The Pope, Politics, and Policy: Highlights and Full Video

Earlier this month, Georgetown’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life featured a panel of John Allen, associate editor of the Boston Globe and Vatican analyst for CNN and NPR; Ross Douthat, op-ed columnist for the New York Times; and Kerry Robinson, executive director of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management to discuss the topic of Pope Francis, politics, and policy. The panel was moderated by John Carr, the director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life. The full video of the panel and the Q&A that followed can be viewed below, along with some highlights of the very thoughtful comments made by each panelist.

Kerry Robinson

  • Pope Francis is radically free and other-centered; he exudes mercy and calls for positive reform in the Catholic Church.
  • Quoting Maryann Cusimano Love, Francis is “pastor-in-chief”
  • Advice for Francis: use the talented and intelligent laity.
  • Women must be present when decisions are made (and  Vatican is open to these ideas)
  • “We are going to be the change we want to see in the Church.”
  • I’m a feminist because I’m Catholic and Catholic because I’m a feminist.

John Allen

  • Benedict came into office with the narrative that he was “God’s rottweiler.” Francis came in without one and was able to shape his.
  • Pope Francis is a Christian—by definition a troublemaker—a challenge to status quos of all kinds
  • Pope Francis will be remembered as the Pope of Mercy.
  • This election was the most anti-establishment papal election of the last century.

Ross Douthat

  • Pope Francis is obviously a “troublemaker.”
  • Pope Francis has revolutionized the papacy.
  • Three possible conservative reactions to Francis: 1. Rush Limbaugh-style attacks 2. Make pope apolitical 3. Respond w/ new policies in light of the pope’s emphases
  • The failure of progressive Christianity is keeping people in the pews.