I was struck by something as I read recently, and I have a question.
Following the global outcry about what has been taking place recently on the US-Mexico border, the writer was bemoaning the loss of the US as a moral compass for the world, as the leader of the free world, He seems to wonder what other country, or who else, could exert a similar influence, and to worry that lacking such a model, there could be chaos.
Reading that, I immediately taught about Pope Francis and the way he has been reaching far and wide, and received favourably by people all around the world, from many countries and many different religions. My question: Could it be one of the reasons Pope Francis has been given to us at this moment in time? It seems to me that it would be something interesting to comment about…
I deeply believe that Pope Francis is a profoundly providential figure and that this is a Kairos Moment in history.
Kairos moments are graced moments: Moments when God breaks into time for his own purposes. The Jewish conception of time in the Old Testament saw God hallowing particular times (for example, on the Sabbath) in the same way that he hallowed particular spaces (for example, the temple).
The supreme Kairos Moment comes in the Incarnation where, as Paul put it “In the fullness of time, God sent his Son.” The Mass is a Kairos Moment too. We have all experienced little Kairos Moments in our lives when God breaks in, in some unexpected way, to bring grace. And there are bigger Kairos Moments too, which God brings about by his own sovereign choice.
The elections of Francis and Trump have confronted the American Church in particular with a choice that has exposed the principalities and powers at work in it (and particularly in the so-called ‘faithful conservative prolife” “Real Catholic” subculture). What has been brought to light is, I think, diabolical. The good news is that God does such works of exposure in order to heal and redeem. His judgement is his mercy. So there is hope.
When God exposes powers and principalities, he does not do so to “enter into dialogue” with them. He does so to destroy their power and to liberate humans in their grip. There’s a reason Jesus never talked with demons except to force them to name themselves prior to their expulsion. Christ is ruthless with powers and principalities. He exposes them and then drives them out.
I think we are living in an hour where he is doing that. Thank God for this pope, who was, I think, born for this hour.