I'm not a Catholic, but as a Christian in the Baptist tradition and a student of history I acknowledge the large role and influence the Roman Catholic Church and its leader can have on world affairs, politics and social justice issues.
I was born during the reign of Pope John XXIII who died on June 3, a day short of me turning 13 months old. Pope Paul VI was the one whose reign covered much of my childhood and teen years. He succeeded the late John XXIII a few weeks later and died when I was a junior in high school. I watched the all too brief 33 day reign of Pope John Paul I in which the conspiracy theories are abundant about his death. He was followed by the man who held the papacy longer than anyone in my lifetime in Pope John Paul II. He was followed by one I grew to loathe for pimping that anti-trans doctrine in Pope Benedict XVI and I cheered when he resigned.
So now we have Pope Francis running thangs in the Roman Catholic Church. He has been its history making leader since March 13 as the first pope from the Southern Hemisphere, The Americas, South America, Latin America, and the first Jesuit priest to ascend to the papacy.
I remember having the conversation with Rev. Carmarion Anderson during the BTMI Advocacy Conference which was going on when Francis became pope. I stayed at her house for two days of it before heading to the hotel. One of our conversations when I was chilling at her place was about the new leader.
While I expressed my wait and see attitude about Pope Francis, she was encouraged by what he had to say concerning refocusing the Roman Catholic Church on being concerned about the poor and inequality than their war on contraception and LGBT people.
In the months since that conversation with Carmarion I've noted that Pope Francis ditched much of the trapping of the extravagant papal lifestyle of his predecessor. I've gleefully noted the increased unhinged complaints and attacks from conservafool pundits aimed at this pontiff. (which is always a good sign), especially after he called out trickle-down economics, global capitalism for its greed, called for better interfaith relations with Muslims, and being concerned about income inequality.
"Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality," Pope Francis wrote. "Such an economy kills."
While I like what I see so far concerning Pope Francis, the jury is still out on just how liberal he is.
Whether Pope Francis is that type of pontiff and continues to be one during his papal reign remains to be seen.