I’ve been following Matt Fradd for a while and just yesterday he posted “15 Things Atheists are Saying About Pope Francis.” I loved it. He got to it first, but I loved it. I mean, I had that idea weeks ago after being inspired in the comment section of months worth of good stories about our Pope. I quickly gave up the “it was my idea first” attitude because he is about 2349870 times more popular than me, so I am happy he said it rather than no one at all. There is no competition in Catholic blogging.
Plus, like he says, there are about 1000 quotes one can easily choose from, so I’m going to write one up in the short future to complement his.
All that aside, he got me thinking. Better, other comments alongside these have me thinking. Some are upset in many ways because they feel “Francis is not doing anything different from other Popes” and “[Time] will be upset once they realize he is no different from Benedict XVI” and still “many Christians DO act like Francis”. They have some right to point these quips out, but they are actually defeating the situation by not banding together in excitement about our new Pope.
What we need to do is “let [this] light shine before others” (Matthew 5:16). We ought to be together on this issue, reflecting this awesome light, instead of complaining about how seemingly narrow minded some atheists might be. Let them think what they want. Just because they didn’t see Christ’s light in one man, even if he was a Pope, doesn’t make null the light they see in Francis.
If someone is beginning to understand and be attracted to the Church, why fuel them with reasons to not look further? Luke writes of Jesus saying, “Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion?” (14:28). Atheists will count the cost, indeed, but let them be attracted to the idea of constructing a tower first. Once they get over that hurdle let them count their cost in mentorship or RCIA.
Perhaps once they have warmed up to the Church through Francis’ witness they will give a fair look to Benedict XVI and realize he was a tremendous theologian and become even more inspired.
Let them be excited and surprised by truth, and let God’s love reach their hearts in whatever way that needs to happen. The comment section is a potentially dangerous place where we can either encourage or discourage others. Choose encouragement.