Pope Francis, According To Paul Baumann

Writing in the Wall Street Journal last Saturday — and riffing off something the novelist Walker Percy supposedly said — Paul Baumann noted that the next pope “should be a bit of a Californian.”

Paul Baumann

Paul Baumann

By that, Baumann– editor of Commonweal (the oldest independent lay-edited Catholic opinion journal in the US), and a 1969 Staples graduate — meant that Rome must be willing “to think anew about once settled understandings of sexual morality and about how the church is governed.”

The future, Baumann wrote 4 days before a new pope was selected,

will surprise us as much as Benedict XVI’s resignation did. Rome should prepare to be joyously surprised by what is new, for that is what the church’s founder promised.

So was Baumann surprised — joyously or otherwise — by the choice of Pope Francis?

Not completely.

“It looks as though the cardinals went with a colleague they felt they knew well,” the Commonweal editor said of the runner-up at the previous conclave.

“Pope Francis appears to be very conservative theologically, much in the manner of John Paul II. His election is another reminder of how insular the hierarchy remains, but that should not be much of a surprise either.”

So what does Francis’s election mean for local Catholics? “Steady as she goes, I imagine,” the Westport native said.

However, he added, “the new pope’s emphasis on the problems of the poor might mean that American Catholics generally will be asked to do more on social justice issues.”


6 responses to “Pope Francis, According To Paul Baumann

  1. The Pope needs a Guru if any meaningful change is to take place. A bunch of old celibate men insulated since high school wearing Cone Heads from Saturday Night Live ain’t gonna change much or attract new converts, however well intentioned. They need a radical, but radicals quit. They still help millions, but the grand old days are long gone…no money, schools closing, number of priests in decline…maybe just a phase?

    Hope I didn’t offend anyone, me being an Altar Boy way back in the good old days. 🙂

    • Westport Delight

      “me being an Altar Boy way back in the good old days.” It all makes sense now…

      • Wait ! I take it all back…just heard Francis [Xavier] is a Jesuit…I had 8 Jesuit years at Fordham…maybe he will make a difference ! Let’s hope so. Also, he’s a RAT in Chinese Astrology; and a Sagittarius. Good omens 😉

  2. Westport Catholic

    Tom, you jumped to a conclusion. Lets give it time to unfold. Change is good assumptions are not.

  3. Phat Ol Fill

    Tom gets the 4 star snarky award.

    What I (not being Catholic) don’t get is this: All the clergy take a vow of poverty, chastity and obedience. I would think that protecting children would be right behind the trinity of vows. Bishops threaten to ex-communicate politicians who dare vote for reproductive rights. A pedophile priest should be drawn and quartered (literally). But they are protected and transferred. Doesn’t chastity mean ALL kinds of sex? I remember my Catholic friends getting yelled at for jerking off. Compare the uproar over Penn State (and the NCAA penalties) for ONE pedophile with the church (hundreds/thousands).

  4. U. Zooelly N. Trouble

    If it didn’t have a billion followers (every one of them guilty of something) it would be laughed out of town. At least this guy never took up arms for the Third Reich.