Here is what I think Pope Francis is up to.This post raises all sorts of good talking points. Too many for Good Friday night. One that comes to mind however, is that the chief problem with our "not succeeding in evangelizing" is not so much our lack of good public relations icons to put a compassionate spin on the Catholic public image, so much as a failure to evangelize. Witness the total collapse of Catholic missions over the last half-century.
In this explanation I am not necessarily endorsing specific things that he is doing (washing the feet of females in a prison) or not doing (refusing the mozzetta, etc.).
... Before liberals and traditionalists both have a spittle-flecked nutty, each for their own reasons, try to figure out what he is trying to do.
Firstly, we are not succeeding in evangelizing. We are going backwards, globally....
In the wealthy west, the Church is often perceived (and it is so very often portrayed) as not being compassionate. The Church doesn’t care about women in crisis pregnancies (and therefore we don’t condone abortion or contraception because we are not “compassionate”. The Church doesn’t care about the divorced and remarried (because we don’t admit them to Holy Communion and therefore we are not “compassionate”).
I think what Pope Francis is up to is trying to project, re-project, is an image of the Church as compassionate.
... I’ll wager that, as a Jesuit, Francis doesn’t care about liturgy very much. He is just not into – one whit – either what traditional liturgy types or what liturgical liberals want....
Francis wants priests to talk to people and find out what they need and get involved in their daily struggles. Liturgy, for Francis, seems to be involved precisely in that. Do I think Francis may be missing huge points in this approach? Sure, right now I do. But I am leaving the jury out.
I don’t have to 100% embrace what Francis is doing even as I struggle to see and understand what I [think he] is up to.
What would it require for us to begin evangelizing in earnest? Changed lives, souls converted to our Lord and Lady through the heart of Christ's Church. Cleaning house. Letting go all those whom our former Pope Benedict called "professional Catholics," those sacramentalized pagans who inhabit administrative positions in the Church with no shred of personal faith, along with DRE's, Catholic university and seminary professors who dissent from Church teaching and exhibit no personal enthusiasm for the propagation of The Catholic Faith or salvation of souls.
If hearts were converted to the Catholic Faith, compassion would follow and there would be little need for public relations undertakings for shows of compassion. On the other hand, there is little guarantee that shows of compassion will necessarily yield a harvest of Catholic Faith.