I pray Pope Francis is the right man for the job

Much to the chagrin of progressive Catholics, the College of Cardinals elected a Catholic to the papacy. That man is Argentinean Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, the alleged runner up at the 2005 conclave.

He has been described by everyone as a humble, down to earth defender of the faith who can bridge the gap between Latin America – where roughly 40% of the world’s Catholics reside – and the parts of the world where Catholicism is in decline.

Francis Homily

As expected, many leading Catholic intellectuals tell us the man now known as Pope Francis is a “reformer” and a “true man of God.” I don’t know which pope the Cardinals would have chosen wouldn’t be considered a “man of God,” and I hate to be a contrarian and rain on everyone’s parade, but what evidence is there that he was a reformer during his time as Archbishop?

As Catholic Vote contributor Pia de Solenni candidly admits: “we don’t know much about how he ran the chancellory in Buenos Aires.”

Now, I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt to scholars more familiar with the papacy than I am, but it seems many of them are making the absurd claim that Archbishop Bergoglio’s decision to ride the bus to work and to live in an apartment – something George Weigel belittled members of the LCWR for doing – says something about how he will run the Roman Curia.

To be sure, Pope Francis has been an outspoken critic of gay marriage, birth control and other issues close to the hearts of most mass-attending Catholics. That’s great news, but what I am more interested in is where he stands on internal issues. In particular, has he helped implement Summorum Pontificum, Benedict’s decree on the Extraordinary Mass?  Is he a supporter of all things Vatican II? Where does he stand on Catholic-Jewish, Catholic-Muslim and Rome-SSPX relations? And does he actually have a track record of disciplining abusive and progressive priests in Buenos Aires?

The answers to these questions will become evident in the weeks and months ahead, as his past writings are being translated into English as we speak and his homilies and daily activities give us a better sense of who he is.

Now, given the amount of time we’ve had to familiarize ourselves with Pope Francis, I think its fine to focus on his life story and to tell ourselves he’s the type of person we want as our pope. But to be quite honest, I’m having a hard time understanding how this 76-year-old, seemingly unknown Cardinal was who Benedict had in mind to succeed him when he stepped down from a church everyone said was in need of a youthful and vigorous leader. I could be wrong, and I won’t presume to know better than the Cardinals themselves, but only time will tell if Pope Francis is the right man for the job. I pray that he is.


Categories:Pope Francis

  • ron morrison

    Many of us share Stephen’s and your concerns for the Church. However, questioning whether or not the right person was chosen for Pope gets us nowhere. It’s the negative perspective Stephen offered that people responded to. Let’s embrace the new leadership and share with them our concerns and our hopes.

  • Tyler

    I hope everyone reading this article and having the kind of “disheartened” (@Mark Polo) or “WOW” (@Tracy) reactions would step back for a moment and consider a few things at the heart of what Mr. Kokx is trying to say (not “Knox” – @Rich Ketter [if you’re going to lambast someone at least have the ‘Love of Christ’ enough to get his name right]).
    Perhaps Mr. Kokx would concede that a few parts of his post could have been worded a little more clearly; then again, here we are now in the midst of a 50+ year battle of ambiguity of hermeneutic of rupture vs. hermeneutic of continuity from what should be crystal writings from an ecumenical council, so maybe we shouldn’t be so critical of a Catholic blogger recognizing problems facing the Church. And this is indeed what seems to be at the core of Mr. Kokx’s message here. The Church is in a crisis. And I can’t understand how any Catholic being honest with himself/herself can really pretend otherwise.
    I know I too may be accused of having a “cup half empty,” (@Ron Morrison), but I call it realism. St. Paul told us to test everything, retain what is good (1 Thess 5:21); Our Lord told us to beware of false prophets who come dressed as sheep but are secretly ravening wolves. Make no mistake about it, these wolves are EVERYWHERE in the Church. When God came to Noah, Jonah, Lot or Amos, for example, did they say to Him “my Lord, why is your cup so half-empty?”
    I would challenge any faithful Catholic (with a proper catechesis) to “make the rounds” in his or her diocese parishes and prepare to be appalled by what you will see. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was given the prayers to make reparation for the grave offenses against the Sacred Heart of Jesus, especially offenses against His True Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Our Lord is today being handed out in dioceses across the country like a mid-variety show snack by lay people dressed immodestly with seemingly no belief in the True Presence. How can this not make our hearts bleed and weep in unison with the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts?
    And all Mr. Kokx is asking for, hoping for, praying for is a Holy Father who will take note of these grave offenses and set them right. We courageous Catholic faithful are ready and willing to just have the chance to call upon our Confirmation grace and virtue and to defend the faith!
    It doesn’t matter what news station or media source you have been tuned into, all of these alleged pundits keep regurgitating the same things: “He’s humble; he’s a man of the people; he’s a reformer.” Or, my personal favorite, “he’s very orthodox: holds true to the Church’s teachings against abortion, homosexual unions, contraception.” Since when does this mean you are “orthodox?” One would certainly hope this is what you believe! You’re not a Catholic if you don’t hold true to those teachings! And yet, as I alluded to above, there ARE bishops and even cardinals around the world who hold opposite views. St. Paul echoed those same words of our Lord, that he knew the minute he would leave ravening wolves would sneak in and not spare the flock (Acts 20:29).
    So, while Mr. Kokx’s wording could have been a little more clear or perhaps worded more strongly toward optimism/hope (which I firmly believe he meant to convey), there also needs to be a measure of realism and all we are asking for is the supporting body of work for all of the above claims (reformer et al.). What we are all surely more concerned with, however, is not what is in the past but what lies ahead.
    And so far so good. In his first speech to the world as the Holy Father, Pope Francis asked us to pray for him before giving us his apostolic blessing.
    In his first sermon, however, he did something truly bold; something not most of us are accustomed to hearing: he talked about the devil and the untruth of false religions:
    “We can walk as much we want, we can build many things, but if we do not confess Jesus Christ, nothing will avail…“Whoever does not pray to God, prays to the devil.” When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil.”
    This directly echoes St. John, “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father. He that confesseth the Son, hath the Father also.” (1 John 2:23)
    And so it should be at the core of any evangelization, old or “new,” a message of the need (not preference) of conversion and belief in the one true faith of Christ. Great. We find what we have in common. Now let’s talk about what really matters: where we disagree and why if others don’t come around they will regrettably not share in eternal life.
    I am sure anyone reading this is familiar with the popular song, “Be Not Afraid.” This is what we are asking for from our Holy Father. This is what we are begging for…most certainly this is what we are praying for. The post-conciliar policy of “no more anathemas” and “let’s see where we agree” has become as bad as a parent who doesn’t discipline a child and has morphed into what could unfortunately be called a “Kumbaya Theology.” The sexual revolution has destroyed American morality. But the Hippie mentality of peace, love and tolerance is what is truly and more cleverly leading souls to a damnation of indifference.

    Proverbs 17:15 – “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, both are abominable before God.”
    Let’s consider who the real enemies are here before we go “rad-trad” bashing on a man who just clearly has a heart for the restoration of Holy Mother Church.



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