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10/2/2013 11:12:00 AM
Whither people of God?
Catholic News Service
Pope greets crowd in St. Peter's Square.
Catholic News Service
Pope greets crowd in St. Peter's Square.

The interview with Pope Francis by the Jesuit priest-editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, the authorative Italian journal that is reviewed by Vatican officials before printing, is generating wide-ranging media coverage.

That is how it should be, given what this amazing pope had to say and the tone in which he said it.

Some commentators are regarding the interview as directed primarily to the bishops. This ignores the way Francis defines the Church.

The thoughtful views expressed by Francis really are directed at core Catholics: the liberals, conservatives and middle-of-the-roaders, the folks who keep the operation going forward year after year.

They are the faithful who drop their envelopes into the Offertory collection baskets at Mass.

They are the ones who shrug off the media criticism of the church so they can focus on their faith, their personal relationship with God.

Reporters usually ignore these folks, in part because they do not generate television sound bytes that make for good media drama.

The real story about the papal interview does not have much to do about how the substance will influence the bishops; rather, the real story is how this new pope will change the People of God. That means us.

Will the pope’s guidance change us so the church we believe in becomes a kinder, gentler institution? Will we become more welcoming for people we do not like, who scare us?

These are heady times to be a practicing Catholic.

Many lapsed Catholics are impressed by the new pope and are thinking about a return to the fold.

The New Evangelization initiative is getting a big boost from Francis.

It is our responsibility to check on our own attitudes, make corrections when needed, and soldier on to take full advantage of the new energy infused in the church.

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