A New Communicator for A New Evangelization: The Pope’s “Franciscan” Communication Style

Authored by Martha Fernández-Sardina in Issue #1.2 of The Catechetical Review

Without a doubt, Pope Francis can draw a crowd. He catches people’s attention. He continues to intrigue and interest people. He moves them to think and share—people of all backgrounds and persuasions, young and old alike, inside and outside the Church. However, he remains in some ways an enigmatic pope whose words and gestures, priorities and preferences can cause a bit of a stir and some confusion—regularly and from day one.

To some degree, his appeal is simply due to the fact that he is the pope. Interest in the pope has been on the upswing for decades from John Paul II to Francis, drawing large crowds to papal events inside and outside the Vatican. Whether the world admits it or not, the Vicar of Christ is a leader, is looked at and listened to—even by mockers. The fact that this pope draws the daily attention of so many outsiders, including non-believers, is undeniable.

Why? What is his pope appeal that is likewise creating so many waves?

For one, Pope Francis tweets regularly. We also see and hear Pope Francis more often than we did his predecessors thanks to his daily homilies. He preaches every morning at a Mass that resembles a weekday Mass at a neighborhood parish. The preacher pope almost always delves into the scripture readings of the day, connecting them to everyday life. Much like Jesus, when preaching in his day, Pope Francis addresses both the haughty and the humble—with harsh and kind words, respectively. His preaching style is shocking to some and refreshing to others. He weighs in on a variety of current issues in newsworthy ways, not unlike many of his predecessors. He speaks openly with reporters and even grants unusual interviews—to liberals and conservatives, atheists and Catholics, Protestants and secular media outlets. He stimulates thought and discussion, even debate and headache. He is continuously novel, speaking of old things in new ways and of new things in stimulating ways. Without a doubt, his words and gestures can barely go unnoticed, and his Franciscan communication style is unique. This is by design. He is a man on a mission, a purpose-driven padre. He arrived on the Catholic and world scene as a new communicator for a new evangelization.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting editor@catechetics.com

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Learning to Live the Catholic Faith
By Dr. James Pauley
Free What does it mean to learn the Catholic Faith? Certainly there are names and historical periods that are important. Essential revealed truths must be understood. This is so because it is God’s revelation that has been entrusted to the Church, a revelation that all the baptized have a right and a need to hear and understand over a lifetime. There... Read more
Pastoral Accompaniment and Catechetics
By William Keimig
This article is the first of a two-part discussion of an area of critical importance for those working in any ministry setting—clergy or laity—whose interactions with others require mentoring skills, evangelical hospitality, ongoing pastoral interactions in the course of catechetical work, small group facilitation, parenting, nurturing, and... Read more
Tailored Accountability: The Art of Pastoral Accompaniment
By Carole M. Brown
This article opens with stories of Jan Tyranowski and Karol Wojtyla, Saints Ignatius, Peter Faber and Francis Xavier to supply us with a picture of the value of real pastoral accompaniment, wherein a more personally directed style of formation takes place, either alongside traditional classroom catechesis, or, for a season at least, instead of the... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now