Pope Francis is definitely cultivating a cool pope persona. He was named person of the year by the Advocate, he refuses to wear celebratory ermine-lined capes, and he gives liberal-minded interviews. But there’s still that whole, you know, pope thing. He’s the head of a huge conservative church and opposes things like gay adoption accordingly.
This week, Francis shared his take on the Internet, and it’s very positive. He says he has major concerns about wealth disparity and laments the irony of scenarios in which the impoverished live alongside symbols of opulence. He hopes that communication advances will make it easier for all of us to be neighbors. And then he says: The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God.
Pope Francis says he likes to think of communication as neighborlines, and a means for recognizing each of our human-ness. He says, It is not enough to be passersby on the digital highways, simply connected’; connections need to grow into true encounters.
And then he says the part that’s probably the strongest endorsement of the Internet: Let us boldly become citizens of the digital world. The Church needs to be concerned for, and present in, the world of communication. Reconciling church doctrine with modern realities is a necessity for the Vatican, and it seems like the cool pope is on it.