Monday, October 19, 2015
By all measures, the recent visit to the US by Pope Francis was a resounding success. The cities and places he visited while he was here were packed by millions of people who wanted to get a first hand glance at the Pope, or a photograph of him as he passed by in the Popemobile or the now famous, Black Fiat. Even the media seemed to have nothing but good things to say about him. While most Popes are usually held to high esteem, and are loved and adored by the flock of Catholic Christians worldwide, this Pope, Pope Francis, seems to be taking it to the next level. The numbers of people who attend the weekly audience has increased 3 or 4 times since he took over as Pope in March 2013. His popularity seems to be increasing all the time as he touches the lives of those all around him in a way that only he can. Yet, he is still misunderstood quite often due to misrepresentations by the news media and others who misinterpret his quotes. Most of the problem is due to the language barrier as Pope Francis usually speaks in Spanish or Italian. When his words are translated into English or other languages, the meaning gets changed sometimes. On other occasions, I wonder if his comments are purposely misrepresented as some try to read between the lines or for some reason have wishful thinking that he might be saying something that he is not. As much as some people might want to think so, the Pope cannot change Church teaching and dogmas of the Church. A great example is in the case of women as priests. No matter what people may think or want it to happen, the Pope cannot decide one day that he will let women become priests. In fact, no Church council or synod can do this either. Women just cannot become priests, period. Aside from these issues, I think everyone would agree that Pope Francis is doing a great work as Pope and I look forward to the many years ahead as this Pope brings those outside the Church into a full and faithful understanding and appreciation for the genius of the Catholic Church and the rich history and tradition that we have in proclaiming Jesus Christ as our risen Lord and Savior for over two thousand years!