Why you need a Pope Francis in your life | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Except for a friend who chose to fly out to Hong Kong to sit out the papal visit, I don’t know of anyone else who isn’t ebullient about the coming of Pope Francis to the Philippines, or isn’t interested in it, at the very least. It’s as if this very public event is bringing a personal milestone to each person’s life, no matter one’s religion or atheism or agnosticism.


It could be because Pope Francis—the social media Pope—has turned the papacy into a very personal matter for multitudes of people worldwide. This is one pope you not only can identify with, it’s as if you also own him. He’s all yours and represents what you want to be, indeed, what you want in life.

At a time when stress rules your life and when uncertainty, if not hardship and violence, rules the world outside, there’s a Pope Francis who gives you a feeling of security, a sense of right, even love. This pope has successfully conveyed that message even to the most jaded, cynical person out there—from the most powerful to the downtrodden, from the rich to the poor, from a winner to a loser, especially a loser.

In this day and age, the more successful or powerful or wealthy you are, the more alienated you feel. The Internet or the mobile phone—indeed, the technology of connectivity—has a way of making more pronounced a person’s sense of alienation, especially in the city, in a life on the fast lane.

The oddest thing is how today’s cynical and materialistic generation, including the corporate rat racers, has come to embrace Pope Francis and appropriate him as its inspiration.

Pope Francis has come to represent a friend you need in life—something one never thought one could say of a structured institution like the Catholic Church. To the surprise of many, the Catholic Church has allowed social media to give the public a glimpse of the Pope’s ordinariness, indeed human-ness. A tyke tugging at the Pope’s habit. A pope joining the cafeteria queue. A pope watching the World Cup with the Swiss Guards (he could root for a team?). Never has a leader’s character been conveyed so lucidly and powerfully through social media, as in the case of Pope Francis.

As a result, you and Pope Francis are tight—or so you feel. And a Pope Francis is exactly what you need at this point in your life because:

He is a good man. And his is a goodness that is doable. Just Google his New Year’s resolutions. He restores your faith in the goodness of men—something that some jerks in your life tried to take away.

He is simple. There’s a photo of him with his trainers peeking out from under his priestly garb. If you feel lost and deprived amid the tsunami of brands you can’t afford, yet lust for, this image of Pope Francis is an instant cure to your addiction.

He doesn’t condemn gays to hell. This is comforting because your best friends are all gays.

He is merciful and compassionate. It’s good to have someone who understands why you have sinned.

He is turned off by corporate politics. Read his message to cardinals and priests and you suddenly feel you have an ally in your corporate jungle.

He doesn’t like to see his face on billboards and tarps. He wants Christ’s face on them instead. To a generation reared in an environment misshapen by trapos, this is Christ-sent.

He doesn’t preach; he talks to you instead. This is something you wish your parent did to you, and wish you could do as a parent.

With him, the poor, the downtrodden and the anguished come first. At certain points in your life, you’re one or the other, or all of the above.

He’s got your back. You feel protected—even if he hasn’t even met you. As one kid said in an Inquirer Lifestyle interview, “Pope Francis would go from classroom to classroom to say hi!” You leap beyond belief, into faith.

He is cool. Like you.

He’s only a tweet away. Just like the friend you stalk.

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