“Our Popular Pope” by Bishop DiMarzio

April 15, 2015 – Excerpted from “Put Out Into the Deep,” Bishop DiMarzio’s column in The Tablet:

My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

As we prepare for the Papal Visit to the United States, and in particular to New York, during the next several months, it might be well to focus on the Pope whom we will welcome. As can easily be seen from surveys and articles, and most recently in the Wall Street Journal of Saturday, April 4th, we see the Holy Father portrayed as “wildly popular.” One survey even compared the annual popularity of St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis and it seems that Pope Francis has garnered a most favorable status, even greater than St. John Paul II. Popularity, however, is not what makes a papacy, but it certainly helps.

A recent unauthorized biography of Pope Francis gives some insight into his character and the quite different approach that he has taken to the papacy. His first several speeches clearly indicated his priorities. Remember, the Holy Father said, “I want a poor Church for the poor.” His message on mercy clearly indicates his priority that is appealing. But what is behind the love for the poor of Pope Francis? Certainly, his experience in Argentina where he became Padre Jorge in the barrios of Buenos Aires and for his constant attention to the immigrants who were in that city, because the barrios were populated more by immigrants from Paraguay and Bolivia than Argentineans themselves. He reached out in his personal way to those who were the poorest and most marginalized in his home diocese.

Read the full text of the Bishop’s column on The Tablet website.