Ever since the pontifex was announced back in March, Pope Francis of Argentina has certainly been making headlines. Yesterday he urged bishops to help those victims of sex abuse in the church, as well as to reach out to those priests who have “fallen short of their commitments”. Earlier this week it was announced that the pontifex has publicly revealed that he once worked as a bouncer at a bar while trying to support himself as a priest in Argentina. It seems Pope Francis is full of surprises.
One thing about Pope Francis that has made him so unique and even controversial at times, has been his passion and commitment to living a life of poverty, which some say is impossible for a pope. On his first day as pope, the pontifex went to the hotel he was staying at and paid his own bill. Many admired his choices to replace the classic bulletproof “popemobile” with a used Ford Focus. When he went even further by choosing to live in the more conservative apartment on Vatican grounds rather than the Apostolic Palace, people were shocked but still somewhat appreciative for his humble ways.
Pope Francis has gone further in recent weeks, not only calling on others to act more for the poor and to live more conservatively, but also openly criticizing aspects of Capitalism, specifically “trickle-down economics” which he said “expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.” This was said in the Vatican issued “Evangelili”. The Evangelili is officially known as an apostolic exhortation to the world’s Catholics.
While many liberal Catholics are excited by this strong commitment and outreach by the pontifex, other more conservative Catholics have criticized him for it. One of these critics is radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who has gone as far to call the Pope’s words “pure Marxism.” Some also criticize Pope Francis for providing outlook on politics, possibly trying to influence the voting powers of following Catholics. On the other side, some of the public has found the change in the Catholic Church refreshing.
What do you think about Pope Francis’ latest statements? Should he continue to speak up about economic matters? Do you think this has a negative of positive impact on the Catholic Church?