A Papal Trifecta: Part 2 -- After the Tour is Over
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Oct 02, 2015 at 11:27:45 AM EST
"Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable -- the art of the next best" -- Otto Von Bismarck

In two-plus years, Pope Francis has become a man for all seasons. For a man who claims to eschew politics, Francis is mastering the art of creating a new narrative. And, heaven knows, the Catholic Church is badly in need of a makeover.

He's loosened things up a bit at the Vatican, has moved the church towards an openness that his predecessor assiduously avoided, and has tried to affect a lifestyle of a regular guy, that is, if a regular guy could be a pope.

His support for the Iranian nuclear deal, his helping guide the way for a thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations, his critique of capitalism, his position on Climate Change, and statements like "who am I to judge" when talking about gays and lesbians, have put smiles on the faces of even the most skeptical of Vatican watchers, as well as self-defined lapsed Catholics. All of the above has made him a pariah to conservative Catholics, and many of their evangelical Christian conservative allies.

We also understand that there will not be any doctrinal changes regarding abortion, same-sex marriage or allowing women to be priests. And we know that there hasn't been any significant move to punish priests and their leaders for the child sexual molestation scandal that has rocked the church over the past two decades. The canonization of Junípero Serra was at best misguided, and at worst shameful.

Pope Francis recognizes the problem of the shrinking church, particularly in Latin America where evangelical Protestants have made huge inroads, and he has attempted to temper the overarching conversation about so-called traditional values by distancing himself from divisive issues, while concentrating on growing the church.

It is difficult to know what concrete things may come from Pope Francis' US tour, but one thing is clear: Pope Francis has become the best public relations man the Catholic Church has seen in many years.




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