Pope Francis Refuses to Meet with [ANYBODY].
That would be news. That would be a headline.
That’s not gonna happen.
No, you can’t imagine Benedict having a private meeting with a transgendered person and fiancee. That’s because Benedict was a different kind of pope, who had a different mission. Francis is doing different good things besides the kind of good things that Benedict did. And if you think that Benedict resigned with the understanding that the conclave would elect a Benedict clone, and was shocked and horrified to discover that Francis is a different kind of man from him, then you’re either horribly naive, or think Benedict was horribly naive. I vote for the former.
Francis meets with everybody he thinks he can talk to. Everybody. Everybody. At least so far. So let’s stop being shocked and astonished that he keeps doing the thing that he keeps doing. Let’s stop trying to figure out what it could possibly mean to us, and start thinking about what it could possibly mean to the people he’s meeting. Your outrage is not going to change his behavior. But maybe his behavior can change the way you think about about what the modern Church has to offer to the modern world.
Look, it’s news when something interesting happens; I get it. So go ahead and write the headline: Pope Francis Has Private Meeting with Non-Saint. But don’t make up a story to go under that headline — a story like, “Is Church on the Verge of Going Queer?” or “In Latest Outrage, Francis Undermines Traditional Marriage.” A legitimate story might go, “What could Francis be intending, based on everything else he’s said and taught?” That could actually lead somewhere.
We don’t know what happened in that private audience. What we do know is that this is a very personal pope, who believes in meeting people whom the world believes the Church despises. He’s going to keep meeting with people. Everybody. Everybody. He’s not going to get over it, so maybe we should.