MARK SHIELDS: I cannot think of a single public figure””secular, religious, or any other kind””who has inspired, provoked the level of civil discourse and discussion and animated exchanges that this man has.
[BOB] ABERNETHY: But could all the adulation of Francis be too much?
[JOHN] CARR: One of my more cynical friends, someone skeptical about all this, said “this is just a big Vatican PR campaign.” And I said, “Name the last successful Vatican PR campaign.”
ABERNETHY: Alongside Francis’s popularity, Brooks saw a danger. He called it “mushiness.”
[DAVID] BROOKS: Francis’s core message is the person of Francis. The risk therein, it seems to me, is the Church is not only a feel-good institution about a humble guy. It is a doctrine and a creed, and it is a specific set of beliefs and convictions, and they are beliefs that are reasonably tough-minded, and if you lose contact with the doctrine, the stuff that actually makes outsiders a little uncomfortable, with a charming guy who washes people’s feet, then you are losing something elemental to the Church.