One thing that has continued to impress me concerning Pope Francis is the effect that he has had on the world at large. He’s not unique in this regard a number of his predecessors have had the attention of the international media and the world at large.
One role that I enjoy watching Francis play is the “conscience” to the world, especially to the West. I enjoy seeing him being nettlesome to a world that has become very comfortable and happy with the status quo. I like watching his taking the side of the poor, especially, trying to make those that believe that “greed is good” is an attitude that really devalues and reduces us all.
A second thing that I also take pleasure in is seeing him remind the Church of our purpose, our mission. He’s a reminder that we’re called to be concerned to those less fortunate; that’s what Christian love is! “Cheap grace” seems to have become “the common core” of Christianity, in my mind and Francis is reminding us that Christian moral ethics involves action on our part, that our faith without works is dead!
To me, though, what has been striking is his emphasis on the pastoral aspect of Church teaching. One can emphasize the dogma, one can emphasize the law, but Francis is emphasizing the pastoral aspect. It seems he’s focusing on issues that deal with the daily life of individuals in the Church and trying to clarify a path for the Church to deal with them in a practical way. He seems to be responding to the needs of people today, embodying the welcoming presence of the Jesus.
I cannot wait until he arrives in Sept. I am waiting for his historic speech before the Congress. I’m hoping that his visit is a wake-up call to Catholics and other people in the United States.