In the first seven months of his pontificate, Pope Francis has captured the world’s attention, and confused some in the media, as they are unable to fit the pope into their political categories of “conservative” or “progressive.”
Greg Burke, senior communications adviser to the Vatican Secretariat of State, recently gave some insight into Pope Francis’ communication style and his “Top 10” words to help understand the Holy Father’s message. Viewing the pope’s communications through the lens of Burke’s list, rather than the lens of American politics, can help Catholics better understand the pope and his message.
“Pope Francis is not a politically correct pope … he’s a loyal son of the Church.” Burke said. “The pope wants to get beyond left and right.”
Pope Francis has become known for his focus on mercy, which some in the media have taken as a sign he may change the Church’s teaching on certain moral issues. However, Burke says the pope is not advocating an “I’m OK-you’re OK-Catholicism,” but is focusing on the truth of the Gospel, which includes mercy and forgiveness.
“The Gospel is not there to make us feel good. The Gospel is there and makes very practical demands on us,” Burke said. Among those demands, is that Catholics must “tell people the truth and walk with them to the Lord.”
In his address at the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, Burke offered a rundown of “Pope Francis in 10 Words” to help decode Pope Francis and his message. Among these words were mercy, prayer, encounter and joy; and Burke gave corresponding explanations of how these words shape Pope Francis’ message and mission.