Sunday 24 September 2017

Liz O'Donnell: Radical Francis has won sceptics over – and put himself in danger

Liz O'Donnell

Liz O'Donnell

The newspaper image of the Pontiff getting into a Ford Focus said it all. I have become a total fan of Pope Francis. From the beginning, I marvelled at the Jesuit's break from traditional rituals and his humble outreach to the dispossessed, be they prisoners or immigrants. For this lapsed Catholic it was a welcome sign of a long overdue change in tone as well as substance at the top of the Catholic Church.

Thousands of Irish Catholics have fallen out with the church over the last 20 years, primarily due to its mishandling of clerical abuse scandals, the political culmination of which was represented by the controversial closure of the Irish embassy in the Vatican. So for Ireland, new management in the Vatican in the form of Pope Francis has a significance beyond religion. It is highly political and diplomatic.

Actions always speak louder than words. But when it comes to doctrinal matters, documents and the written word are more important.

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