Cleaving closer to the teachings of Jesus, a carpenter from Nazareth, Francis rejected the fancy red slippers of predecessors in favor of plain black shoes. He scorned the papal palace for a suite in the Vatican guesthouse. He ended the fixation on divisive social issues and refocused the church on healing social justice and the Golden Rule.
On Friday, Rolling Stone premiered a single called “Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!,” from the coming pop-rock album Francis is dropping in November, sort of a “Shake It Off” for apathy and selfishness.
Yet his very coolness is what makes his reign so hazardous. Watching the rapturous crowds and gushing TV anchors on his American odyssey, we see “the Francis Effect.” His magnetic, magnanimous personality is making the church, so stained by the vile sex abuse scandal, more attractive to people — even though the Vatican stubbornly clings to its archaic practice of treating women as a lower caste.
Pope Francis would be the perfect pontiff — if he lived in the 19th century. But how, in 2015, can he continue to condone the idea that women should have no voice in church decisions?