I am a Catholic. I went to Catholic School from kindergarten to the end of high school. Many Catholic I know have a love-hate relationship with the Church, as even if they go to churches often, they see the Catholic church as one major reason why they are so prosperous today. Let’s remember that for centuries, the Church had done massive things in education, healthcare and charity.
But with time, I became close to being a lapsed Catholic – or if you want a Catholic by tradition. The fact that the church had difficulty reforming, that it accepted for a long time that it was fine abusing children all were examples that made me found the Church toxic.
Having seen him in person, Jean-Paul II was a good pope, mainly because he fought communism and was a massive symbol in Poland against the Stalinist-like dictatorship.
Unlike many people, I was lukewarm with Francis as a pope. He didn’t inspire me much.
Two things that he have done lately had made me change my mind:
The fact that he was the first pope to do a formal outreach to people who are autistic is a splendid initiative. I am autistic and it’s a good start that the Church stops living in the darkness in this subject.
The second thing is the speech he made lately to the European Union. He was incredible. Why? Because he used his position and the quasi-immunity associated with it to piss everyone off. Very few could do that – and he did it in a great matter.
Rather than have a nice little speech saying that everybody is nice and happy and full of platitudes, Francis was able to be critical of the European Union as an institution saying it was bureaucratic and out of touch with the people. This is not unlike the popular opinion of many in Italy and in other European countries.
And yet, as much as the Vatican is also bureaucratic and out of touch with the people, possibly because of his non-European background, Francis was able to reinvigorate the debate on the role, the policies and the powers of the European Union.
This is why that perhaps the UKIP pope will be an interesting pope. It’s still too early to see where he is going, but Francis will be an interesting pope – this is certain.