- Love for the flock. Does Pope Francis greet crowds like any politician or even any other Roman Pontiff might, as some mock him for? Actually, unlike politicians, and diverse even from other bishops of Rome, I think Pope Francis does this with the ease of A Pastor among his sheep that especially bears the enthusiastic joy of Christ Jesus. And, mind you, this isn’t just some peripheral nonsense. This is real life. We do greet each other, do we not, and before Christ Jesus? Yes.
- No stifling protocol. Pope Francis, while loving all the children of God, really despises how some shove their sycophancy down his throat, you know, those Yes-men who are just so terribly annoying, mentioning to him only what they think he will like but not at all that which is for the common good, the good of the Church, and the personal good of the Bishop of Rome himself. And while he does have such as that among those around him (and there can be many reasons for that, both good and bad, like knowing just how weak some “important” people are), he also, take note, gives voice to those who disagree with him on some aspects of some issues. ;-) This is not a small thing. Readers of this blog, amazed that there can be such a blog regarding this very point, will know this to be the truth. I can only think that he smiles at any such rambunctiousness that he comes across from anyone. Having said that, note that Pope Benedict was extraordinarily kind to me in correspondence.
- Love of forgiveness. Go to confession! Pope Francis does not withhold his disgust for the practice of dissing the Sacrament of Mercy. For him, despising Confession on the part of pastors so that no one goes to Confession anymore is the biggest sin. This is far reaching, and says pretty much everything there is to know about Pope Francis. Many have objections on so many other topics, as does yours truly, but even all of these have to be seen through the factor which for Francis is to be manifested in all doctrine and practice, that is, God’s forgiveness that is always available to us, no matter what, to all, everywhere, that is, no matter what they’ve done. This is important, and it seems to me that Francis’ critics discount this one point, manifesting their total incomprehension of who Francis is. Many claim he is all about mercy while denying justice, but I’m not so sure that is where he is coming from at all. I think he sees the blood of Christ, and is awestruck so much by this that he just can’t quite put the right words on it. But, that’s another post.
- He knows that the real fight is not against flesh and blood, but against Satan. I don’t think anyone is better at putting this point across than Pope Francis. He’s not against anyone but Satan. As long as someone has breath still in them, they have hope, and we should have hope for them. Again, this is a point which I think is never brought into context with all the other things Pope Francis says and does. He is enthralled by the overwhelming love of God and may not quite know (who does know?) how to go about this. Do I disagree with him about so very many things that he said in the Lutheran church? Yes. But I think that I get Francis himself. And that’s saying something. He’s not the same as Kasper. I’ll leave it at that for now.
- Love for the poor. Whatever people say about him being a Marxist, or at least some sort of Liberation Theology fanatic, I just don’t see it. I don’t see him having any kind of preferential option for the poor. [Edit! What I mean by this is to be found here: The lie about preferential option for the poor – 2015 Synod – Missionaries of Mercy] He puts an emphasis on speaking about this differently because he means something different. He speaks of those on the dark existential peripheries, which he contrasts, significantly, with the self-absorbed Promethian neo-Pelagians. In other words, for him, the way to go about dealing with both is Christ Jesus Himself. This is utterly other than anything to do with politics, which is all preferences and Pelagians can bother with.
- I could go on. One sees things a bit different from the perspective of a dumpster, and what I would like to add here would fall on deaf ears of many who have not suffered but capitalize on being critical. I’m afraid I would only needlessly provoke them to more intense attacks on the very person of Pope Francis. And I don’t want to do that. He is the anointed of the Lord, and to attack his person just to do it, as so very many have done, is a crime which is despised by the angels, however much Pope Francis himself would look upon such people with nothing but compassion and love and forgiveness. And I love that about him.
UPDATE: O.K. So. This is a post on some decent aspects of Pope Francis personally and of his pontificate. There is much that people also disagree with on other matters, but I thought this would be a helpful post to break the angst so many have, and, it seems, expect me to share with them. I have zero angst. That may not seem to square to some with what I wrote about his possible death or incapacitation (in which I said that I love him to pieces), along with this post about some things I love about him in particular. This apparently, is not to be done. Well, I guess I’ll just have to break that “rule.” And, at any rate, as a loyal son of the Supreme Pontiff, I’ll put other posts up about what I think is useful, such as that one on his possible death or incapacitation. At any rate, it’s polite to use a combox for the topic at hand. One can disagree with the topic, or the points that have been listed (for instance that you disagree that he’s the pope who has mentioned the devil the most because you know that because you’ve counted the times for the past couple of hundred popes and you conclude that he actually comes in second place to pope I-don’t-know), but it’s another thing to hijack the combox to express opinions of a different kind on a different topic altogether. Perhaps it would be good idea to follow the WSJ on this: registration, real names, no attacks, stick to the topic. Stuff like that. I go back and forth about pseudonyms. I’ve used them before and found them eventually unhelpful. I’ve been tempted to use them again when I was silenced, as some well know (and as I’ve written about on this very blog). But, inasmuch as it is possible, I think real, full names are best. But then, some would be objects of attack, and that’s not good either. Anyway, I thought I might take some heat for some other recent posts, but this one drew down ire I didn’t expect. So, I repeat:
I love Pope Francis.