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A Pope of the Poor

A Pope of the Poor

 

Washington does not quite know what to make of Pope Francis. Some ecclesial and political spinners are trying to fit him into their own agendas and biases. Before the conclave we heard contradictory hopes for a new pope: culture warrior or less focused on sexual matters, manager or evangelizer, enforcer or communicator. Instead we have a humble, hopeful and holy pastor. Like his namesake, Pope Francis is likely to make the powerful uneasy. As he declared: “Francis of Assisi—for me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation…. How I would like a church which is poor and for the poor!”

It would be hard to identify three priorities that draw less attention in Washington than poverty, peace and protecting creation. Official Washington is about helping the “middle class,” confronting global enemies and economic growth, not lifting up the poor, seeking peace or caring for the earth. On parts of the left, secular deities are sexual freedom and unrestrained choice. On the right, many worship at the altar of unlimited economic freedom and the unfettered market. Both ideological orthodoxies reflect overwhelming individualism and neither focuses on the common good or protecting the weak. Read more