(This post was intended to be published in February 2016. For some reason that did not happen, but I still would like to share it with you.)
Al Kresta was speaking with someone recently about the in-flight interviews that Pope Francis does with news reporters (many ignorant or hostile to the gospel). He endures these exclusive, intense, merciless interviews on late-night flights on the way home after an exhaustive week in another country. The man is 80 years old. The questions are asked in multiple languages without an interpreter, and they are always about ‘hot-button’ issues, sometimes purposely intended to get him to make a mistake and say something ‘news-worthy.’ And as soon as he says it, it is immediately mis-quoted, taken out of context, and shared with the entire world.
The Catholic world goes into a tizzy when he does this. Our Holy father has truly thrown us for a loop. Many people are upset at his actions; his words can seem careless, confusing people, giving the enemy ammunition against us… Dear Pope Francis, what are you doing?! You’re messing everything up!!
I’ve never been very alarmed at his actions. I can see why his critics are upset. The Pope must be careful to be precise and thorough at all times, safeguarding the reputation and authority of the office, as a position of great significance – he is close to Christ, and is the visible head of His body on earth. He has the charism of Infallibility… stop messing up or they won’t take us or our message seriously!
But the Holy Spirit put him here at this point in time for a reason. He’s not done or said anything contrary to Church teaching, and he’s a fearless witness to love. He’s the successor of Peter, not Jesus. Jesus said and did everything perfectly. Jesus is God. Popes are Not God.
I only know two things about Pope Francis: 1) He is human. 2) He leads by example.
That he would subject himself to such peril is fascinating to me. For someone as timid as me, this decision of his is incredibly dangerous. Under those torturous conditions he’s pretty much guaranteed to say something wrong, or incomplete, or without enough mercy, or without enough knowledge. Which is EXACTLY the kind of thing us wimpy New Evangelization Neophytes need! How many of us simply don’t engage in any faith discussion because we doubt our knowledge and persuasive abilities? Let’s have a show of hands!
Yep, I thought so…
Do you see what he’s doing? If the Pope can make mistakes in faith conversations, so can you! Don’t be afraid to get right in the down and dirty world and try to bring light. If you make a mistake, or they misunderstand, or they trick you and use your words against you, it’s okay. God is bigger than all of it. Do not be afraid.