What I hope for Pope Francis

Hey, 7QT folks, I accidentally put this link in instead of the right one, because it’s too early for me to do things correctly. My 7QT is actually here. Sorry about that!

This isn’t in any particular order. And I had these in mind before Francis was chosen, but they remain true even with his election. So far, I like the guy, as I noted quickly after his election, and here’s what I hope he gives us:

So far, so good.

1. Someone with practical leadership ability, not just spiritual leadership ability

JPII was a great teacher and pastor, but a skunky administrator. It was under his watch that the sexual abuse crisis broke, but he was unable to deal with it as he took ill (a reason that, though I don’t doubt he is a saint, I would prefer that his canonization process take a very long time). Many of his bishop selections also stunk. But the good ones he made were very good. Benedict did better in dealing with the sexual abuse crisis, and he picked better bishops, but dealing with the Curia certainly factored into his retirement.

Practical leadership ability is vital, because even though Catholic teaching doesn’t depend on the personal holiness of the people delivering said teachings, Church teachings and authority are undermined in so many people’s minds by those who teach one thing and do another. The new pope will need to be able to root out corruption and combat the bureaucratic issues that snagged JPII and Benedict.

2. Continue to build Church teachings, especially on relevant modern issues

The anti-Catholic grouches (and worse, anti-Catholic Catholic grouches — those who claim to be Catholic but then rail against, um, everything in the Church) have been out in full force, DEMANDING! that the Church change its position on certain issues that you probably can all guess. I submit this thought to them and you: any faith that changes its teachings based on public opinion is not worth following. Instead, the last few popes have developed Church thinking on these issues, to boost their intellectual and philosophical grounding. But very few Catholics know — or understand — that a lot of actual thought, beyond the Bible, goes into

3. Be moderate on church music.

There is a place for a lot of diversity in church music, and though I’m delighted that a lot of traditional stuff such as chant is being rediscovered, I have to acknowledge that a: not everyone matches my tastes and b: it’s not written in Church law that everyone has to like more traditionally minded stuff. We know what Benedict preferred, and he was much more traditional than JPII on the liturgy, to the delight of Extraordinary Form fans. All fine and dandy. But we can’t mistake taste preferences (even if we agree with them) with edicts from on high. Benedict, you will note, led by example but not decree. And though I think my tastes are closer to his, CCM is largely unsuitable for Mass and I am fine with chant on occasion, I think the latitude the Church gives on music is much wiser than traditionalists will admit.

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