The new Pope’s focus seems to fit him like a glove. It fits the Catholic church as well.
The former Pope (can’t remember his name already) used his Christmas Eve message to talk about sex, not poverty. To me, this emphasis on judgement and sin is the most unattractive characteristic of the faith, especially the Catholic brand.
So this Pope just by passes all that and talks of the poor and social justice. He is in the slums, mostly stolen from the Catholic Church by the pentacostals, talking of his identification with its people.
While the Jesus character of the Bible was quoted as saying many conflicting and sometimes judgemental things, his attractive imagery is of helping the outcasts. Today’s outcasts include not only the poor but gays as well. Daming them to hell is not an attractive image.
On National Public Radio this morning was a discussion of Catholics who are criticizing the Pope for not continuing to fuss over gay marriage and sexual sin. The Bush era of flat out capitalism and focus on sin is being replaced with the social gospel.
It would be a wonderful thing if the Pope is successful in focusing on the less fortunate and pulling back from sex and sin. Currently, some of the poorest parts of the world are the most viscious toward gay people. The Pope’s change of focus might even influence U. S. conservative politics.
Saying he identifies with the poor is better than saying he condemns the sinful.