The “Francis Effect” Five Years Out

He started with a bang.

However, the enthusiasm began to subside—as indicated by the thinning crowds—when Francis began to engage in partisan politics with, for example, frequent comments on environmentalism.

In so doing, he began to act more like a secular public official than a religious leader, which served to dilute his teaching authority.

Sometimes it was a little thing. The Vatican press corps noticed when Pope Francis decided to disregard protocol when he refused to bless them, presumably to avoid offending non-Catholics.

Many more people noticed the absence of any reference to Christ in the pope’s address to Congress.

Ross Douthat, Catholic columnist for the New York Times, proposed in the early days that Francis was trying to end a low-grade civil war that had afflicted the Church since the Second Vatican Council.

A year later, he abandoned that thesis by suggesting that the pope can be preserved from error only if orthodox Catholics resist his papacy.

He had a yen for pontificating but not on matters pertaining to a pontiff, liked being applauded but was or seemed uncomfortable with his role as a religious leader in a time when religion gets little or no respect.

Moremoremore on the pope who would be king, or today’s version of the same, via Crisis Magazine

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