Pope Francis is hotter than ever, being Time’s person of the year and all, and people are continously thrilled to see that this is a pope who really cares about the poor and wounded, a pope that criticizes capitalism, wash the feet of young prisoners, and invites the homeless for his birthday meal. A recent article in the Huffington Post discusses how Francis clearly has been impacted by Latin American liberation theology, and it also points out that his Argentinian background has left an impact on him that is seldomly discussed in the media, namely charismatic fire.
On his flight from Rio de Janeiro back to Rome, pope Francis said:
I’ll tell you something about the Charismatic Movement … at the end of the ’70s and in the ’80s, I wasn’t a big fan. I used to say they confused the holy liturgy with a school of samba. I was converted when I got to know them better and saw the good they do. In this moment of the life of the church, the movements are necessary. They’re a grace of the Spirit, and in general, they do much good for the church. The charismatic renewal movement isn’t just about winning back a few Pentecostals, but it serves the church and its renewal.
I have previously pointed out Francis’ love for the gifts of the Spirit, or charisms, in his famous writing Evangelii Gaudum. The charismatic renewal within the Catholic church is especially strong in Latin America, as this clip from the Catholic News Service shows:
Thus, Francis truly walks in the footsteps of Francis of Assissi, combining passionate love for the poor and social justice with charismatic fire and belief in miracles. I’m not a Catholic, but I praise God when I see how Christ-like and Biblical pope Francis is. We need more people like that. Many, many more.