The Personalist Project

Accessed on February 21, 2020 - 5:21:16

Interpreting the Pope through personalism

Katie van Schaijik, Nov 05, 2014

When an editor at the National Catholic Register asked me to write an article expanding on my short post about the Synod, I came up with a long list of Pope Francis's words and themes that strike me as conspicuously personalist. I wanted to show, pace the anxieties of the traditionalists, how consistent he is with his two great predecessors, and really with all the post-conciliar popes.

I only managed to develop one of those points: the emphasis on receptivity. I never got to the way he proposes love and service in place of the power dynamics of the fall; the way he focuses on the affirmation of the good as opposed to condemnation of the bad; I hardly mentioned the imagery of embodiment, the importance of vulnerability, and so forth.

But I at least said something to indicate how misunderstood I think he has been, and why this is bad, not just for the Church as a whole, but for our own souls. The Pope is asking for a response of love and faith, and too many are instead responding with scorn and skepticism. This is spiritual poison.