I Don’t Want A Francis Effect

I put it in the headline to underscore I’m serious. Not cynical. Not making a funny.

Cathy Lynn Grossman at RNS cites some Pew Research on Catholic thinking and behavior since last March 13th.

Truthfully, I don’t want people showing up at the church doors because of some far-off bishop in Rome. Especially because we could get a Pius XIII or an Innocent XIV to blast it all to bits in another decade. The pope should be irrelevant to the choice of a believer to come to Mass, to live the faith, and to aspire to sainthood.

The real attraction for believers and seekers should be a welcoming community that practices the Gospel it preaches. Period. No cults of celebrity. Not even pastors.

I am sure Pope Francis would agree that it is incumbent on believers in every parish to make their faith community more welcoming and to do so with an eye outside the church walls, and not tending to those who should be the medics, nurses, and doctors of the field hospital.

That said, if there is a Francis Effect in the US, it’s probably stopping the hemorrhage of discouraged Catholics. We have a whole lot of work to do to regain trust that has been battered by the administrative scandals of bishops. Let’s put that part back to wholeness and work from there.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in bishops, Commentary, spirituality and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to I Don’t Want A Francis Effect

  1. Katherine says:

    One thing that rather worries me, about Pope Francis’s rhetoric and how we may receive it, is that we can too easily forget that those who, as you say, should be the medics, nurses and doctors of the field hospital, are themselves (ourselves) often ‘walking wounded’ — even some bishops, I suspect. If we don’t demonstrate that we care for each other, why would those outside the church walls bother coming in, trusting themselves to us?

  2. Ray MacDonald says:

    I recently saw a video by James Martin SJ on suggested positive practices for Lent. Basically it went like this:

    Be Kind:
    (1) Don’t Be a Jerk
    (2) Honor the Absent
    (3) Give People the Benefit of the Doubt

    It seems to me that Francis sets a good example of doing these things, and I personally don’t expect more than that.

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