Exhibit A: A reader with connections to folks in mainline Protestantism writes:
I just wanted to pass a note along to report on activities from across the Tiber. My friends are a twitter about Pope Francis’ exhortation. Seriously. Here in the Godless hinterlands, nearly all of them had read it. These are people who fit a lot of the catholic caricatures of lib Prots right down to the card carrying NARAL members who drive Priuses (Prii? WTF is the proper plural of Prius anyway?).
Anyway, they love it. They are eating it up with a spoon. And not just the social justicey parts: they had a good discussion about how to approach the gospel and evangelism with joy. Like honest to God Jesus talk which can seem rare as hens teeth.
I get angry at irrational-Francis-haters because they just refuse to see the good fruits being born by this pontificate. I have had to hide/unfriendly several people I really respected for their OMG THE CHURCH AS WE KNOW IT IS BEING DESTROYED malarkey. Protestant clergy are emailing me to either tell me they are so excited to hear what this Pope has to say or that they have been inspired by Francis to do more in their own ministries. WHERE ELSE IN HISTORY HAS THIS HAPPENED? Seriously. WHAT IS THE DOWNSIDE HERE?
The remarkable number of commenters who openly admit they didn’t read the essay and then condemn it. Whew! I’m not a Catholic but I’ve been following the news of the Pope with great interest. I’ve been schooled here. This is so very useful in so many ways, I’ll most likely count it as one, among a precious few writings, of the opinions that helped me reconnect with my conservative soul. That’s a leap for an atheist. I’m in debt to the author and many thoughtful commenters.
Fascinating to watch Francis crossing lines and planting seeds. Anybody who thinks the guy is not operating from an intensely missionary impulse has no idea what’s going on.