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The Theological Vision of Pope Francis


Pope Francis seems to be an easy character to come to terms with. Frugal, transparent, down-to-earth, he is one of the most popular public figures around the globe. What about the theological vision that permeates his papacy?

In order to have a glimpse inside of Francis’ spiritual horizon, one needs to take his Jesuit identity into account. In spite of the kind manners of the man, a certain anti-protestant attitude lingers in the Pope’s mind and heart, especially as far as Luther, Calvin and the Puritans are concerned. Although he does not seem pushing a dogmatic outlook of Roman Catholicism as his precedessor, he nonetheless has his own “dogmatic certainties” and they are not what one may expect them to be. The insistence on one’s own conscience and the pervasiveness of God’s grace in it is paramount to approach his overall view of the relationship between God and human life. This explains why so many secular people resonate with what he is saying. They don’t feel challenged but affirmed.

Furthermore, his insistence on “mission” needs to be grasped within the whole of his theological framework. The use of the same word by other Christians does not necessarily imply the same meaning. Mission is the outworking of Francis’ program and fits his own personal interpretation of the papacy. Since catholicity is what Roman Catholicism stems from and look for, Francis’ version of catholicity is perhaps the most significant mark of his papacy.