Maybe its just the view from where I am, but everybody from liberal atheistic journalists to ultra traditionalist Catholics seem obsessed with Pope Francis.
Sure, he just made a historic and very successful visit to the United States, and he is a global phenomenon, but in the end he’s just the Pope.
Furthermore, he (like his successors before him) has tried to make it clear that he is first and foremost “the Servant of the Servants of God.” As he said on the flight back to Rome–“I’m not a star.”
Why then, this adulation of the Pope? In a strange way it is linked with his role as the Vicar of Christ.
People want to love Jesus Christ even when they don’t know that’s what they want. So they try to love his Vicar instead. I’ve written further about this phenomenon here.
The problem is, unless one is grounded in the teachings and sacramental life of the church, people project on to the pope their own personalities, their own hopes and dreams, their own agenda and ideology.
So the liberals make Pope Francis into a mirror reflecting their liberalism. The conservatives make him into their image. Everybody with an agenda or ideology of some sort see him as the one who fulfills their aspirations. If he doesn’t quite fit the bill, well then he’s really on their side. He’s just biding his time and moving slowly. If he says stuff that doesn’t fit the liberal agenda they blame “those reactionary, misogynistic, secretive old guys in the Vatican who are holding this progressive pope back.”
If he says things that are liberal the conservatives say he is being steered by a secret “mafia” of liberal cardinals who are plotting to use Francis for their nefarious ends.
Both sides have gone crazy about the Pope.
What’s to be done? Now that the pope has visited USA and blessed us with his presence I suggest that we turn our eyes to Jesus and Mary and get local.
Thank God for the Pope and his ministry, but he’s just the Pope.
He does his job. Let’s us do ours.
Let’s get on with the work we have to do where we are. Let’s get on with the work of prayer. Let’s get on with the work of teaching the children. Let’s get on with the work of ministering to the poor. Let’s get on with the work of living the gospel and preaching the gospel in our homes, in our schools, in our parishes, in the workplace and in the world.
Most of all let’s get down on our knees and make progress on the great adventure of becoming saints.
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