Pope Francis’ Latest Comments Might Have Just Officially Won Me Over

pope-francis-christmasWhile I’m a Christian, I’ve never been a huge advocate for organized religion.  I’ve always tied in my belief in Christianity with traits that just make someone a decent human being.  I don’t really care what someone wants to call themselves — being a good person is what I think matters above all else.

That being said, Pope Francis has been extremely impressive during his short time as the leader of the Catholic Church.  While he’s not perfect (nobody is), it’s clear that he’s making a conscious effort to bring real change to the Catholic Church and Christianity as a whole.

Well, over the Christmas holiday Pope Francis took a giant leap toward fully winning me over.  During his Christmas Eve mass he actually dared to deliver a message of hope, helping, peace, acceptance and understanding.  You know, values for which Jesus Christ actually stood.

The Pope said about our lives, “There are both bright and dark moments, lights and shadows.  If our heart is closed, if we are dominated by pride, deceit, self-seeking, then darkness falls within us and around us.”

In other words, just be a good person.  The more people live a life based on arrogance, pride, pure selfish ambitions and manipulation to get what we want, the more the bad (darkness) engulfs humanity.

He also used the symbolism of Jesus Christ in that he was the son of God (if you’re a Christian) yet gave up everything infallible about himself to come to earth.  Pope Francis said of Jesus, “You are immense, and you made yourself small; you are rich, and you made yourself poor; you are all-powerful and you made yourself vulnerable.”  He also reminded people that the first people to hear of Jesus’ birth were shepherds, who were often seen as outcasts.

His message that as human beings we should accept one another, help one another, live in harmony with one another and love one another is a message that’s been missing from many leaders of the Christian faith for far too long.  Especially on Christmas.

Oh, and did you hear he shared his birthday breakfast with three homeless gentlemen?

Now I know, the cynics will point out the many flaws that still exist within the Catholic Church.  What those people fail to realize is that not all change is instant.  I fully believe Pope Francis has a much bigger plan in mind, but realizes that some of those more drastic steps (like pushing for real changes in official views of the Catholic Church on issues such as homosexuality) will take some time.

But I will say this — for the first time in my lifetime, I care about what a Pope is doing.  For most of my life I just viewed the Pope as a symbolic hypocrite of an extremely flawed church.  However, since Pope Francis has taken over, it’s clear that his mission is to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.

While he still has a lot of work to do, for the first time in my lifetime, I think a Pope has actually won me over.

I’m excited to see what the future holds with Pope Francis leading the Catholic Church.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • rossbro

    This Pope has re-awakened a lot of Catholics. His actions so far are what people want to see and hear. Please, Pope Francis, keep it up.

  • sherry06053

    I have said all of those things myself. I can’t wait to see what it does to the Tea Party. This may be the last straw for them. I think a lot of what he says is directed toward them. Can’t wait to see what he says as 2014 elections get closer…perfection!

    • Marty Cox

      Hmmm..even pious Tea Partyiers hate him now…including the ones armed to kill…very worrisome!

  • Jim

    While I too am impressed with the new Pope (and I’m not Catholic) I believe his call is to do more than to “just be a good person.” He is asking us all to actively love, to help the poor and unfortunate, the sick, the prisoner…
    And as you did point out correctly these are “values for which Jesus Christ actually stood.”

  • nancybaker

    You know if Rush and Palin don’t like him, he’s worth listening to.

  • Suzie

    He is the hope and change we have been talking about in America, but have not been able to get it done. I hope he will spur all of us on with his words and his example. He is truly a loving, humble man, who looks not out for himself, but for all others. I am so happy that he was chosen as our Pope.

    • John8448

      I’m a TP member and a Christian and your really foolish to think that pope was talking about us. Maybe you need to look in the mirror and see if he’s talking about you and your kind.

      • ron

        what exactly do you mean by ” your kind “?

      • John8448

        The left first to blame last to take resposability. First to give someone else’s money last to give your own.

      • Pat

        Says who? You? You could not be more wrong in your assessment of those on the “left” that I know. First to give, and first to take responsibility. You haters of the “left” need to get it straight. You TP righties are the most judgmental, all for yourselves and no one else, biggest hypocrites in the country, and the Pope is calling you out on it and you know it.

      • Gregory Paul Smith

        John8448 is obviously a professional troll. Who else reads progressive websites unless they are interested in learning something? He obviously just wants to piss people off. Get a real life troll!

      • Pat

        You couldn’t be more wrong. You TP righties are the ones who don’t want to give a nickel of your precious dollars to anyone. The Pope is calling you out on your selfishness and you know it.

      • John8448

        Keep thinking that because your foolish. I also bet you like the ACA more handouts for the left.

      • Pat

        I bet you hate the ACA……..more help to those who need it, (which is what the Pope is preaching).

      • John8448

        Hate it Obama and all of the pathetic asses that signed it without reading the damn thing. By the way I’m paying $1400 more a yr to help more freeloaders in this country. Your probably getting it free.

      • Pat

        No, I am not getting anything for free. My health insurance is going up 12% in January. Those insurance company CEO’s have to make sure they get their mega-million dollar bonuses even with all the new insureds they are gaining new premiums from. You are blaming the wrong people, John8448. It’s the wealthy who are at fault here, not the middle-class or the poor. Pope John is telling them to stop with their greed and selfishness, and they will not. Believe me, the wealthy, and their political puppets are the problem here.

      • John8448

        I agree with you on that and let me add my apologies for attacking you.

      • Adam

        While I absolutely agree with your comments, and I am not arguing against them, I offer this simple reminder: Please do not feed the trolls.

      • Gregory Paul Smith

        You are most likely getting a much better policy than you had before. Stop being so hypocritical. And why in the world do you even care what others pay. It’s none of your business!

      • John8448

        Go screw off I had know problems with my previous plan it fit our needs. And what is it of your damn business what I had I attests had insurance. Now it’s more handouts for the lazy ass Americans that’s what keeps the left in power.

      • PennyJ Thomas

        Bet you live in a red state you moron. You know, the states with a republican governor who won’t except the Medicaid expansion? Good for you! You deserve it!

      • Mike Holton

        Wow, your health insurance is going up $1400 a year? You must be pretty well-off.

        It’s pathetic to see comfortable, stable people in the wealthiest nation in the history of Earth bitch and moan that they have to give some of their wealth to help their fellow countrymen not die of preventable diseases.

      • Whyohwhy


      • Debbie Lass

        youre paying 1400 more a year to help whom? where does this 1400 get paid to? please show that your 1400 extra a year goes to anyone who is free loading …when it in fact goes to the insurance company…..but I shall certainly be open to factual proof by a legitimate source that shows me your money in fact goes to freeloaders ty….

      • Geoffrey Harris

        You know from nothing John. Just get lost.

      • John8448

        Enjoy hell atheist.

      • Geoffrey Harris

        Ah, yes. Now you have truly revealed yourself, John. You are as mean as you are stupid. Your religion is just a vehicle for you to inflict your malignant nature on others.

      • MAGERD, HER

        Damn well said.

      • PennyJ Thomas

        You’ll be holding the door open John. Ugly is ugly, even if it calls itself a Christian.

      • Whyohwhy

        LOL. You clearly do not know how atheism works.

      • PennyJ Thomas

        And I bet you have insurance? LOVE when people w/insurance complain about somebody who doesn’t have any for a plethora of reasons.

      • John8448

        Yah I have insurance I work and pay for it. Now if millions of Americans don’t have insurance to bad go work more jobs to pay for it I did. The left is the handout party why work let let other Americans do that.

      • Lefty Lou

        Have you ever heard of a comma or a period? Might make your posts a little easier to read. Not that they are worth reading or anything. Please go find yourself an ultra-conservative, right wing blog to whine on, where your stupid comments might be appreciated.

      • John8448

        I don’t give damn if you care for or about my opinion or comments. Don’t like them don’t reply it’s that easy. Now go screw off and for God sake quit hurting this country.

      • udicks

        John8448, you are the exact kind of person the pope , your boss is talking to.

      • Lefty Lou

        “Go screw off and for God sake quit hurting this country”. Wow, impressive comeback.
        P.S. Must have gotten to you, because at least I see a couple of periods in there this time.

      • bpless

        The right is the corporate welfare party. Give to the rich corporations so they can screw the middleclass and poor.

      • John8448

        I’m going to be nice but please tell me that Obama hasn’t done the same along with his democratic administration. Your part of the Easley fooled take a bow.

      • Suzie

        Obama has made an effort to increase taxes on the wealthiest people and corporations, but has had zero luck with that because of the Republican majority congress fighting him tooth and nail. They will not pass those increases because these Republican politicians have sold themselves to the Koch Brothers, and others like them. Stop blaming Obama, and get the real facts before you vote in the next election.

      • Debbie Lass

        so your insurance company isn’t something you got through the ACA? yet somehow your increase in fees is some how being blamed on the ACA?

      • John8448

        It’s really sad that you and your kind are so uninformed. My insurance premiums went up because it supposedly didn’t meet the ACA requirements. Again it’s none of Obama’s or your business what I have when it comes to insurance I pay for it you and this POS of a president don’t. Millions lost insurance because of this.

      • Debbie Lass

        [email protected] my kind, said a stranger with poor grammar. What exactly is MY kind. This holier than thou attitude thinking you know others without knowing them at all is equating yourself with God and that’s a sin…..so hopefully you are an atheist….as for your insurance, lets see the proof that your increased rates were due to ACA guidelines wanting your insurance to be up to standard…..because its a way for insurance companies to get greedy, raise your rates then blame it on ACA in a propaganda media frenzy……..you really don’t realize how many times you bend over and take it from corporations, businesses and the rich in this country do you? because they rely on your anger and quick to jump a hate bandwagon to blind you to their actions and get you angry at others to get their own agenda through…….

      • Debbie Lass

        I suppose you think it is just fine that I have to pay for Viagra to be covered through my insurance for your gender but when insurance companies are being required to cover birth control now suddenly people say, well im male I shouldn’t have to pay for stuff I wont use….idiots…you already have been for years and will until someone regulates insurance companies…..what makes Viagra more important than birth control when birth control is used for some medical conditions in women…Viagra has NEVER been needed for medical conditions, only for men to get erections…..well try abstaining for Goodness sakes! But I digress, these companies rely on your anger and ineptness and lack of researching the truth to be able to get one over on you like providing insurance not up to par…..I sure hope you don’t get cancer or any terminal type illness or long illness that would cost lots of money, because in the past your insurance would have dropped you for having a preexisting condition and not give a crap that you cant pay for your treatments or that you will die without them…..youre paying more now for a an insurance that is required to not drop you in cases like that……and god forbid you ever need it, but many have, and many died while their families had piles of bills because they had abad illness like cancer and no insurance…..but hey if you do happen to get one of those….why don’t you just drop your insurance then and pay out of pocket for treatments mmk? otherwise quit your bitching because you cant see how it is better for you in the long run…..

      • Debbie Lass

        lol first of all it is “youre” not your…..and the ACA isn’t free handouts…people have to pay for insurance unless they are too poor to do so through the ACA…so at least have facts correct. This is the problem with generalizations……many who will get insurance through ACA will be paying for it…so how can that be a handout….shakes head…

      • Suzie

        Just where in my post did I even mention the TP, or suggested that he was talking about your group??? I suggest you learn how to read before you get all self-righteous and defensive Mr. John8448! Maybe YOU are the one that thinks the Pope was talking about your kind. Maybe he is!!! Hmmm, sounds like you need to take that look in the mirror, not me.

      • John8448

        Sorry wrong person you have my apologies.

      • Doge Wallace

        Good man.

      • Debbie Lass

        “talking about you and your kind” ….wow I think you miss the message pope francis is giving, that we don’t see others as “yoyu kind” because then we aren’t one with Christ…delineating people as different then leaves room for judgemnet condemnation and not love and compassion…..as Jesus taught, thus what pope francis is trying to get Christians back to doing….

      • John8448

        I don’t have a problem with the pope seems like a good man. But when the Vatican has 8 billion in assets and he slams capitalism for being greedy he comes off hypocritical. Also it seems the only time people want to follow Christ is when it suits them. The pope is playing around with being PC and you don’t do that when your a leader. You call out sin for whatever it is not overlook just to get followers.

      • Debbie Lass

        well apparently you do not read very well John. The pope also condemned the excessiveness of the church with money. That’s why many people DO like him because he is a many who walks the walk not just talk the talk. He has told others to live more modestly through the church and has done so himself not using any of the excessively expensive amenities that past popes have had or that the church alots for popes…..so maybe again get your facts straight, read and research more, before you start ranting like some deranged dog foaming at the mouth. And as for the pope being PC? so then you are claling Jesus PC…since when wa spolitical correctness something that existed in jesus day? the pope is aksing people to follow the parts of the bible they conveniently dismiss or forget BECAUSE they are picking and choosing the parts of the bible that allow them to point condemnation at others but overlook their own sins….he is simply putting a mirror up and saying hey wait a minute…the bible also says this, and jesus did this, and jesus said that why are we not following those too…do you even KNOW your bible John? because Jesus spent time among sinners, not condemning them or shunning them but as a friend and with compassion. Jesus fed the hungry, jesus said give up your riches and worldly possessions and follow me, jesus healed the sick……..this is NOT what our country is advocating….and all the things like food stamps to help feed the hungry, insurance to heal the sick, etc is being attacked and people want to do away with, yet THESE are the things jesus did while here on earth as a human…….perhaps you should understand the entire bible better before passing judgement on a pope when you don’t even know your own faith to be able to say what this man is or is not doing according to gods word…..

      • Debbie Lass

        John….why is it the sins being called out are for a small group of people doing it? why is it the sin of greed, and premarital sex, and pornography and masturbation aren’t called out and in the media as much as homosexuality is? in the bible they are all sin and all of equal value yet those are not discussed by people such as yourself who want to cherry pick which sins we must advocate against and condemn a group because it is a sin you don’t partake in…..the pope is holding up other biblical sins many, including yourself, don’t wish to admit, see, or change about yourself….the desire fro greed which is what this country is basing itself on currently, and premarital sex….are you married and only having sex when wanting to procreate john? because technically the bible says that’s only when we should have sex…..as that’s what it was created for…so all you Christians engaging in premarital sex or pornography while condemning homosexuality are hypocrites and not following all sins….

      • athiest creationist heathens

        That is about as far a field Christian bull shit as you god fearing wankers get. Other than believing in some thing you cant prove ever existed

  • whiskeybus

    I’m not a Christian and I like him too!

    • Geoffrey Harris

      I am an atheist, a pagan, a philosopher, an outcast, a misanthrope, and a malcontent and I like him too.

      • A Girl

        You cannot be both an atheist and a pagan, but ok. 😉

      • Geoffrey Harris

        That is right. You are smart to have noticed that. So which am I?

      • Gregory Paul Smith

        Does it really matter?

  • Ryan

    What the pope is saying and doing is what Christians and Catholics should be doing. Many people are saying religion is corrupting the conservatives, which is true, but for the longest time, conservatives has been corrupting religion too; blurring the lines between making money and having an “I got mine” mentality with capitalism, and Christianity/Catholism saying we should help others, especially those in need, be kind to others and all of mankind, and accept everyone with open arms regardless of their beliefs or decisions.

    The Pope is doing the latter, and Limbaugh/Palin are the former not liking the Pope going a different direction.

    The latter is in fact what democrats have always wanted to do, with or without religion, and conservatives are confused about what side they’re on since they’ve been told one thing but do something else, the Pope is splitting the two words in “Religious Conservative” apart because of it.

    • PennyJ Thomas

      Pat Toomey and Paul Ryan (two that I know of), are Catholics that are having a hard time in regards to this Pope. Toomey is actually saying that the Pope’s words are being twisted (which I find ironic since the Pope is straightforward in his words) and Ryan is saying that the Pope knows nothing about Capitalism (even the Pope wrote an 84 page paper on it).
      Toomey has already dug his grave in PA. The next election will see a sweeping change in the political arena here. And the Pope, although unwittingly, will have a bigger say in it then one would ever think possible.

      • Debbie Lass

        I hope so….I Hope the Pope can win back enough people to Jesus true teachings, than the Duck Dynasty followers who think what they see duck dynasty do is the ONLY Christian way to be….its sad to me how many Christians stood up to support a man being condemning which was clearly identified as a sin also in the bible(to the tune of a quarter of a million people), but they wont stand up for insurance companies not having preexisting conditions to cause those dying to not get treatment to save their life, or for hunger in America etc…..look at all the marketing profits people are making off the popularity of duck dynasty also….now NRA is going to cash in too as the show is promoting seven new guns with camouflage…….people just don’t get the message of jesus in the bible….I hope the pope can get enough back to that so that our countries politicis will change back to whats best for all not just for the rich….

  • annie

    I agree with everything you said!

  • Cynthia Gabriel


  • Jo Clark

    This articles expresses my beliefs and feelings to a TEE, right from paragraph 1 to the very end. I have not much use for organized religion myself. I think it’s mostly a huge money making scam and about as corrupt as an institution can get, and I’m not just talking about the Catholic church here. I’m also talking about every single one of those Protestant evangelists who somehow, magically, seem to become very wealthy once they land a TV gig, etc.

    I too, for the first time ever, actually give a hoot about what this pope does. I think he’s a huge refreshing breath of fresh air.

  • Bode Gibbs

    Oh yeah? Well I see him as what he is: a public relations man, sent to plug the leaky ship that is the Catholic Church. When he sends crates of condoms to sub-Saharan Africa and apologizes for lying about them causing AIDS, when he sells off the Vatican and gives the money DIRECTLY to the poor, when he forks over ALL pedophile priests for prosecution then maybe I’ll believe him. Until then, I remain sceptical.

    • MsTheNez

      Because he can totally do all that over night and rewrite the largest church in the world in less than one lifetime. Totally reasonable demands. I mean, the church ALWAYS trots out PR guys after massive failings. RIGHT. AM I RIGHT?

    • Marcus L Davis

      Oddly enough, he’s doing much of what you are asking. There is a Cardinal, I can’t remember his name but he is called ‘The Cardinal Of Bling” and Francis has removed him from his assigned position, forced him to sell off his expensive cars, and has turned his multi-million dollar mansion into a soup kitchen, and has finally made child abuse a crime in the church. In stead of only trying to find all that is wrong at this point, maybe it would be a little wiser to look at what he is doing right…which is a lot more than anyone has done

      • Debbie Lass

        agreed, people just want to be on some bandwagon and they usually get on the hate bandwagon without knowing many of the facts, that’s what the rich and politicians who have their own agenda are banking on, because the uneducated American allows them to be manipulated psychologically through propaganda….and people get on those bandwagons and defend them fiercely with stupidity…

    • Goldmann M Bergstein

      Do you think you are maybe demanding too much at once? He is making small changes in all the areas you described, and those changes are carrying momentum.

  • Keith G. Cooper

    The Pope is our New Jesus!

    • Gregory Paul Smith

      That is taking it a bit too far, but at least he is fulfilling his role as the spokesman for Jesus. I applaud him!