Pope Francis in Brazil: A pontiff with a coherent mind

Pope Francis gives his thumb up during his visit to the St. Francis of Assisi Hospital in Rio de Janeiro's Tijuca neighbourhood, where he will inaugurate a psychiatric ward, on July 24, 2013. Credit: Getty Images
Pope Francis gives a thumbs up during his visit to St. Francis of Assisi Hospital in Rio de Janeiro’s Tijuca neighbourhood, where he will inaugurate a psychiatric ward, on Wednesday.
Credit: Getty Images

Editor’s note: This is an analysis piece by Afonso Soares, a professor of theology at Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo.

Pope Francis’ visit to Brazil has had one important difference to that of his predecessor Benedict XVI in 2007: the current pontiff’s charisma.

A key example was his arrival. Before he had met the authorities, he wanted to greet the people, and has done so from an open Popemobile, despite the cold weather. Another was to celebrate mass at Aparecida, the country’s most important Catholic shrine. Originally, this had not been on the papal itinerary, but this gesture shows an appreciation of the popular religiosity in Brazil.

Francis is a pontiff with a sensible lifestyle and coherent, rational thought – and that’s the difference. Instead of beckoning the youth to the church, he asks for young Catholics to meet other young people, youngsters who may not have access to basic rights like education, health care and even culture.

The exodus of members from the church is undoubtedly not a personal concern for him. It may concern the church administration – that is the Roman Curia in the Vatican – but it is not his. Francis himself insists on the coherence between the person who says they are Catholic and the person who acts Catholic. If the price to pay for that ideology is a decrease in the number of faithful, I am certain he would accept, and even prefer, that way.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.