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The meaning of Pope Franicis


At Jacobin, Colin Wilson scrutinizes the charismatic and enigmatic Pope Francis, who can seem at once like the most radical of religious figures and the most socially conservative of hardliners. Here’s an excerpt:

Altogether, then, Francis is neither radical nor reactionary. In theological, ideological, or PR terms, he presents a papacy with something for everyone, one that can appeal to Catholics be they French fascists campaigning against gay marriage or a working-class American nun running a community center.

In many ways, he is a far more typical religious leader — and a far better one — than uncomplicated reactionaries like Benedict and John Paul II. In a multimedia age — and he has surely appeared more on television than any pope so far — we want to see a contradictory human personality, not a carefully styled politician with a position tested in focus groups. As a White House aide remarked of Francis, “we don’t know what he’s going to say until he says it.”

The ambiguities of religion, described by Marx and typified in Catholicism, lie at the heart of Francis’s considerable appeal.

Image via Jacobin