Rainy Day Writing

Writing, Reading, Inspirations and Aspirations

The Pope and Jesus the Radical




It’s been an interesting week in the news. I did not expect to see the news media get all warm and fuzzy about Pope Francis’ visit to the US. But it’s pretty hard to ignore this guy. He is not the sanitized, institutionalized version of the Holy Father we are used to seeing. He doesn’t live in opulent fashion. He doesn’t even wear the red boots. He says things that probably get him in trouble at the Vatican. I can see the more corporate type Catholics, the bishops and arch bishops and whatever, shaking their heads and rolling their eyes like “He didn’t just say that did he?” Here’s a quote of his from earlier this year:

“With a worldly heart you can go to church, you can pray, you can do many things, but if your heart is worldly you cannot understand the needs and hardships of others.” http://www.christiantoday.com/article/…to.churchpope.francis/49550.htm 

Hmmm, sounds an awful lot like a bleeding heart liberal. And that is not the kind of stuff that a politically correct Pope should say, because it might piss off some pretty big contributors to the Catholic Church. But of course this is not a Pope interested in politics. This is a Pope who speaks his mind. I like him. He sounds more like the Jesus I’ve studied in the New Testament than any Pope in recent history. But boy, does he get under the skin of the Political leaders, particularly the GOP. Especially when he says things like we need to start worrying about the health of the planet, and we need to start accommodating refugees who are fleeing the constant sufferings of the war torn Middle East.
And the right-wing media mouths at FOX News are taken aback.  Fox News Contributor Andrew Napolitano wrote this recently:”he is a false prophet leading his flock to a dangerous place… to use moral relativism to take the Church in two dangerous directions. The first is an assault on the family, and the second is an assault on the free market — two favorite political targets of the left.” http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/09/24/false-prophet-why-pope-francis-has-disappointed-many-roman-catholics.html
Oh, I get it. Because the Pope is not aligned politically with the right, he is dangerous. Because he believes that faith should have legs and walk around so it can feed the hungry and house the homeless and take care of the earth, he is a left wing radical. Because he chooses not to judge but to love, he is morally weak.  And this Pope who has a Master’s Degree in Chemistry believes global warming is the result of human activity and must be addressed because it will lead to more human suffering. Oh that just flies in the face of the GOP position on just about everything. How dare he? Doesn’t he know Jesus is a Republican. And white?
But hey, Jesus got under the skin of the conservative leaders of the Jews at the time of Christ– The Sadducees, who represented the wealthy, and the Pharisees, who were more popular with the lesser classes of Jews.  They were so upset with Jesus the Radical and all the crazy stuff he was saying that they conspired together to turn him over to the Roman authorities, and we all know what happened then. (see John 11:48-50; Mark 14:53;15). Jesus was a pretty radical guy. He refused to cast stones at sinners and instructed people to sell all they had and follow him in poverty. And he would hang out with all kinds of riff raff. Oh, and he said nutty things like “The meek shall inherit the Earth”, and “Blessed are the peace makers”, and “Love your enemies.” So cray cray.  Let’s face it. Jesus was a left-wing radical. He probably wouldn’t even hate Obamacare. Or Obama.
So I’m not surprised at the political backlash from the right. It’s to be expected. And honestly, I could care less what FOX news thinks about the Pope or pretty much anything else.
What I am surprised about is that so many others are following his actions. Even my husband, who left the Catholic Church as a teenager and who is rarely interested in what any man of the cloth has to say, has been watching this man. And plenty of people who are not particularly “religious”, but who are concerned citizens of the earth–people who care about refugees, global warming, and social justice–are watching too. People who are hungry for a more loving spirit to reanimate the global heart, are listening. I’m listening too. And I like what I hear.  He is a breath of fresh air. I’ll breath deep. It does my heart good, and that’s some radical stuff.





  1. I don’t consider myself to be a liberal or conservative, extremes of either side cloud judgement for me. I’m a Catholic and I like this Pope. I don’t see how anyone can turn away from what he’s saying. But change always makes people nervous and he’s suggesting just that.


    • That’s an astute observation George. Yes, change is frightening for some, but without it, where would we be now? And positive change bears good fruit. Thanks for commenting!


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