Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

The best appraisal of this pontificate on its 1st anniversary

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Mar 13, 2014

Among the many articles that I have seen assessing the first year of this pontificate and attempting to explain the unusual appeal of Pope Francis, my favorite is this one by Father Bernardo Cervellera, the director of the AsiaNews service. A missionary priest and a veteran Vatican observer, Father Cervellera has a valuable perspective on the “Francis effect.”

The whole piece is worth reading, and I wouldn’t want to discourage readers from doing that by saying too much about the contents. So I’ll just mention a few of the salient points:

  • Pope Francis is the “ripest fruit of the Second Vatican Council…”
  • The “hermeneutic of rupture” is wrong—whether it’s applied to a reading of Vatican II or to the differences, real and imagined, between Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.
  • Too many people read the Pope’s words through the distorting lens of some ideology, whether of the left or right.
  • The Pope himself is non-ideological; he is promoting “an encounter with Christ himself.”

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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