Confirmed: Media analysis of Pope Francis as accurate as you’d expect
posted at 2:31 pm on August 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
I began to see this almost as soon as Pope Francis made his debut on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica in March. Thanks in part to an almost total lack of attention to Cardinal Bergoglio before his election as pontiff, media analysts rushed to create a narrative of sweeping change in the Catholic Church and a repudiation of the perceived conservatism of Pope Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI. That was especially true this past week, when Pope Francis shocked the media by stating what the Catholic Church has taught all along about celibacy and sexual orientation. A recent analysis by the Washington Post crafts that narrative concisely:
“Something unexpected and extraordinary is happening in the Catholic Church. Pope Francis is rescuing the faith from those who hunker down in gilded cathedrals and wield doctrine like a sword. The edifice of fortress Catholicism – in which progressive Catholics, gay Catholics, Catholic women and others who love the church but often feel marginalized by the hierarchy – is starting to crumble.”
Pat Archibold at the National Catholic Register agrees — or so you might think. He offers readers 10 quotes that prove that Pope Francis is a liberal:
Now, as much as many of us traditional minded churchgoers have tried to spin it as in continuity with Pope Benedict, I think it is time we face facts. The press is right. The Pope is a liberal and I have the quotes to prove it!
The Pope is soft on Islam.
“It is true that the Muslim world is not totally mistaken when it reproaches the West of Christian tradition of moral decadence and the manipulation of human life.”
“It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the church’s pastors wherever it occurs.”
He is focused on the poor:
“Many people today lack hope. They are perplexed by the questions that present themselves ever more urgently in a confusing world, and they are often uncertain which way to turn for answers. They see poverty and injustice and they long to find solutions. ”
“Yet if we refuse to share what we have with the hungry and the poor, we make of our possessions a false god. How many voices in our materialist society tell us that happiness is to be found by acquiring as many possessions and luxuries as we can! But this is to make possessions into a false god. Instead of bringing life, they bring death.”
And so on. However, make sure you read all the way through to the end for a little surprise, especially for those who have mostly followed the media narrative on Francis.
Pope Francis has been a breath of fresh air and a change of style from his previous two predecessors. That mainly comes from Francis’ emphasis on a pastoral approach and his spontaneity. He clearly delights in engaging people on a personal level, and eschews the trappings of his position more clearly as well. However, on substance, Francis has not wavered from the doctrine of the Catholic Church or even in its practices. The difference is that people are giving him more of an opportunity to be heard.