Tags: Mark Shriver | Pope Francis | Admired

Author Mark Shriver: Pope Francis, Initially Disliked, Now Admired by All Faiths

(MSNBC/"Morning Joe")

By    |   Monday, 26 Dec 2016 01:08 PM

Pope Francis has come under some criticism over his leadership style and actions, but there are many people — and not necessarily Catholics — who are inspired by his message of humility and mercy, Mark Shriver, who has written an extensive book about his search for the "real Pope," said Monday.

"It's a 2,000-year-old institution, and clearly, there are cardinals who have come out publicly and questioned his leadership style and what he's doing and saying," Shriver, the nephew of President John F. Kennedy and president of the Save the Children Action Network, told political commentator Mike Barnicle in an interview airing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

"But I think there's always a lot of support for him, not only in the Vatican, you know, hierarchy, if you will, but I have talked to countless atheists, Jews, other denominate protestants, that are really inspired by his message of mercy and trying to live humbly, and I think he's got a lot of support in that regard," Shriver continued.

The Pope, though, is talking about some "pretty radical" ideas, including about having women as deacons, meaning "women will be on the altar preaching," said Shriver, author of "Pilgrimage: My Search for the Real Pope Francis."

Shriver has spent several years working on his book, including traveling to Pope Francis' Argentian homeland to learn more information about the pontiff.

And in just a few words, Shriver said he'd describe the pope as being both humble and merciful.

"[It is] different from being nice to somebody or writing a bigger check to your favorite nonprofit," said Shriver. "He wants you to dig in and have a relationship of intimacy with your neighbors and with God, and that changes the essence of who you are if you get that level of intimacy and mercy."

He did learn, though, of the pope's fall and two-year exile, which occurred because he was a "very authoritarian" Jesuit leader.

"He split the Jesuit order in half," Shriver said. "Really, half the group loved him and the other half really despised him. [He was] very traditional in his values."

In addition, the 1970s, during Pope Francis' more troubled years, Argentina and South America was filled with troubled elements, including communism, said Shriver.

"Everybody I talked to down in Argentina told me it was so unstable that the Army didn't know what the Navy was doing, and nobody knew what the police force was doing," said Shriver. "The bottom line is not one Jesuit died when he was in charge of the Jesuits."

But the big change came during that exile, when he "clothed and bathed dying Jesuits and he listened to confession, that was his only job," said Shriver.

"Imagine being banished, if you will, to the interior of Argentina from Buenos Aires where he's born, and raised and loves, and two years without a job description.That made him look inward and realize he needed to be more of a consultant with people."

And now, the pope, who said he was a "sinner" when he was asked to be pope, has approached the job with joy and has been "joyful ever since."

"He's put on a lot of weight, and he was always committed to working with the poor, accompanying the poor on their journey, and that's what the book is about," said Shriver.

"It's a series of stories and interviews with people who aren't the big shots, who are the guys who collect the garbage, moms who lost their kids in disasters, people that are really local human beings in Argentina."

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Pope Francis has come under some criticism over his leadership style and actions, but there are many people - and not necessarily Catholics- who are inspired by his message of humility and mercy, Mark Shriver...
Mark Shriver, Pope Francis, Admired
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2016-08-26
Monday, 26 Dec 2016 01:08 PM
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