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What of This Pope?

Updated on September 30, 2015

Basic classic photo of a painting.

Sometimes the familiar is awfully comfortable. Good or bad, I don't really care.
Sometimes the familiar is awfully comfortable. Good or bad, I don't really care. | Source

I love the Dali Lama.

I also love Buddha and Tewa the Hopi Sun God. (you can spell it Tawa) And Mother Earth. Okay I admit it; I love puppy dogs and clear mountain mornings and ocean sunsets too. I am not Catholic but I would love to just wrap my arms around that little Pope fella and give him hugs and invite him home for some Pho'. My wife would be all giddy with excitement and I am sure some lame fool would take a selfie with him. Does anyone have a problem with that?

Some five days ago we were asked to write a piece on the Pope. So I made sure I did not watch any TV about him or listen to him directly on the radio or look up what he was saying on the internet. Before you jump to any empirical judgments let me explain what we did. We asked a whole bunch of people what they thought and felt about the Pope's visit to America. Perhaps you find that a strange way to report on the Pope. So be it. But in years of study of the ecclesiastic, miracles, faith and religion we have found that second hand accounts and impact on people is a far better thermometer or barometer of spiritual "things". It is kind of like this; spiritual cannot be studied under a microscope it must be felt. Logical stuff just does not lay a realistic foundation for the spiritualistic areas.

The point about loving spiritual leaders and gods of all sorts that we went into above was to illustrate that a person bound in one faith, in my case Jesus, can still love and honor and learn from spiritual leaders and gods from another. Feelings and the spiritual are not linear or logical. Really try as they might religions cannot build walls that prevent us from feeling all warm and fuzzy about something outside the program.

Sorry to anyone who has a religious bone to pick with Il Pappa but the overwhelming verdict is in. Us 'mericans love the Pope. He makes us feel good. He gets us talking about God. He gets us talking about all kinds of love. Shucks being the devious dog that I am, I caught on and said a bunch of really great things about him to my wife and she got all amorous with me. This guy makes us be better people to our brothers and sisters. This is not my opinion this is what I observed. From barber to cop, from teacher to boss, from children to grandparents and from gangster to parishioner the Pope affected us positively.

Now about some issues.

Strange song to put in this article? Perhaps, but perhaps a word of caution is appropriate.

If we can find beauty in a flower, then why not in the ultimate flower?

Maybe just maybe we can look to another person for the inspiration to have more compassion.
Maybe just maybe we can look to another person for the inspiration to have more compassion. | Source

Spiritual King?

The Pope parades around like a king. Sorry if you find that offensive. Usually when this fact is mentioned it is met with a somewhat visceral response. It brings out either an immediate defense or it brings out some distasteful running down of the office of Pope. That is alright as it reminds us that feelings about the Pope are just that -- feelings. We as a race seem enamored of pomp and circumstance. But we must recognize that just like most people are a little bit nervous and shy about receiving awards, exalting a fellow member of the human race makes us a uncomfortable. No judgment here, just reporting what is observed.

Junípero Serra y Ferrer, O.F.M.

This was a man who lived from November 24, 1713 – August 28, 1784. He founded missions in the Baja California/California area. He is credited with performing miracles. He was Roman Catholic Spanish. Though not Catholic this author attends one of those missions very regularly. Here is what we are not permitted to say in this day and age: "He brought civilization to an Indian people that were living close to a stone age existence". We are supposed to say "he brought ruin and destruction, pestilence and slaughter to the Native indigenous people".

Well the Pope elevated Junipero above other men while he was here and that makes some folks angry. Here is a short read into the actions of some in response to Sainthood:

Personally this author does not go in for being pissed off about what groups did what 300 years ago. Maybe that is insensitive but I mention it here because most people do not equate the Pope and the modern Catholic church with genocide, crusades and inquisitions. So this really did not cast a shadow over the Pope.

Abortion and Death Penalty and such matters.

From what was gleaned from others it appears that the Pope's message of all life requiring dignity was not lost in an uproar of partisan moral issues. For some strange reason it seems like many people kind of came around to understand the falseness of concepts regarding the notions of life beginning and ending based upon political constructs. Somehow the Pope seems to have got folks to consider that classifying people does nothing to alleviate our need to decide right and wrong with regard to taking life.

Right here is where our chief pastor failed.

Does the cross sideways make you uncomfortable?

For some reason this picture makes me uncomfortable. Why? I could not tell you.
For some reason this picture makes me uncomfortable. Why? I could not tell you. | Source

Sometimes we forget that our need to live and cause a good and moral life is often a battle.

He had us in the palm of his hand.

Feel good and happy smiles are just great. Motivating and inspiring people to do good works is also just great. But the pastor's mission is not always so great. There is a little thing that is required for any spiritual journey and the pastor must be the impetus to get that done. That little thing is called growth. If you recall your childhood chances are good that you remember what we call growing pains.

Revival of faith is wonderful. And that is what the Pope did for millions and millions of us Americans. We liked it and it made us feel better to "get back" to thinking about right and wrong and God. Or just right and wrong, or just about God. Certainly atheists were not left out. But that is where it stopped. He pulled a Joel Osteen on us. Great stuff but short of the mark. In speaking with folks we did not hear one comment to the effect that would indicate a re-examination or further examination of truths held dear. There was conspicuously lacking a call to question our clergy.

Peaceful easy feeling

So in order to finish this article we went and watched quite a bit of what the Pope had to say. This modern age is wonderful where with a little effort you can "save" and retrieve hours of footage with a few presses of buttons ahead of time. Amazing.

But the bad news is that what we gleamed from talking to people was in fact accurate as to the Pope. There are basically 3 kinds of leaders: Ones that lead the marching band that is already in formation with a predetermined path and outcome, preaching to the choir as it were. Ones that plan and plot from on high and direct and compose the actions of others. And ones that take the charge to the battlefield and lead in front. For pastors the calling is simple. You must be all three kinds of leaders.

The great Pontiff gives us love and hope and direction. And that is really really good. We are blessed to have this revival in our lives.

But in all I have talked to and in me there is no "I am going to...." He even made a "call to action" but it lacked the directness required. For a leader it is not enough. A follower may do his job when he provides some food for a starving man. But the leader must inspire many to provide the food to starving people, not just think about it.

Nothing would make me happier than for someone to contradict me in this assessment. Please leave your comment and better yet share with us what action you have taken as a result of the visit of the Pope. And what would be even better would be if you went ahead and did something today -- just to prove me wrong.


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    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Lawrence for that cool addition to this hub. I think that in the end result this man does a lot more good than harm. It is good to kind of have an anchor so we don't just jump at any new fad out there in the land of religion.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      Well thought out and a hub that gets me thinking.

      With a 'Pope" its all in the name he chooses!

      "John" is a reformer (we've had 23 of those)

      "Paul" is traditional catholic (6 so far)

      "Benedict" is ultra traditional (16 so far)

      "Francis" our first one (by the way I'm not catholic) and taking the lead from St Francis of Assisi who said "Preach the gospel at all times, where necessary use words"

      He's already shaken the vatican up by working to get their vast wealth back to the poor!

      I think there'll be a few more shake ups butI'm with Bill on this!


    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.


      There is something to be said for a certain vitality. You just made me wonder why God had Jesus begin and end his ministry as a young man. A US president must be older than what Jesus was during His time of leadership. Interesting stuff.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      3 years ago from San Diego California

      You know you are getting old when you have to use pick up lines on your own wife, but I completely understand. I am a Catholic, but found that this man's personal charisma did not match his words. He couldn't stay awake! I think we need a young man with some vigor. There you see, I just got another pitchfork stuck in my side! Marvelous work as always!

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Venkatachari I suppose we have to ask ourselves what we would do. Certainly our Golden rule requires that we are mindful that it includes more. "Treat others as you would like to be treated" + if you were them.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Marion thank you for your comment. You just made me reflect on that whole notion of being restricted by an "organization". Can we be or should we be? If we are bound by the conformities of man then what of our spirit?

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      3 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very much interesting hub. I learnt some knowledge here.

      I agree with your points and am personally of some distaste in all these things. I think all this happens due to the other people around these people. This happens in every field. And we can't find fault with the leaders and heads. It is circles and so called fans spoiling atmosphere.

    • Marion Drury profile image

      Marion Drury 

      3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Eric, I enjoyed this article. I have to agree - a lot of pomp and ceremony and very good intent - but not a lot of 'power to change things'. The Pope seems to be 'a good bloke' with a good heart, however, I imagine, as in any large organisation or denomination, he would have many restrictions on him as to what he can really achieve. Thanks for your reflections on this.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Whoa dude you just made my day. Writing a piece on the fallacy of how we treat co-dependency. You uplifting me like you do will now be a part of that concept.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Eric , My friend , here is noting wrong with you that life itself won't cure . Yes , I too fear that my children know my weakness' too , we are all frail and we suffer them only because we are decent and conscientious men . Remember that ! I know a secret though , I know that you are more decent than most ! Be well my friend WE need you !.............:-]

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ed you make me think of the hidden purposes of God's hand. Maybe He keeps that church like that in order that we all see the frailty of our common condition. I have issues that I pray on and I know God could relieve me of them. So why in the hell doesn't he? Perhaps it is so my children see my faults and it makes me more approachable to them. Is the church made more humble by its' weaknesses? Boy if that is the case, we would be in real trouble if they were perfect.

      Thanks buddy for getting me to reflect on that, it is good for me. Now I go read: 2 Cor. 12 about the thorn in Paul's side.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Eric , Any man who leads other men in the missions of doing good is better that I am ! Much like the Pope , you are also that good of a man because of your intentions . Make no mistake , all men have human faults , even the men in robes . But , they try !

      I for one simply dislike the hypocrisy of the Catholic faith , The Vatican is one place that has too much politics coming from within it's walls . Yet , they also have their problems don't they , they fail to see the damage to the young boys and girls that are abused .

      Ahh , the imperfections of man ! great write my friend .

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Patricia you politely pointed right to the fallacy I partially fell into in writing this piece. If Francis changes hearts those hearts are changed and no matter what is done afterwords it is done with a changed heart. So as we give him time, he has also given it to us. One spiritual step closer to....

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.


      We attend a mass semi-regularly in the first Mission in California. I am not Catholic and my wife is confirmed Orthodox not Roman Catholic. So I can say with a full heart that there is nothing about Catholicism that need be taken in a way that would interfere with a direct connection to God. And there is much that can strengthen that connection. I guess what I am saying is that if you sat in that pew - that part of the church would believe that way.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora, I just this morning had a conversation with a alter boy type grown man. We both said a prayer for Francis. How can a human remain human and yet lead a spiritual presence that is totally global? I can't even head up my own household righteously. Wow! He is an extraordinary blessing to the world.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.


      I also am remiss in paying attention. An interesting thing I subscribe to is a catechism study. A leftover from my active preaching days. It is an interesting daily look into the mindset of over a billion folks. No body has passed me the mantle of judgment on it, so I can take the good with the bad.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Clive my man you are blessed with bluntness. Perhaps it is the Pollyanna in me, for me I chose to focus on the love.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ann, thank you for your insight. I just am on the fence about the ritual and "grandeur" of it all. I get the arguments either way. Kind of like religious royalty. So sometimes I just grab the popcorn and enjoy the show.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Amen to that Bill. I really like the man also.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      3 years ago from sunny Florida

      Well said and thoughtfully written ....time will tell...he seems authentic and sometimes one person can make a huge difference..let's hope it is the case here...

      Angels are on the way to you and to

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I think the Pope is a wonderful man who heads a church that disagrees with him on several positions. He was like a breath of fresh air. I loved him. I am not catholic but I could be if all catholic churches believed like him.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      The Pope is a spiritual head, and people everywhere are respectful of the spirituality which he represents. Still, the American display around him is more of power and stardom than the humility which he preaches. He is also a political head, so the essence of these two positions are combined and confused. Not his fault, I love him.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      3 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      I enjoyed this article. Unfortunately I haven't kept up with the Pope or the teachings of the Roman Catholic faith. This article has piqued my interest and I think I may try to find out more about him.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 

      3 years ago from Jamaica

      just another agent of the wicked in the robes of the innocent. Ten fingers down...and toes too

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      3 years ago from SW England

      We have visits from the Pope from time to time, here in Britain. I've gathered from the television that he's been quite a 'hit' in the US. However, I find the pomp and ceremony and riches of the Catholic Church rather distasteful and buried in tradition that won't ever change. I understand the fundamentals but I'm not comfortable with the outward show.

      Having said that, he comes across as a gentle, wise person and that can't be bad. He's contributing his best to help world peace and encourage others to act in an appropriate manner but I totally agree with your viewpoint of him not actually doing or saying enough. Maybe it is politic for him not to do too much too soon, I don't know.

      Great discussion here, Eric, as usual. You always put forward a balanced view and add some humour to boot!


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your reflections and thoughts. I don't have a horse in this race. I like the man...he seems genuine...but I've never met him, and it's early and time will tell. In the meantime, I'd rather see him on tv than Donald Trump.


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