As the giddiness from Francis' visit wears off over the next few days, consider these appraisals of the man and what he is doing.
Eugenio Scalfari, in "How the Church will change" in La Repubblica (1 October 2013), as translated from Italian to English by Kathryn Wallace
it turns a septuagenarian into a superstar
while revealing almost nothing about the man himself.
hopes that can never be fulfilled, for they are irreconcilable.
The elderly traditionalist who pines for the old Latin Mass
and the devout young woman who wishes she could be a priest both have hopes.
The ambitious monsignor in the Vatican Curia
and the evangelizing deacon in a remote Filipino village
both have hopes.
No Pope can make them all happy at once.
The five words that have come to define both the promise and the limits of Francis’ papacy
came in the form of a question: “Who am I to judge?”
Many assumed Francis, with those words, was changing church doctrine.
who had been repelled by their church or its emphasis on strict dos and don’ts.
He won’t wear the shoes. He doesn’t bait the gays, or hound the nuns,
or call Mohammed “evil and inhuman,”
or fear the mean-girl Vatican cardinals whose solid gold multi-millennium party
he’s so genially wrecking.
Instead Pope Francis spends his days publicly worrying about social justice,
calling attention to the problems of runaway capitalism, and entreating people to be decent to one another.
Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of the American Humanist Association, as quoted in "Leading Atheist: Pope Francis “Is The Kind Of World Leader We Need”" by Joe Keohane, at Esquire (12 September 2013)
I continue to be pleased with what Francis is talking about and his openness —
despite papal authorities’ attempts to retract his statements. …
He’s offering very universal ideas —
not closing the door and saying you have to be a Catholic in order for good things to happen.
This is the kind of world leader that we need in a position of power
that the pope has if we want hope for a more universal community. …
Had he been rigid and conservative in his approach,
I think he really would have kept pushing on the backs of those who were ready to flee the church.
So what he’s doing gives some solace
to those who are a little more progressive,
which is a growing number in the church.
It gives a chance for those folks to remain involved.
I think that from a Catholic standpoint
he’s doing the right thing.
He’s doing pretty much all he can do for the good of the Catholic Church.