Now that Pope Francis has been in office a few months, it’s pretty clear he is a different kind of Pope than were his predecessors.
Through social media and my writing connections, I interact with a lot of people who see the world in a different way than I do. When the Vatican finally selected Francis as the successor to Benedict XVI, social media came alive with Pope hate. (I should point out here that I am not Catholic.)
It’s clear to me that most of this would have gone around no matter who came out of the conclave wearing white. It isn’t Francis these people despised, it is the entire Catholic Church.
Much of the venom spewed in those first few days of the new Papacy centered around the issue of gay marriage. The only good Pope to this group is a Pope who immediately, upon the very first appearance, abolishes the long-standing institutional policy against gay marriage. This is a patently unrealistic expectation. The other Cardinals would not stand for it, for starters. Remember, it took 400 years to forgive Galileo for supporting scientific evidence over church doctrine.
Nobody knows what Pope Francis truly believes on the inside about gay marriage. He simply cannot make that change, at least not now. What he can do is what he began during his first week in office, and that is to clean house. The Catholic Church is aboil in scandal, illegal, and non-Christlike behavior. Francis has already begun this effort, and I have every confidence he will succeed to the extent he can reach.
He is a man of the poor. He mingles with the poorest of people on their turf. He rides in a regular car unless the situation becomes too crazy and his entourage forces him into the Pope-mobile.
Unrealistic expectations aside, I implore everyone to give the man a chance to act. Good things take time to develop.