A Pope Francis Ethic?

‘Religious Police’

have me mending my ways.

There’s nothing like rattan [cane]

For helping one praise.

I’m halfway to heaven;

with God I’ve made peace.

He tells me hell’s full of

‘Religious Police’.

Geoff Page, ‘Religious Police’ in Cloudy Nouns, (2012: 54-55)

Excerpts from Geoff Page’s poem ‘Religious Police’ provide a handy preamble to this post on Pope Francis.  As a Catholic I find Pope Francis refreshing. What follows is an impression of his life and recent interview with Jesuit media. It does not reflect official views.  It was written some weeks ago, but, time… well… it gets away.



by the man



and person

Who speaks

with actions

as much

as with words.


some were

By his reportedly

shift in emphasis

of the ‘big ticket’

moral slogans.



secure within their


need to hear

the words



as if

pencilling places

in a pre-packed profile


convention commands

a Pope must do.

But Francis,

surprised us again!

Is he really


from the ‘done thing’?

Or is he inviting,

coaxing us,

to ponder why

we do or say

what we do?

Might he be drawing us

to delve deeper?

To dive the depths

of the waters

of our baptismal faith,

to come to know

the wellspring,

Christ himself,

and why his actions,

and words

mean that we

speak and live

in a certain way.

Is he training us

to stand aside

from our supposed role,


sentinels safeguarding

systems of statutes?

Away from being

intense inquisitors,

to be a cheerful charitable.

That we may be people

living like persons

who follow a

personal God

who loved us first,

and then,

called us

to live

in that love,

sharing it with others.

We are not

people of a book,


as Bible and Catechism may be.

They are not the living God,

but commentaries

and pointers,

helping us to enter

into the conversation,

with God whom they describe.

There comes a time,

when just knowing about God

falls away.

And then,

we must meet

with God.

God shown to us

in witnesses,

like Pope Francis,

who invite us

to also encounter

God for ourselves,

that we too

may then


be witnesses.

23 September 2013.

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