice guy. If he’s making us feel guilty about enjoying fancy cars while we ignore Lazarus on the street, that’s not a bad thing either. I don’t think his end is to make us feel guilty about our lives, but rather to encourage us to reach out to the poor. And he’s leading us by example.

    You say he’s refusing to give up the personality of Bergoglio. That’s true, but maybe it’s not a bad thing. I don’t see anything incompatible with Bergoglio and the papacy even if that means he’s wearing his own shoes.

    • Illinidiva

      Didn’t Benedict write three books about Jesus when he was Pope under the name Joseph Ratzinger? Also didn’t John Paul II used to sneak out of Castel Gandolfo and go skiing?
      None of them become zombies when they are Pope. They still are who they are. Benedict was a shier person who did what he was told. He really didn’t contradict people even when he was pope. Francis is the opposite.. He does what he wants.

  • Ybeth See

    Popes are people; they sin and make wrong decisions. Also, do not mistake religion for faith. They’re related but absolutely different.
    ___________________________________________________________________
    boat prop

  • BBG

    With everything going on in our world, you want to pick on someone who was elected a position that no human would ever wish for, who happens to be teaching things that are needed in our Catholic church now more than ever before ie. humility, simplicity, mercy? Please step off your high horse and instead of whining about what you don’t like, thank God he is a faithful Catholic leading his flock to the heart of Christ. It could be A LOT worse. It’s perspectives like this that poison Christianity and Catholicism. Use your gifts to encourage and motivate and inspire. We have enough garbage and complaining and crap going on. Ultimately, you and I have no idea who is more humble. You’re merely going off of your own flawed human perspectives. Only Christ knows Benedict and Francis’s hearts and yours and mine as well. I know we all are entitled to our own opinions, but your post is what helps perpetuate the “God is just” Catholics vs. the “God is merciful” Catholics. He is both and we need to embrace both as equally necessary and beautiful rather than this toxic mentality that one is better than the other.

  • fuchsiaribbons

    Grammar, spelling, syntax, substance – Without professional attention to those, whatever you have to say is not worth hearing.

  • Marielle Kronberg

    Dear Katrina–

    I couldn’t agree more. I think Benny was one of the best popes ever; while everyone else oohs and ahs over Francis, I just keep reading Benny’s books.
    However, It’s possible that Pope Francis is more and better than I think, and yes, The Church is The Church.
    And we are unbelievably fortunate to have had Benedict XVI.

  • DorothyPalmer

    If only John XXIII had lived longer, say another decade.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.manning.923 Stephen Manning

    He’s an extravert feeling type, with a passion for intense and dramatic personal exchanges. And he’s a devotionalist and a moralist. Trapped in his character (as all of us are in our own), his talk about humility and simplicity, etc. and his gestures are all doomed to be infused with, should I say infected with, his ego. Benedict was an introvert thinking type, whose way into Catholicism was aesthetic and intellectual. His style was traditional, even Baroque, but his personality lived inside these structures. Pope Bergoglio puts his personal stamp on everything. He’s a showman.

  • James Stagg

    Silly girl. Get over it.

  • JohnE_o

    There, there – you’re young. Someday you’ll have another Pope – one who wears fancy red shoes and rides in a Mercedes Pope-mobile again.

  • kenofken

    The pope is guilty of nothing more than being authentic. If he eschewed all this frill as a way to court the media or score political points, then yes, it’s deserving of contempt. I don’t think the guy is counseling Mother Theresa or Gandhi-style abject poverty for himself or his priests. He seems to believe that a pope should be a priest, not a king, given that the Church already has one. Why is it so off-putting that a man would want to carry himself as a parish priest, albeit of a really big parish, a first among equals? Why is it demeaning to suggest that parish-level priests ought to settle for a standard of living on par with the great bulk of those they serve? I don’t know how specific Francis was in his car recommendations, but I don’t get the sense that he’s mandating priests to drive muffler-dragging hoopty rides, like the $300 specials I had back in the day. A well-chosen and cared for modest car is not a false economy. I’m still driving my 2001 Saturn SL-2 with 120,000 miles, and it has held up remarkably well over that time.

    • English Catholic

      “Why is it so off-putting that a man would want to carry himself as a
      parish priest, albeit of a really big parish, a first among equals?”

      Because (and apologies for the belated reply) he is not a parish priest; he is not first among equals; he is the chief bishop and the successor of St Peter, with supreme jurisdiction over the whole Church.

      The red shoes, the fine vestments, the humble respect shown to the Pope, are not indications of the greatness of the man; they’re indications of the greatness of the office he inhabits. By refusing them as a matter of personal preference, I would humbly and gently suggest that the inhabitant of the office is putting his personal preferences above the position of his office, and inasmuch as he does that, he diminishes the office, and does not accord it the respect and honour it deserves.


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