US could prove tough audience for Pope Francis
#1
From the Financial Times:

Quote:Pope Francis’ election in 2013 to lead the Catholic Church stirred hope among American Catholics that his humble style, reformist plans and new world roots might revive the church’s fortunes in the US.

But more than two years later, Americans — and especially conservatives — appear to have cooled on the 78-year-old Argentine pontiff ahead of a highly-anticipated September visit.

A new Gallup poll showed that Pope Francis’ favourability rating among Americans has dropped to 59 per cent, from 76 per cent in February 2014. This is below the levels recorded by Pope John Paul II throughout most of his papacy – although it is still broadly better than his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.

'cause polls matter, don't ya know...

Quote:The apparent disenchantment follows an escalation in recent months in the Pope’s rhetoric against global capitalism.

On a trip to Latin America this month, he called unfettered free markets the “dung of the devil” and a “subtle dictatorship”, and in last month’s encyclical — the highest form of papal teaching — excoriated big business for plundering nature.

Like Francis is the first Pope to ever call Capitalism onto the carpet.

Quote:The Pope’s call to action on climate change has also proven awkward for Republican politicians who still question the science behind global warming.

“There is no doubt that the US is a particularly tough audience for this Pope’s message,” said John Allen, associate editor of Crux, a Boston-based Catholic website. “In some ways there is a perception that this just isn’t our Pope . . . It’s not just the anti-capitalist stuff — it’s also his drive to lift up the periphery rather than the centre, and by most standards we are the centre.”

Crux is the center? Crux?!?!?!  If that's the center of American Catholicism then we are in much worse shape than I thought.

Quote:One recent image — of the Pope receiving a hammer-and-sickle crucifix as a gift from left-wing populist Bolivian president Evo Morales this month — may have been particularly jarring to the many Americans who are instinctively wary of, if not repulsed by, socialism.

“With the Polish John Paul II and the German Benedict XVI, conservatives knew that the Vatican was utterly opposed to communism,” says Catherine Pepinster, editor of The Tablet, the international Catholic weekly based in the UK. “But they aren’t so sure about Francis; they worry that his Latin American roots make him a liberation theologian, a covert lefty.”

Mary Gauthier, senior researcher at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, questioned the poll’s significance. “It’s probably statistically significant but it’s not a major shift in any sense,” she said. “I think you’re going to see the numbers shoot back up in September when he [the Pope] comes . . . because everybody will be excited.”

The Catholic Church has been trying to reverse the long-term decline in its US flock. Between 2007 and 2014, it fell by 3m to about 51m — or 20.8 per cent of the population — according to the Pew Research Center.

The fate of Catholicism in America is not just important because of the sheer numbers of faithful, which are comparable to the number of Catholics in Italy, but because US Catholics are a big source of funding for the Church’s charitable activities and organisations around the world.

So, we're a faith-based NGO now?

Quote:While most of the disappointment seems to be flaring among US conservatives — where Pope Francis’ favourability has plummeted from 72 per cent to 45 per cent — liberals are also less enthusiastic. Support for the pontiff from left-leaning Americans has dropped from 82 per cent to 68 per cent in the Gallup poll, released last week, possibly because he has not moved quickly enough to ease the Church’s rigid

[Image: free-rolleye-smileys-725.gif]

Quote:attitude on homosexuality, divorce, and female priesthood.

Vatican officials dismiss the polls and say the Pope is looking forward to the September visit — the first known trip to the US of his life — which will take him to Washington, New York and Philadelphia.

“This isn’t the White House and it isn’t the Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush campaign — we don’t sit around and say things are going down, we need a tax cut for the middle class,” said one senior Vatican official. “The Pope is Catholic, he’s not of the right and he’s not of the left. For every point you can score on the right, you can score one on the left, and if he bothers your conscience it just means he’s doing his job,” the official said.

Not quite the way I would have put it, but close enough for Vatican work.

Quote:Nevertheless, the Vatican official also signalled that the Pope — who has been brushing up on his English and preparing for the US trip during the hot Roman summer — might fine-tune his language, ever so slightly, to make it more appealing to Americans. “There’s no doubt he will challenge Americans, he’s not going there to play nice,” he said. “But it’s not the same as going to Bolivia — you couldn’t go with precisely the same message,” he added.

Mr Allen of Crux believes that once Pope Francis arrives on US soil, much of the debate about his falling popularity will ease amid the large crowds and positive media coverage, so the American visit will still end up being a significant success.

“I don’t think this is going to torpedo his trip in any fundamental way, the question is more long term,” says Mr Allen. “Is there a segment of the American population who has basically decided to tune out this Pope [because] they think they know what he’s about, and they don’t really like it?”

There's a lot of truth in that statement...
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#2
Don't you love when religiously illiterate journalists (vide my signature for what I think about them) talk about the Catholic Church?

This Allen fella has his head in the clouds. He talks about the pope raising the periphery and saying America is the center. Well, no, America is not the center and the Church does not divide itself in the American political spectrum. And no, the world is not full of leftists happy with the pope, the only opposition coming from America (haven't we learned anything at the last Synod?).

That blasphemy that happened in Bolivia (yes, BLASPHEMY!) was not sickening to just Americans. Almost every single faithful Catholic was disgusted by it. Even the priests who went mad and are defending every single thing that comes out of the mouth of the pope said we should simply look the other way and not try to explain it.

EDIT: by the way, its not JPII and BXVI who were anti-communists. Its The Catholic Church who is anti-communist. The decrees confirmed even by JXXIII were not made invalid by the new code of canon law since they are not laws in the strict sense but are merely an explanation of a fact: if one adheres to communism one is an apostate, so one is outside the Church. Yes, friends, Wikipedia is wrong.
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#3
I find it funny how they talk about how unpopular Benedict XVI was compared to John Paul II and Francis. I LOVED Pope Benedict. The day he was elected, a classmate mentioned in passing that a German had been elected Pope.  I went the fastest I'd ever been across my college campus to get back to my dorm room to check the news.  It was one of the happiest days of my life- second only to the day I became Catholic (which had happened two years earlier to the day).  I think his lack of popularity is an indicator that he did something right.
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#4
(07-28-2015, 05:08 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote: Don't you love when religiously illiterate journalists (vide my signature for what I think about them) talk about the Catholic Church?

This Allen fella has his head in the clouds. He talks about the pope raising the periphery and saying America is the center. Well, no, America is not the center and the Church does not divide itself in the American political spectrum. And no, the world is not full of leftists happy with the pope, the only opposition coming from America (haven't we learned anything at the last Synod?).

That blasphemy that happened in Bolivia (yes, BLASPHEMY!) was not sickening to just Americans. Almost every single faithful Catholic was disgusted by it. Even the priests who went mad and are defending every single thing that comes out of the mouth of the pope said we should simply look the other way and not try to explain it.

EDIT: by the way, its not JPII and BXVI who were anti-communists. Its The Catholic Church who is anti-communist. The decrees confirmed even by JXXIII were not made invalid by the new code of canon law since they are not laws in the strict sense but are merely an explanation of a fact: if one adheres to communism one is an apostate, so one is outside the Church. Yes, friends, Wikipedia is wrong.

I don't think "the center" in this case refers to the center of the political center, but rather the center of attention.  John Paul II and Benedict XVI thought very highly of the United States.  They saw that it has a lot of potential to impact both the Church and the world for good.  Pope John Paul II, who spent most of his life under Nazism and Communism, thought very highly of the relative economic, personal, and religious liberty enjoyed in the United States. Benedict XVI, who, for decades, saw the various doctrinal challenges that were being made by various people, recognized both the danger of certain American theological ideas and the strength and goodness in those Americans who resisted them (Cdl. Burke, for example, as well as many of the lay evangelists the U.S. has offered the Church).  Pope Francis seems to focus his attention very heavily on the economic third world, but there is also a great need to address the spiritual poverty of the economic first world (the second as well, though to a lesser degree), which I call the spiritual third world.
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#5
Well, the USA is a major nation, certainly. But the Church doesn't fall into the form of the American mind, and that's my point: the Church is neither conservative nor liberal, in the American sense of these terms. And contrary to American liberals the USA is not the only nation in the world that has conservative/orthodox Catholics. I'd even be surprised if America has the most orthodox bishops, proportionally (I imagine the nations in Eastern Europe are the ones to boast of this).

Frankly, I think (and this is my opinion as a mere layman) pope Francis is actually doing a lot of harm with his focus on economy, especially in Latin America. One can't even say he doesn't know what he's talking about—no, he is aligning himself with some pretty bad folks here.
My opinion is that this papacy will be a low point of the office.
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#6
(07-28-2015, 06:19 PM)Credidi Propter Wrote: I find it funny how they talk about how unpopular Benedict XVI was compared to John Paul II and Francis. I LOVED Pope Benedict. The day he was elected, a classmate mentioned in passing that a German had been elected Pope.  I went the fastest I'd ever been across my college campus to get back to my dorm room to check the news.  It was one of the happiest days of my life- second only to the day I became Catholic (which had happened two years earlier to the day).  I think his lack of popularity is an indicator that he did something right.

I wasn't too fond of Pope Benedict, for frivolous reasons, but when compared to Pope Francis he''s outright amazing.
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#7
(07-28-2015, 06:19 PM)Credidi Propter Wrote: I find it funny how they talk about how unpopular Benedict XVI was compared to John Paul II and Francis. I LOVED Pope Benedict. The day he was elected, a classmate mentioned in passing that a German had been elected Pope.  I went the fastest I'd ever been across my college campus to get back to my dorm room to check the news.  It was one of the happiest days of my life- second only to the day I became Catholic (which had happened two years earlier to the day).  I think his lack of popularity is an indicator that he did something right.

That's exactly what I think! However you feel about BXVI, I think we can all agree that he really gave everything that he could, and to the best of his ability. He strikes me so much more human and humble than these super-star popes, and obviously the media finds that humility boring. Why is it not even questioned if being 'popular' is even a good thing? In the cases of Diana an Amy Winehouse, we saw that 'popularity' was a kind of curse, that turned us into shameless and spiteful voyeurs, and eventually contributed to their downfalls, even deaths. Is this the kind of thing we want for our popes? I bet the 'communism crucifix' came out precisely because the cameras were rolling. It's kind of like assassination, except instead of killing the target, they are just made to look incredibly stupid instead.

And, like a lot of you have already said, he's going about this in the wrong way. If you want change in the way things are run economically, you have to go to the people who run it at the top. Francis should be preaching to those in first world about how they can change their policies to be more Christian and less exploitative. Because it's the lack of faith and Christianity that's behind these abuses in the first place.
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