We’re about a week into the new Pope’s tenure, and so far I am impressed. Every one of his gestures—from refusing the traditional fancy-Pope garb to giving Mass yesterday in one of the Vatican’s (relatively) small chapels, rather than St. Peter’s—has emphasized humility. Apparently, he has said that he wants “a church that is poor and is for the poor.”
And while he’s on record towing the orthodox line on issues of gay rights and human sexuality, one has to be encouraged by any pope who can say this:
“We have to avoid the spiritual sickness of a self-referential church. It’s true that when you get out into the street, as happens to every man and woman, there can be accidents. However, if the church remains closed in on itself, self-referential, it gets old. Between a church that suffers accidents in the street, and a church that’s sick because it’s self-referential, I have no doubts about preferring the former.”
A recognition that the church can have “accidents”? There are some radical sentiments in that quote. At the very least, I’ll be listening to what Pope Francis has to say.