Pope Francis presents a book to Haiti’s President Michel Martelly, accompanied by his wife, Sophia, during a private audience at the Vatican Feb. 24. CNS photo/Paul Haring

Applauding Pope Francis without the standing ovation

By 
  • February 27, 2014

As we approach the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ election, I received a thoughtful e-mail from Mary, a regular reader of The Register. She complained that my columns “undermine Pope Francis.”

“Society in general is so secular that the Church is becoming irrelevant,” Mary wrote. “Some would consider the Roman Catholic Church turning into a relic with a Pope that is a symbolic head. Pope Francis managed to turn the tide around in a short period of time and brought the Church back to its core teaching and values. And the world noticed and responded positively except you and a few others.”

Whether Mary’s complaint is valid or not is really for readers in general to decide, but I will give my response presently. What struck me about Mary’s e-mail was that that this criticism can be plausibly made. The idea that the “world” would give the Pope positive press notices, and that the Catholic press — or at least this writer — would not is a testament to how remarkable Pope Francis’ first year has been.

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