Greg points out that a great deal of the media coverage of Pope Francis' message and his visit to South America evoke fire
. I noted on Twitter that it sort of made sense. Roughly 500 years ago, St. Ignatius of Loyola told his Jesuits to "Go forth and set the world on fire." St. Ignatius founded the Jesuit order of Catholic priests, of which Pope Francis is now the most high profile. We even joke about having an Arson Studies
Pope Francis' words and actions shouldn't be that surprising. As a Jesuit, he is supposed to work on the margins of the world and to meet people where they are at in their faith. Jesuits are known to shake things up which sometimes gets them in trouble with the Catholic hierarchy and conservative Catholics. Here is something that I linked to from Fr. Martin
(perhaps the second most famous living Jesuit) shortly after Bergolio's selection as pope.
the Jesuits were sometimes viewed with suspicion in a few quarters of the Vatican. There are a number of reasons for that, some of them complex. The first is, as I mentioned, our “differentness.” Second, our work with the poor and people on the margins sometimes struck some as too experimental, radical and even dangerous. “When you work on the margins,” an old Jesuit said, “you sometimes step out of bounds.”
One of the other things that strike me from the New York Times piece that Greg links to is Francis' admission that he doesn't have the answers with regards to a new economic system for the critique of capitalism he is making. In Jesuit educational circle, we take pride in helping our students to think critically about the world around them and to learn to ask the right questions. We usually don't have the answers to the world's problems but through sharp questions and discernment, we hope that those we interact with and those who come after us will leave the world a better place than the one we inherited.
That sure seems to be what Pope Francis hopes to accomplish during the few years he is likely to occupy the Papacy.