6. The Pope is an Evangelist – Pope Francis, like Benedict and John Paul before him, is not only the leader of the world’s Catholics–he is the successor of the Apostles Peter and Paul and they were traveling evangelists. St Paul went to Athens and adapted the gospel message to his philosophical hearers. Likewise, with his emphasis on climate change Pope Francis is making a connection with secular people. He gets them to agree with him on climate change and then goes on to talk about the dignity of the human person, our obligation to the Creator and the need to have an encounter with Christ. This is a good, tried and true evangelistic method.
7. The Pope Knows a Positive Impression Overcomes Negativities – Time and again we find Pope Francis giving a positive message with a positive method. He criticizes greed by giving to the poor. He criticizes immorality by encouraging the family. He criticizes violence by encouraging peace. He is always making something beautiful good and true to counter the shadow side that is ugly, evil and false.
8. The Pope is close to Jesus and Mary – You can see it in the way he worships, the love he has for people, his simplicity and honesty. He is close to Jesus and Mary and maybe, just maybe–have you ever considered that the reason so many people are so crazy about Pope Francis is that they are seeing Jesus and Mary through him? This is, after all, exactly what evangelization is all about: being the lens through which others are able to see Jesus.
9. The Pope is from Argentina – Yes, we all know this, but we need to study his background and continue to learn more about his life so that we can better understand him and his perspective on world events. Poland made John Paul II who he was. Wartime Germany made Benedict XVI who he was. The trials and troubles of Argentina and South America have made this pope. Have you troubled yourself to learn about this in order to understand him better?
10. Pope Francis is Catholic – Cathoicism is bigger than you. It is bigger than me. It is bigger than all the politicians. It is bigger than all the ideologies. It is bigger and older and stronger than all of us. Pope Francis brings that to us as our Catholic leader, and therefore his huge presence is the huge presence of the Catholic Church in the world and striding down through history. He should not be underestimated because the Catholic Church should never be underestimated. Do not be afraid.