Pope Francis has done more to resurrect the Catholic Church in his short time at the helm than those who came before him have been able to accomplish. Many are praising this Easter Sunday as a day of their own rebirth as they celebrate the rebirth of Jesus Christ. Catholic leadership has done more to damage the image of the church than any war, law, or policy has created. The Catholic faithful have long felt the need to defend the church under images of child abuse and manipulation. It is hard to argue that Priests and pedophilia has become synonymous in the American psyche. It is a sad fact knowing that the mass majority of Catholic figures have done so much good all over the world. However, none have been able to rebuild the trust of the people like Pope Francis, though some have tried unsuccessfully.
Breaking with traditions that have taken over the Vatican for centuries is exactly what the doctor ordered. Shrugging off the status quo, Francis has humanized the Papal image from one of opulence to one of the people. Calling out against close-minded ideas that have long been interpreted by religious figures, Pope Francis has reconnected separated Catholics with spirituality. In a time that communities have felt nothing less than divisiveness, people the world over are connecting with the words of the new Pope. Christians everywhere are feeling more in touch with the Lord this Easter because of Francis’ leadership. The Pope has washed the feet of the homeless, cast away the luxuries of the Vatican, and stripped the church of the over indulgent. He has delved into the most divisive issues world-wide and broken barriers that have separated the faithful. He represents the people on their level; a level that everyone in every realm can connect with.
Social issues have always separated those raised to believe any sort of liberal attitude is strictly forbidden. Pope Francis has expressed alternate views that have never been part of the church before; one that concedes social causes offer an opportunity to open one’s mind. The theory that Jesus was the ultimate liberal ignites a new passion for followers. Many leave religion because they don’t feel they can live up to the strict standards that religious figures have always insisted upon to their congregation. Priests, nuns, ministers, and religious figures have held followers to the same strict standards they have purported to follow. That is simply not possible in an ever-changing world with people who lead very different lives. Facing difficulties that secluded individuals like Priests and Nuns have never faced tend to lead people on a path of rethinking religious teachings. Those that never faced difficult daily commutes, painful marriages, raising children, and life in a war zone build walls with their holier-than-thou mentality. More often people in society feel the challenge of evil in everyday lives that religious figures simply cannot understand; yet these same figures critique and criticize individuals for allowing bad thoughts to seep in. Pope Francis has freed the hearts and minds of the faithful from the guilt and pain of life; single handily resurrecting the Catholic Church.
On one of the holiest weeks for Christians, churches are over-flowing with the faithful. People are feeling closer to their spirituality because they now recognize a connection with the holy Pontiff and in turn a connection with God. The introduction of Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the world has given people hope. Bergoglio has brought honor on to the Argentine people and peace to the religious. Bergoglio is simply a man, a man who has honored his name and repaired 500 years of damage in a single act of taking the name of Pope Francis and accepting his higher calling. Today as the world celebrates the resurrection of Jesus it can also celebrate the resurrection of itself. The world is far from living up to the standards that Jesus spoke of, but is at the cusp of a rebuilding. A rebuilding of families, a rebuilding of souls, and a rebuilding of minds. Many may not formally rejoin the church, but they will walk a path that will lead to their own salvation. Francis has not only resurrected the Catholic Church, but he’s also resurrected the people. God Bless Pope Francis and may he live long and prosper.
Opinion by Kimberly Beller