Now it’s certain. This will be a populist papacy. Denunciations of unfettered free market economics in Evangelii Gaudium””“an economy of exclusion and inequality”””attracted a great deal of attention in the secular press. But for the most part commentators ignore the fact that Francis’ populism has a very strong ecclesial dimension as well.
He calls for a renewed commitment to evangelization. It’s something we all can do. This does not require a capacity for acute theological analysis or familiarity with subtle apologetic arguments. Instead, what’s needed is a lively faith.
He exhibits a similar ecclesiastical populism when it comes to clergy. In a long section, perhaps the longest in the document, he details the many things that go into the preparation and delivery of good homilies. None require specialized expertise. All grow out of basic Christian virtues. The everyday priest can make an outsized difference””if he gives himself to Christ and his people.