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Sat Apr 16, 2016, 05:00 PM

Pope Francis’ Popularity Bridges Great Divides

He may be the world’s foremost Catholic, but to his fans, Pope Francis is more the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. than Pope Benedict XVI. He speaks, and millions listen — whether they are Muslim or Baptist, Hindu or atheist. “I believe he’s a world leader more than a religious leader,” said Sasha Datta, a practicing Hindu who was planning to try to see Francis in Washington. “His openness, his ability to not shy away from real issues — I see a lot of hope when I see people like Pope Francis.”

Two years after his papacy began, Francis — the pontiff with the common touch and the tolerant embrace — is a lodestar to both the spiritual and secular worlds, a global celebrity to those who admire his warmth and a rudder to those who share his concerns about climate change, social justice, poverty and more.

The breadth of his appeal can be traced, in part, to the role he has carved out as a champion of causes beyond the scope of church doctrine. A New York Times/CBS News poll conducted in early September found that 45 percent of respondents saw Francis more as a leader and humanitarian spokesman for all people, regardless of their religion, than as simply the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

A Pew Research Center poll in February found that his approval rating among white mainline Protestants was 74 percent. Among those with no religious affiliation, it was 68 percent.[/div


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Reply Pope Francis’ Popularity Bridges Great Divides (Original post)
Divernan Apr 2016 OP
Divernan Apr 2016 #1

Response to Divernan (Original post)

Sat Apr 16, 2016, 05:00 PM

1. As a secular humanist, a Baptist, a Jew & a Muslim put it:

Cynthia Olmstead, 49, of South Yarmouth, Mass., who identifies as a secular humanist, said she admired his message of inclusiveness, tolerance, social justice and environmentalism. She said she lived in Argentina when Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio made headlines there for taking public transit and mingling with the poor. Now, she said, she is hoping to take her children to New York to see him as Pope Francis. “I know it sounds strange, but I just feel like it would be a moving experience to see him,” she said. “It’s almost like if you’ve gone to see any kind of civil rights leader speak, and they have a kind of universal message, and even if you don’t necessarily belong to that ethnic group or religious group, you’re moved by the message.”

“Ever since he became the pope, I have been in awe of this man,” said Lorina Marshall-Blake, 63, an assistant pastor of her Baptist church who is volunteering. “It’s the first time that I’ve ever seen a pope or a person like him that is so real and so approachable.”

Ilyse Shapiro, another volunteer, said her husband was understandably perplexed when she announced that she wanted to take part in the event. After all, Ms. Shapiro, 49, just celebrated her bat mitzvah a few years ago. “Clearly, I’m Jewish,” she said with a laugh. “But I told him, ‘It transcends Catholicism. It transcends religion.’ This pope is speaking for the poor and the powerless. That is beyond religion.”

“He’s just one of my favorite people,” Mr. El Sehamy said. “He’s so humble and so into people.” He added: “I’m a Muslim. But I believe that maybe God sent this guy to unite everybody together.”



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