Conservative Catholics' disappointment in Pope Francis has been discussed for a while now, but as for any subject, its appearance on the front page of The New York Times has a way of raising its profile.
My reaction to reading Laurie Goodstein's article today is that the wave of good feeling toward Pope Francis may well turn out to be a wasted opportunity for the U.S. Catholic Church. In addition to the bloggers and activists quoted in the article, even some bishops greeted his recent interviews with grumbling. They and other conservative critics of the pope should realize that they've been handed a great opening for evangelization.
When was the last time the church in the U.S. had such a chance to reach out to lapsed and alienated Catholics?
I would venture that the pope's popularity is an opportunity for the pro-life movement as well. Its message has a much better chance to achieve a true majority if it is linked to the broader range of priorities the pope has been talking about. As one activist quoted in the article notes, the pope has not sold out the pro-life movement.
I am interested to hear if you've noticed any effective follow-up on the parish or diocesan level to the warm public response to Pope Francis's interviews.
Paul Moses, a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College/CUNY, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015).