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December 22nd, 2013
10:24 AM ET

The Pope's secret strength: The freedom to be Francis

Opinion by the Rev. Thomas Rosica, special to CNN

(CNN) Christmas was a moveable feast for me this year - in fact it happened right smack in the middle of Lent, when the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church elected a man from Argentina to be the next Pope.

I have been asking myself a ton of questions over the past months.

What has happened in the church, and how can it be that a 77-year-old, retirement-bound archbishop from Buenos Aires has captivated the world?

How can we describe the sense of springtime that has come upon the church? How is it fathomable in our day and age that not only Christians and Catholics but millions of others are speaking about “Papa Francesco” as if he were their own?

Is this all the work of a PR company or clever media strategists hired by the Vatican to rebrand its image? Or is there something else at work? Let me tell you what I think is afoot.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio took the name Francis upon his election as Pope and told us he did so because of his love for Francis of Assisi. For the past nine months, many of us have been associating the Pope’s gestures and actions with the “Poverello” or “Little Poor One” of Assisi, perhaps the most beloved saint of the Catholic tradition.

We can easily envision Francis of Assisi in that idyllic, medieval Umbrian hilltop town and mythologize about what really happened back in his day. But too often Francis’ radical message is lost and we reduce him to a gentle, whimsical hippie who fed birds, smelled flowers and tamed wild wolves. We easily forget that in reality, Assisi’s favorite son was and is the model of a radical Christian.

One day as a young man, Francis heard the plea of Jesus from the crucifix in the dilapidated San Damiano chapel on Assisi’s outskirts. “Go and repair my Church,” he heard Jesus say. And he certainly did that in his lifetime and through the huge Franciscan family that he left behind to carry forward his dream and continue his work.

Many of us have spent the past months finding similarities between Francis of Assisi and Francis of Buenos Aires, who took up residence in a guest house in Vatican City rather than the papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace.

We become easily fixated on lots of eye-catching, buzz-causing externals and great photo opportunities: A Pope who abandoned the red shoes - that were never an official part of the papal wardrobe! A Pope who dresses modestly, pays his own lodging bills, drives around Vatican City in a Ford Focus, calls many people on the phone, brings jam sandwiches to on-duty Swiss Guards at his door and invites street people to his birthday breakfast.

This Roman pontiff specializes in kissing babies and embracing the sick, disfigured broken bodies, and the abandoned of society. We sit back, smile and utter: “What simplicity!” “Wow!” Awesome!” “Finalmente!”

We say: “Here is a one world leader who speaks the truth to power, walks his talk, and names idolatry and greed for what they are. Here’s a bold and courageous shepherd who lifts up the poor and tells us that if they are not part of our lives, then we are a sad and even doomed lot. Just like Francis of Assisi did in his day!”

But that is not the whole story.

I have realized more and more over the past months that while I have always loved Francis of Assisi and all the romantic ideals he embraced and stood for, Francis of Buenos Aires doesn’t transport me back to medieval Assisi. He takes me back to Bethlehem, Galilee and Jerusalem.

Everything the Pope is doing now is not just an imitation of his patron saint who loved the poor, embraced lepers, charmed sultans, made peace and protected nature. It’s a reflection of the child of Bethlehem who would grow up to become the man of the cross in Jerusalem, the Risen One that no tomb could contain, the man we Christians call Savior and Lord. The one whose birth we celebrate on December 25.

More than anyone in my lifetime, Pope Francis has given me a powerful glimpse into the mind and heart of God.

He wants the church to be an instrument of reconciliation and welcome, a church capable of warming hearts, a church that is not bent over on herself but always seeking those on the periphery and those who are lost, a church capable of leading people home.

Francis knows only too well that at times we lose people because they don't understand what we are saying, because we have forgotten the language of simplicity.

On the late afternoon of March 13, 2013, Jorge Mario Bergoglio received the call to go, rebuild, repair, renew and heal the church.

What we have witnessed over the past nine months is simply a disciple of Jesus, and a faithful disciple of Ignatius of Loyola (the founder of the Jesuits) and of Francis of Assisi, repairing, renewing, restoring, reconciling and healing the Church.

There are those who delight in describing the new Pope as a bold, brazen revolutionary sent to rock the boat. Others think he has come to cause a massive shipwreck.

But the only revolution that Pope Francis has inaugurated is a revolution of tenderness, the very words he used in his recent major letter on "The Joy of the Gospel."

“True faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from self-giving, from membership in the community, from service, from reconciliation with others. The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness.”

It is this revolution that is at the heart of Pope Francis’ ministry.

Last week during a banquet in Chicago, Cardinal Francis George revealed why the cardinals gathered in conclave last March elected Bergoglio pope. George said: “Because the cardinal from Argentina was completely free. He possessed an interior freedom that was so evident.”

Is it not this unflinching freedom that allows Pope Francis to do what he does because he is unafraid and totally free to be himself at the same time of being such faithful son of the Church?

In our war-torn world, where selfishness, sadness, meanness, vengeance and harshness seem to have the upper hand at times, we need the message of Christmas: goodness, joy, kindness, mercy and the tenderness of our God.

These are also the qualities of the current revolutionary Bishop of Rome. No wonder why he has taken the world by storm, and why so many people are paying attention to him. We need the Francis revolution of tenderness and mercy now more than ever before.

The Rev. Thomas Rosica, CSB, is the CEO of Canada’s Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and Television Network. He also assists the Holy See Press Office with English language media relations. The views expressed in this column belong to Rosica. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Leaders • Opinion • Pope Francis

soundoff (383 Responses)
  1. Kevin Lawrence

    Praise The Lord for giving us Pope Francis! He is just what is needed on the world stage and to prepare the world for Christ's return.

    December 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Shanti

      Hopefully he never comes back because then we all die is some sort of rapture don't we? Sorry, I am very familiar with Greek and Norse mythologies but the Bronze Age mythologies escape me a bit. Jesus and his dad are just fiction anyway, why to folks get so bothered with all this "talking to a deity in your head" bit ??

      December 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  2. Syd

    Christmas is a moveable feast? It's always on December 25. Methinks he meant Easter. I hope.

    December 22, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
  3. Kevin

    As one who was raised Catholic but lost interest and faith ages ago, I might still be a church goer if the teachings of Pope Francis were what I was being taught in CCD. I wonder if Paul Ryan supports this pope since his teachings go against everything Ryan stands for. So many phony christians out there who preach hate. It's nice to see someone get it right.

    December 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Syd

      Ryan worships Ayn Rand. It's hard to have two gods.

      December 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
  4. Lionly Lamb

    Legalize hemp farming and regulate the medicinal uses of cannabis while taxing the recreational usages of marijuana...

    December 22, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
  5. Canadian Eh!

    Although I disagree with allot of what is being said on this post, I would fight to the death for your right to say it!

    Support Phil Robertson & Marry Christmas my American Friends

    December 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Canadian Eh!

      LOL Sorry...Merry Christmas!

      December 22, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Being a Canadian and chronic compromiser, support Phil Robertson's right to be an azzhole and A&E's right to tell him so.

      December 22, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
      • Canadian Eh!

        Merry Christmas my friend!

        December 22, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
  6. Colin

    There are some pretty fundamental objections to Catholicism that are hard to get around. Now before I proceed, let me say that I am enamored by Francis and his seemingly genuine humbleness. I am also not a gratuitous "Catholic basher." I appreciate that the church does a lot of good work. However, this cannot gloss over some pretty fundamental issues that any honest, thinking Catholic must confront.

    1. At its most fundamental level, Catholicism requires a belief that an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,720,000,000 years ago (the approximate age of the current iteration of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,720,000,000 years for human beings to gradually evolve, then, at some point in our evolution from Hom.o Erectus, gave us eternal life and a soul, and about 180,000 years later, sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East.

    While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of ANYTHING outside of the Greco-Roman Middle East, including Australia, North and South America, Europe, Asia, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies. One would have thought that a visitor from the creator of the Universe would visit (or at least mention) the millions upon millions of Chinese and other Asians, all the people spread throughout North, Central and South America, the Australian Aboriginals, the ancient Europeans or the Sub-Saharan Africans. Instead, his entire visit and his entire Holy Book, the Bible, is 100% concentrated on the Jews. It seems obvious to any thinking person that the Jews made God in their image and not vice-versa.

    2. This ‘all loving’ god spends his time running the Universe and observing the approximately 7 billion human beings on planet Earth, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He even reads their minds (or “hears their prayers”, if you see any difference) using some kind of magic telepathic powers. He also keeps his telepathic eye on them when they are not praying, so as to know if they think bad thoughts (such as coveting their neighbor) so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die.

    3. Having withheld any evidence of his existence, this god will then punish those who doubt him with an eternity burning in hell. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is harbor an honest, reasonable and rational disbelieve in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty on me a billion times worse than the death penalty – and he loves me.

    4. The above beliefs are based on nothing more than a collection of Bronze Age and Greco-Roman Middle Eastern mythology, much of it discredited, that was cobbled together into a book called the “Bible” by people we know virtually nothing about, before the Dark Ages. I mean, let me ask a believer this. Do you even have the slightest damn idea who any of the 100+ authors of the Bible were? Do you have any idea who complied it? Who decided what Bronze Age Jewish writings to include and what to exclude and the criteria they used? Most don’t.

    5. The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Horus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).

    6. The Bible is also literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty – including, genocide, murder, slavery, r.ape and the complete subjugation of women. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.

    7. A rejection of the supernatural elements of Catholicism does not require a rejection of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Catholicism. To the extent we reject Catholic morality, it is where it is outdated or mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, our basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Catholic. We just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over our head in order to act in a manner that we consider moral.

    Falsely linking morality to a belief in the supernatural is a time-tested “three card trick” religion uses to stop its adherents from asking the hard questions. So is telling them it is “wrong to doubt.” This is probably why there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism, but literally hundreds in support of blind acceptance and blatant gullibility.

    8. We have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.

    9. When backed into a corner, Catholicism admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. This is probably the mother of all understatements. In any event, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something (which it most certainly is not, any more than “faith” that pixies exist is) one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Catholic based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. In a dark room without features, any guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 359 degrees.

    Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours?

    The entire Catholic faith is not a belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, or, even more accurately, a simple wish for a god, no more substantial than the hope for a good future and no more universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support.

    December 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Robert

      Eloquently written and certainly thought-provoking in some respects; however, not thoroughly convincing, at least for me. My 'leap of faith' is simple: God exists because I do. To use your own words: "In a dark room without features, any guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 359 degrees." You don't realize that you are in fact the truly blind man who has chosen the door he sees and takes the 'leap of faith' that the door he sees is the only door there is. Alas, as they say, there's none so blind as those who will not see. God bless you.

      December 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
      • Olga

        over 22,000 Gods created by the mind of Man, how on Earth did you pick just one?

        (hint hint, you picked the one that gives you something...feeds your weak ego.... called a "soul" which allows you to live forever when nothing in the Universe can, hee hee, silly child)

        December 22, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
        • Robert

          Silly child indeed. We ALL picked the SAME God. There aren't 22,000 Gods. There is only one. There certainly may be 22, 000 manifestations of God, but ultimately–even if we don't realize it–we are ALL referring to the SAME God.

          December 22, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
  7. Donkey T Dong

    Did anyone else notice that the guy profiled in this piece is the pope. For crying out loud in a bucket, he's a catholic and a christian and is doing his best to keep both christians and catholics from being laughed off the stage of world opinion.

    December 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • rl

      By golly, I think you have it. I am not Catholic and do not intend to become one, but Pope Francis is doing his best to prove that Catholics can be Christian. In previous years it was just the opposite. This Pope seems to be really a Pope of the people. Not only am I surprised, but I am very pleased to see this. Now, I know there are going to be the Catholics in the US who profess to be good ones who will say he is a Marxist or not conservative enough. Pope Francis seems to have read the same Bible I did as a Methodist, and understands that Jesus was a leader of all people equally, and actually Jesus was the first written example of a "Liberal".

      December 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
  8. Calhusker

    “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.”

    ― St. Francis of Assisi

    December 22, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Realist

      but interpret it to fit your agenda. Ignore the evil stuff and forget the contradictions.

      December 22, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Selling another age of opression

      Don't protect yourself with a condom.

      Pope Francis of hypocrisy

      December 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
      • Calhusker

        You're idea of oppression is another's moral conviction.

        December 22, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • Selling another age of opression

          Claiming to stand for one thing after doing the opposite is the Pope's moral record.

          December 22, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • JJ

      "Do all you can to ensure we protect all priests who rape our sheep's children by sending them off to another Parish in another state and threatening the sheep with hell-fire if they protest." – The Pope.

      December 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
  9. Aaron

    The only thing revolutionary is he seems to strive for a Christ-like existence in world full of Christians who are anything but.

    December 22, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Calhusker

      Putting a group into one category. Hmmmm. Sounds like being judgmental to me.

      December 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  10. shamgar50

    Smoke and mirrors, and the sheep are lapping it up. Has church policy changed, or has church emphasis changed? One means something, the other means nothing. Fools!

    December 22, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Calhusker

      You're right sham. Nothing has changed except the delivery of the message. God bless Pope Francis.

      December 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  11. SHChapman

    What an uplifting summary of our new Pope by the Rev. Thomas Rosica. This Pope, like Jesus, is all about love, inclusion, and living a more Christ-like life as an example to naysayers, other sinners, the disenfranchised, the poor, and sick. At this time of year especially, what a great message of hope and love.

    December 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Realist

      far more people have done far more than this goof ball. And those people don't go back to royalty.

      December 22, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
  12. Realist

    the vatican needs to keep re-painting itself,, the exterior only. And it's amazing that cathoholics only see the paint

    December 22, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • Calhusker

      1.2 billion Catholics are so blind, thank goodness we have Realist to lead us to the truth.

      December 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
      • I'm God

        1.2 billion Catholics? Too funny. Oh, you mean in third world countries. BTW: over 3 billion think the catholic church is a con.

        December 22, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
        • Calhusker

          Thats ok, the gate are narrow.

          December 22, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • God

          You judging others?

          December 22, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
        • God

          That message was for Father Culhuster

          December 22, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
  13. SciGuy

    I've observed that not a few atheists post here. Good. Maybe one of them can explain this observation. I've yet to meet an atheist without at least these two gods–Science and State. The former is omniscient and the latter omnipotent.

    December 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      You seem extremely confused and possibly stupid.

      December 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Realist

      wow!!! two gods. I suppose believing in a god is rather silly and you therefore need to include atheist in in your silliness.

      At the very least, you've confirmed that believing in a god is silly.

      December 22, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
      • RC MESSENGER

        TRUTH. JESUS RESIDES WITHIN. YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE. I AM NOT A BIBLE BUMPER, BUT I WAS YOU, AND NOW I'M HAPPY. EVEN IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE NOW, YOU WILL, UN-KNOWINGLY, IF YOU OPEN THAT DOOR IN TIME. TRUST ME, TRUST YOUR HEART. IT'S THERE, LIKE IT OR NOT, YOUR NOT ALONE.

        December 22, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
        • God

          Why do you speak for me? Am I not capable enough? Must you reduce me?

          God

          December 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
        • LvanBthvn

          So you seem to be saying. But at least I'm literate.

          December 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Science is merely a useful measuring tool. The state is an idea held within the minds of a population. No gods whatsoever.

      December 22, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Selling another age of opression

      Science is a work in progress with no end.
      Religion is presented as absolute. You go to hell for questioning and testing it.

      December 22, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • SciGuy

      No satisfactory answers yet. Atheists I know worship both Science and the State. Those are their gods.

      December 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
      • Selling another age of opression

        Science is discovery.
        The burden is on you to prove that discovery is some sort of God.

        December 22, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
      • tallulah13

        You seem very proud of this "science and state" proclamation. I think you fear science because it explains away the need for gods. And I think you fear "state" because this country allows us to believe or not believe as we will and free-thought is the enemy of religion.

        You are welcome to wrap yourself in your bible and hide from reality. But the rest of the world is moving on without you.

        December 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
      • LvanBthvn

        No satisfactory answers yet? Try this: I appreciate science, I learn from science, I live my life according to what I've learned from science. But I certainly don't worship science, because science is a body of knowledge created by human intelligence, not a god in any way. By the same token, I do not worship the state, another man-made creation subject to many flaws and errors; one should maintain a healthy skepticism when it comes to any form of government.

        December 22, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      SciGuy
      Not gods but knowledge and orderly society as opposed to myth and constant strife between the religions.

      December 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
      • SciGuy

        No, doesn't fit what I've observed. Knowledge is good; I don't know any Christians who think otherwise. But we don't worship it. And we also support orderly society, but not the govt-god that atheists worship. Orderly govt does not have the right to force my money at threat of imprisonment in order to redistribute. And your so-called orderly govt has been responsible for hundreds of millions of taking of life, you know the sort of power that belongs to God. Their god govt.

        December 22, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          SciGuy
          Well you seem to think religion is the end all, sorry but I believe any answer would not meet your acceptance, you are to far gone. You asked the question with the only purpose of criticising those that don't believe as you do, a Christian trait even though I do not know what you believe, a surmise.

          December 22, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Strongfp

      Atheism also does not recognize any god(s) at all. We see them as just fictional characters which can be quite a good read at most of times!

      December 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
      • SciGuy

        Maybe true for you. But I know a few atheists well, and have read many others. Haven't met one yet who didn't have the two gods Science and State.

        December 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          SciGuy
          Now you have, read the posts, you come across as pompous and arrogant, your observations are the only ones that count despite others telling you that you are wrong. Another religious trait.

          December 22, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Religion is a divisive force with a basis in mythology, emotion and cultural habit. I have no use for it in my life.

          As for "state and science", I would rather have a representative government where I have a vote than live in a land ruled by princes or priests. And science is good because it actually works. Calling them "gods" is quite melodramatic of you.

          December 22, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • igaftr

      Your "observation" is incorrect since neither science nor state are gods.

      December 22, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
  14. Realist

    this IS the vaticanm $$$ and con. Mother theresa was a big money maker. No one heard the truth about her though. Her mentor was a pedo and her favorite to the starving was 'become catholic and I'll feed you'. her humbleness? She took countless trophies. More than likely she was mentally ill.

    Remember, this is the same idio-tic religion that went to third world countries that once lived peacefully. Sure they wore few clothes, that was their style. The catholic church used that to raise cash 'they can't afford clothes'. People donated and the catholic church took its huge cut. Yes, cut. And if you think this group is honest, just look at history. Recently caught money laundering in Italy and in the USA in the late 80's

    WAKE UP

    December 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Calhusker

      Bottom line, no other private organization on the planet feeds and hospitalizes more of the poor than the Catholic Church.

      December 22, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
      • SHChapman

        The Catholic Church educates a tremendous amount of planet earth too! Nice comment Calhusker!

        December 22, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
      • Realist

        you mean with US tax payer money, out pretending to do it with their own. Yep,, the catholic church receives billions in grants, they pay no taxes on their prime real estate and destroy children's lives.

        Maybe you should have helped Charlie Manson. Hey charlie, make it look as if you are doing good while selling your beliefs, using tax payer money. It's a scale of good and evil. In the end,, you get all the cash.

        December 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
        • Mary

          Why so ethnocentric. The church is throughout the world. Can't Americans stand to not be central to any story. I realize it's CNN but its that terrible self-centeredness that's causing your country'sdecline

          December 22, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
        • God

          Why must you brag? I have no alliance with the catholic church. Why must the catholic church deceive people into believing they are any better?

          The catholic church is an insult to the intelligence I gave.

          God

          December 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  15. sandyhidler

    So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

    December 22, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  16. MaryKay

    Pope Francis leads by example. I like his style and quite simply I love him.

    December 22, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Realist

      pedos do too

      December 22, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Calhusker

      So true, God bless Pope Francis.

      December 22, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
      • Realist

        a con man is all

        December 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • Calhusker

          Name call the best ya got?

          December 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
        • God

          As Realist, I support the children abused by the cover ups by this religion. Yes, Cardinals and Bishops helped orchestrated the denial to child in need of help.

          The pope was a cardinal.

          December 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Christine

      He does seem to lead by example. However, I question his lack of inaction in re-organizing the Church so that ALL of the
      bishops, cardinals, etc. follow his example. Without that re-organization, it makes me question the sincerity of his actions.

      December 22, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
      • God

        priority 31 would have been to help the children abused, with honesty. Deflection is the pope's and vatican's goal.

        Nothing else should have been done to precede this.

        December 22, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  17. Selling another age of opression

    This Pope is proving that marketing works.

    December 22, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  18. ElreyJones

    The Pope looks more and more like the Italian idiot and that's not good. Sure he may be Argentinian but's he's Italian. Just another Italian Pope who is crazy. Nothing more nothing less. I'll support him when he says something sane. Otherwise, I don't trust him anymore than I trust the International banksters and their ilk. Christianity is on the slide downhill and their is no reversal. Their can only be temporary reprieves. Why? Look at what the Pope says and do your own sanity check.

    December 22, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Rojai

      The allowing of comments for this article are useless since they ban comments against the Pope.

      December 22, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Carob

      Who was the Italian Pope? Benedict was German and John Paul II was Polish. Who are you thinking of?

      December 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.