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

If the Church becomes like him and becomes what he wants it to be, it will be an epochal change.

 The papacy is mysterious and magical:

it turns a septuagenarian into a superstar

while revealing almost nothing about the man himself.

And it raises hopes in every corner of the world

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.

Instead, he was merely changing its tone, searching for a pragmatic path to reach the faithful

who had been repelled by their church or its emphasis on strict dos and don’ts.


Joe Keohane, in "Leading Atheist: Pope Francis “Is The Kind Of World Leader We Need”" at Esquire (12 September 2013)

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.


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Comment by James Mark Emmerling on September 27, 2015 at 5:21pm

From Norman O. Brown, LOVE"S BODY

iicorinthians iii, 6: the letter killeth

but the spirit giveth life. Literal meanings against spiritual or symbolic interpretations , a matter of Death against life.

The return to symbolism, the rediscovery that everything is symbolic

It is raised a spiritual or symbolic body; the awakening of the symbolical life of the body.

Comment by JMac1949 Today on September 27, 2015 at 5:39pm

As Anti-Pope James I, I suggest that you write an encyclical about how "the spirit giveth life," that can provide Francis I some insight as to how to reconcile the hopes and possibilities of his diverse congregation.  Start with Dan Savage's reflections on the life and death of his mother:


Your ever Faithful Servant and Consigliere, JMac

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on September 27, 2015 at 6:02pm

pope francis:

The identifiication of god's word with scripture,

the written or printed page,

somewhat to the neglect of the word made flesh.

the book is a materialization of the spirit; instead of the living spirit, the worship of a new material idol, the book.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on September 27, 2015 at 6:04pm

Antipapal observations:

There is another kind of protestantism possible; a dionysian christianity.

in which the scripture is a dead letter to be made alive by spiritual (symbolical ) interpretations.

in which meaning is not fixed

but ever new and changing in a continuous revelation by fresh outpouring of the holy spirit.

Comment by JMac1949 Today on September 27, 2015 at 6:07pm

Good start, keep going.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on September 27, 2015 at 6:10pm

more from norman brown:

instead of a living spirit,

possession by the dead.

the fetishism of the document.

Comment by koshersalaami on September 27, 2015 at 9:12pm
Interesting guy. Very good one
Comment by nerd cred on September 27, 2015 at 10:58pm

Great compilation, James. I still fear that the adulation of the pope signifies and paves the way back to adoration of the church - the church subbing for God.

jmac - how do you find these things? Thanks for this one and I'm so glad Dan Savage is in the world.

Comment by Arthur James on September 28, 2015 at 4:14am


James Mark E. Yo-e!

If Ya's asked my Margaret?

JME! Yo pee on toilet seat?

Respond ` YO-E. it can mean

yes or no. ` Blame Con C.?

Just accuse ` Yogi Bear-e-oh.


Begin new Ohio ` Red Dress Code.

Din Red Flappy ` Cardinal Red Hat.

I ( cc ) to Pope a ` Hole See A-Saps.

Local Baptist can ` Use on Sundays.

God and Pope no ` Ever did Married.

Yo -good Response ` It Safe Answer.

Yo - half way wit a ` Between Yes/no.

Atheist Hindus do a ` Not Believe Yo.

They Disbelieve in a ` 1,001 Deities.

Maybe Rita ?

She Missing -

Sing a Miles Davis Song at Vatican soon.

Play Bob Dylan's - Love Minus Zero/No

Limit. Pope go to - ? Barn and ride Mule.

Pope need to smell - ? Ride a Camel too.

If Pope smells JME - ? He think Ya's Bear?

You and Pope gulp - ? Cold beer with Rita.

I get Symbol confused - ! I read F.R.O.G.?

Pope?  Fully Reliant on God - F.R.O.G. Yo.

We need a shuffling Pope - A Song, O Yo.

Play Geetars, Banjos, Flute - Yo Purdy Yo.

Rita sing Yo to Pope a Song - Lullaby Yo.


Bye Pope.

Pope sip

Beer in




JME Play a

Old Organ

Grinder Yo



( cc ) to




Amish sing 


No goat



O Yo.


Comment by DaisyJane on September 28, 2015 at 9:14am

jmac - i watched dan, very good story he told.

james, i love this pope. i just leave it at that.  but i did hear some awesome new words:  popenado and ponterrific being the best of them!


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