Pope Francis has lit up the world, including the blogosphere, with his many surprising actions and words. In short order, a sort of wedge has been created between those who love his fresh style, and those who distrust it.
He says things off the cuff. He turns right instead of left and leaves his frantic security scrambling to protect him. He eschews the trappings of the papacy.
Unsurprisingly, the mainstream media jumps on anything that he says or does that can be spun as sensational: “follow the pope on twitter and get out of hell!” or “gay priests are a-okay with Francis!”
And, almost overnight, a bustling cottage industry has grown up among Catholic bloggers of interpreting, explaining, and even kibitizing his every move and statement. That’s not a bad thing in my opinion–it’s a great thing!–but it’s not what I think I’m called to do.
The Pope is the Pope and the Church is the Church. I love Pope Francis, just as I loved Pope Benedict and Blessed John Paul II. Just as I love St. Peter and St. Linus and St. Clement and St. Martin I and St. Leo IX. God is guiding the Pope, and that is enough for me. He will not, cannot, teach heresy as truth, not because he is so smart or faithful (though I pray he is) but because the Holy Spirit protects him from erring on such matters. Let people go into apoplexy about him; none of this will change the glorious charisms he has been given.
With a small army of popular Catholics defending the Pope and making sure the record is set straight, I can content myself with other tasks. Occasionally my coworkers will say, “Hey Devin, what’s with this latest thing from the Pope? Do you like him or not?” And I will respond to them, but otherwise I see no reason to weigh in. Others are doing a good job of it, and I’m not needed on that front.
Instead, I want to go where I’m needed. Maybe that’s staying local here in central Texas, working on our farm. Maybe it’s writing the historical fiction book on the Catholic-Orthodox schism (25,000 words in!). Maybe it’s finally getting If Protestantism is True published through Catholic Answers. Maybe it’s giving a class at my parish this fall on Bible Verses Every Catholic Should Know (note to self: need a shorter title).
Pope Francis remains in my prayers, and goes with my appreciation and respect. To my fellow Catholic bloggers, I encourage unity in the bond of peace, especially with those bloggers who disagree with you, or who rub you the wrong way. We have enough enemies, without turning on our own and ripping each other to shreds. God bless.