Dionne on Pope Francis

e.j. dionneWell, if I’m going to post on everything significant news story and commentary about Pope Francis in the coming week, I’ll be busy and your RSS feeds will be clogged up with another Pray Tell post every half hour. I’ve resolved not to do this, and Pray Tell’s extensive coverage this week will focus mostly on the liturgical celebrations.

But this commentary by E.J. Dionne at WaPo is so spot-on, so balanced and also challenging, that I simply must call your attention to it: “Pope Francis’s actions speak louder than his words.” Here’s a taste of the general argument, minus the specific points:

A danger for all of us in the column business is that we’ll look for political meaning in Pope Francis’s big speeches and ignore what he does while he’s here.

Yes, his words will matter, and Francis will have an enormous impact both on American politics and on politics inside a divided American Catholic Church. …

But seeing Francis only as a player in our political fights is misleading. To begin with, he is — both spiritually and politically — far more radical than most Americans, including most liberals. …

My friend Father Tom Reese has observed that Francis “preaches the Gospel, not the catechism.” That the Gospel is radical will take many people aback — and challenging our assumptions is what Francis is here to do.

Go read the whole thing at WaPo.

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