I read Paul Vallely's new biography of Pope Francis this week - very good and Fr M approves. Glad to see the Tablet agrees with me! Moving around some of the Catholic blogosphere over the last months since he was elected, I can't help noticing that while many folks are very approving, some are critical of some aspects. But the ones who fascinate me are those who seem particularly quiet. I don't know if it's because they have reservations but their self-professed loyalty to Rome is being stretched, or whether they have little or nothing to say... I don't know.
Paul Vallely is a respected journalist and has done his homework, especially on the period in Pope Francis's life when he was Provincial of the Jesuits. With some of the media sniffing problems, I was glad to be able to get a clearer picture of that time, and in the end a clearer picture of where he is now.
I was also glad to see comments about teh Pope's evident connection with so-called popular piety - pilgrimages, images etc. As a devoted pilgrim myself, I found much to identify with here.
Most people I speak to in the parishes speak very highly of their first impressions of the Holy Father. Indeed so do people not of our faith too! And most end their comments with something like - "Hope he keeps it up... We shall see!" Indeed we shall. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has said, apparently, to give him four years and we'll never be the same.