These days, Pope Francis is the iconic Pope of the 21st century, with his revolutionary views and assertions on age-old issues that the Catholic Church has contended with, including abortion, civil unions and homosexuality. Because of his non-traditional and forward-facing statements, he has become increasingly popular with both Catholics and Non-Catholics alike.
Pope Francis greets an audience at St. Peter’s Piazza, shortly after being elected last year.
He has been called “Pope of the poor” and has an image of being a superhero who has “taken control of the Vatican, cleaning house and straightening out things that were being ruled by people other than pope.” According to Pew Forum, he has a whopping 85% favorable rating from US Catholics. What does Pope Francis have to say about this? “I’m not a superman.” Apparently, the Pope “disliked the ‘mythology’ of him as a man who could meet all expectations.”
“To depict the pope as a sort of superman, a sort of star, seems offensive to me. The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleepy tranquilly and has friends like everyone else, a normal person.” Apart from having “star” status, the pope has commonly been misunderstood regarding his views on controversial issues. He made it clear that he is not changing the Catholic Church’s stance on artificial birth control, “but going deeper so that pastoral concern takes into account situations and what can be done for people.” The pope restates church doctrine as recognizing marriage as that “between a man and a woman,” and shows understanding for gay civil unions. It has been reported, however, that he has no plans to change doctrine regarding the issue. Reuters writer Philip Pullella asserts “his words in the interview appeared to be a warning to liberals not to expect too much.”
The pope also took the opportunity to defend the church against criticism of how it has handled the sexual abuse scandals that have threatened the Church’s reputation and credulity for years. His main claim, that “no one has done more” on the sexual abuse in the Catholic church was rejected by SNAP (U.S.-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). The UN committee accused the Vatican of “turning a blind eye to decades of sexual abuse of children by priests” in a report last month.