The life of St. Francis is subject to much sentimental hype because of his love for creation and his identification with the poor. The saccharine images on holy cards and sculptures in gardens don’t help the matter. And Zeffirelli’s hippie-revolutionary film version of the saint is positively infuriating. Pope Francis seems be subject to the same kind of misinterpretaion.
The media and the Catholic propagandists on the left and the right will continue to mythologize about St. Francis and Pope Francis’ selection of the name. The pope himself has said the reason for the choice of name has to do with “peace” and “poverty.” Oh, those two words: two little threads out of which the propagandists will weave a rope to hang us all with. Sandro Magister puts it well:
In the pseudo-Franciscan and pauperist mythology that in these days so many are applying to the new pope, imagination runs to a Church that would renounce power, structures, and wealth and make itself purely spiritual.
But it is not for this that the saint of Assisi lived. In the dream of Pope Innocent III painted by Giotto, Francis is not demolishing the Church, but carrying it on his shoulders. And it is the Church of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of the bishop of Rome, at that time recently restored and decorated lavishly, but made ugly by the sins of its men, who had to be purified. It was a few followers of Francis who fell into spiritualism and heresy. Continue reading