I love the fact that Pope Francis chose to take public transportation every day while he was archbishop in Argentina rather than be driven around in a limousine. He does seem to have a real and concrete desire to be among the common people. Here is a nice piece by Andrew Sullivan, a gay Catholic, on the social significance of riding a bus every day. http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/03/15/the-pope-on-the-bus/. He compares that to the ideals of universal equality that the Catholic Church has always proclaimed.
The key quote: “This is one reason I love Catholicism: its human and cultural catholicity.”
I agree completely. Sullivan and I are both in love with the Church, but also deeply troubled by many of the real and unaddressed failings of the modern Church. We both hope the new Pope will at least begin to address some of these long standing issues. I personally don’t have a whole lot of hope when it comes to addressing the sexual problems within the Church; I think Pope Francis is probably a bit too old and from a different generation to successfully take on this vast and complex moral maze of Catholic sexuality. He can perhaps take a few tentative first steps to true reform. The utter hypocrisy of a Church that vehemently denounces homosexuality while at the same harboring an extensive homosexual subculture of clergy and religious is just one example of an eventually untenable social and moral position.
But as Sullivan and I both understand, the Catholic Church is about one thing in the end, and one thing only: following Jesus Christ. All the pomp and hypocrisy of a hierarchy bumbling through modern sexual issues can never change that.
We should not get too discouraged by any man’s shortcomings, including a pope. They are all fallible beings. But as far as an advocate for the poor, the new Pope undoubtedly will be a great man. I am confident of that!