Francis and the Nuns

Is the new Vatican all talk?

This may not sound like much — it was, after all, a shift in emphasis, not in doctrine — but coupled with subsequent statements about the evil of inequality, the pope’s words suggested the possibility of a new era for the Church, one in which economic justice would take precedence over divisive social issues. Perhaps the most important change was tonal: the punitive, absolutist cadences of John Paul II and Benedict XVI had been replaced by gentle, openhearted language. Progressives both in the Church and outside it celebrated the development. Suddenly, the world had a new apostolic heartthrob: Francis was Time magazine’s Person of the Year and the cover boy for Rolling Stone.

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