Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pope Francis’ popularity bridges great divides

By Vivian Yee
Photo Some of the tens of thousands of handwritten messages in the "Knotted Grotto," a temporary art installation outside the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. Credit Mark Makela for The New York Times
He may be the world’s foremost Catholic, but to his fans, Pope Francis is more Martin Luther King Jr. than Pope Benedict XVI. He speaks, and millions listen — whether they are Muslim or Baptist, Hindu or atheist. 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. [link]