This brief article was written by our very own Janet Hauter and was submitted to the Washington Post for their inclusion in their “Acts of Faith” section….reyanna
By Janet Hauter Mary 11, 2016
Pope Francis is a unique individual and a revolutionary pontiff. Many see him as a “rock star” because of his style buttressed up against the way pontiffs of the past have behaved. He models a lived faith, a Gospel faith that rarely requires words. His behavior exemplifies Gospel values and breathes life into a faith that previously focused on rules and their enforcement. I must confess early on that I am an unabashed “Francis groupie”. Born Catholic I’ve experienced a number of popes but none have touched me like this one.
Francis is both a simple man with simple personal needs and an intensely complex man with a clear understanding of what is wrong with the institutional Church he has set out to rebuild. He is doing this by modeling and inviting all to consider the fact that the Church must be about the primacy of relationships. After all, Scripture is all about relationships, the problems associated with relationships, the joys, pain and healing of them. He thrives among the people and it brings attention to his compassionate heart.
Institutionally he faces an embedded power paradigm with a focus on rules, their reinforcement accompanied by punitive consequences. Changing that paradigm is bringing many into a new awareness that under Francis we are evolving toward a Church of love rather than a Church of laws. Looking at both sides of that evolutionary coin brings a new rival consciousness: the people applaud this trend while the hierarchy have nearly everything to lose and their skill sets do not accommodate. They have the potential of losing a lifestyle of opulence and privilege.