|Like a Lamb to the Slaughter|
For this, along with myriad other reasons, the American electorate has moved relentlessly to the right for the last fifty years, to the point where claiming to be a 'liberal' is toxic, and we have been forced to lay claim to a different, fuzzier title: "Progressive". And as long as people could self-righteously point to globally recognized religious leaders to justify their fear and hatred of people not exactly like them, the divisiveness could never get better - it could only keep getting worse.
Now along comes this guy who not only talks the talk, he walks the walk. He doesn't just call a spade a spade, he calls it a fucking shovel and reminds people that sometimes they have to pick it up and help dig. He says money in the church is a problem, he says that entrenched bureaucracy in the church is a problem, he says the focus on image and pomp is a problem, and crucially he says that hatred is not a part of Catholic dogma, and that resources are to be used to better the people in the community rather than to live lavishly. Now the chances that the Church will permit this attack on their generational privilege to continue are small, and Francis will probably serve a very brief Papacy, but every day he's the Pope he forces a dialog that never could previously occur. He makes the people and the media talk about the liberal values in the Bible, not just the hatred and power and control. He causes people to question the Christian values of those who would destroy the social safety net, take food and assistance from the poor, and poison the planet for short-term profits. In short, he makes it easier to be liberal by making it harder to be a fascist.
Look. The Catholic church is a monster, a gigantic cancer on the body politic, and along with the other Abrahamic centers of magicks and mythology, the sooner it is a mostly forgotten part of human history the better it will be for our species. But until that happens, if, as a very large domestic institution it occasionally serves the needs of the community rather than merely preying on them, that in itself would be a very large improvement.