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Early Pope Reaction

by John on 03/14/2013


I don’t claim to have an insider’s take on the Vatican.  But in reading the media tea leaves and hearing from Catholic friends, the early read on Pope Francis is quite good.

Yes it is early.

I love his self-deprecating humor. He allegedly told the Cardinals after electing him, “God will punish you for what you have done.”

Again, that is being reported to us.  This could be the Vatican putting on a very good show.

Or it could be a hint of what is to come.  As one friend wrote to me:  “The corrupted and high living types in the church better run for the hills. This new pope has demonstrated thru his life what a servant of god is all about.”

After all, as an Archbishop, he lived in an apartment, took the bus to work, and made his own meals.

My friend went on, “He does not live in a glass house. So this pope can throw very big rocks.”

If he’s right, you might be seeing some big changes in the Church.

But another friend writes: “but will the Cardinals listen?”

That is a huge question.  After all, it was the Cardinals, a conservative bunch, who elected him.  What are they thinking?  Reform or cover-up?

Here’s another factor: how rich is the Catholic Church?  No one really knows.

I have said today’s Church seemed to follow the teachings of Adam Smith and not of Jesus – especially when it came to the priest pedophile scandal.

The Church has lost billions of dollars paying off the victims of the scandals.  But they have also lost untold millions or billions more as the faithful has declined in attendance.  The loss of churchgoers is directly related to the scandal.  But I think overall, it is the adherence to a corporate message over the years.

One book I reviewed here is The Righteous Mind.  Jonathan Haidt has a phrase that sticks and applies to The Church: “Organizations bind and blind.”

Another book I am reading and will soon review is “Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain.  Cain puts forth a theory that our society has become a culture of personality from what used to be a culture of character.  You can say The Church has done the same.

Along the same lines, Chris Hayes’ book “Twilight of the Elites” frames similar problems of American society — including the Catholic Church here.

Pope Francis, from all reports, seems to understand what the new economy has done to the workers and the poor of the world.  He rubbed elbows with the displaced in Argentina.

Our institutional leaders need to understand what is happening.  Technology is changing how we live, work, buy our products, and educate our kids and ourselves.  But it’s a double-edge sword that has created many conveniences but also eliminated many jobs.  Adding to that, we have awoken what was the Third World and turned them into the Developing World that is striving for middle class security while also causing a struggle for wealth and resources.

Maybe Francis has an answer.

Your thoughts?

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