I’d like to interrupt my series on mental health to bring you this special message. Let me start this whole thing by saying this: I’m not Catholic. At all. I have never been Catholic, I wasn’t raised Christian, let alone a specific denomination of Christianity like Catholicism (because no matter what you say or think, Catholics are Christians); until last year, I would have called myself a run-of-the-mill evangelical Christian (nowadays I consider myself more mainstream, because I don’t agree with most evangelical denominations, even though I still currently attend an evangelical church).
Anyway, the reason that this came up is because it started trending on Facebook and Twitter, and yesterday (the 13th of March) was the one year anniversary of his election and appointment to the papacy, and he has done more in this year to make the media and ordinary people take note of it. Usually I don’t pay any attention to the goings on in the Catholic Church, but Pope Francis has really caught my attention in this past year; here’s why.
Pope Francis cares about the poor. Took long enough! Many people criticize Christians for caring more about converting people then helping them to get what they need, and Pope Francis is going directly against that assumption. I’ve always had a heart for the poor and the hungry myself, because I know how it feels to be worried about where your next meal is going to come from. Pope Francis has made a point to reach out to the poor and sick, kinda like Jesus always did.
Pope Francis is trying to tear down walls by calling out for unity. There has been this divide between Catholics and Protestants for obvious reasons (duh), but the division has been way too far, to the point that I know a great number of Protestants who do not think that Catholics are Christians. That’s just silly; we all worship Jesus and believe in His sacrifice alone, which saves us from the messes that we’re all in; just because we express it differently doesn’t mean that we’re Christians and they’re not, or vice versa. But Pope Francis has been tearing down the walls between all sorts of people – between women and the church, between the LGBT community and the church, and between different religions. It’s really inspiring to me, because Jesus never intended for us to be our own thing – we’re still in this world and should participate in it.
Pope Francis is the most humble, down to earth man that has ever held this position. Have you ever seen a man so humble? He rides in the Popemobile (but takes people with him on it), he sits in a chair instead of on that elaborate throne-thing, he doesn’t live in the Pope Palace, and he goes out in the middle of the night to feed the poor. What kind of Pope does this? This one. He picked the name of a popular Saint who was also very poor and is known for his humility and passion for Jesus. He is humble and emulates what Jesus did while He was on this earth, and I’m glad for it – people can see what real Christianity looks like.
Pope Francis is trying to fix some of the terrible mistakes that have been made. Even though it’s slow, he has been working to fix some of the bad things that have happened in the Catholic church, including all of the scandals. Is it slow? Yes, but I think there are legit reasons why it’s slow. We’ll see what the next steps are, but I’m really glad that he’s working to try and fix those things in a way that is appropriate.
I really can’t wait to see what else Pope Francis is going to do this coming year. He has been working to make the Church (not just the Catholic church, either) more up to date and appealing to the world around us, and I know I appreciate the rebranding efforts. So hats off to a great, holy man whom I appreciate greatly.