I gave up on the Catholic Church too many years ago to count, as have many nominal Cat-licks. There's just no way to maintain one's faith in the face of an institution so rotten to the core.
And then comes Francis, Pope in Rome, to seem to say, "Well, what is to be done, then? What are we to do about it, eh?"
Left to their own devices, institutions -- whether the Church (yes, I still call it that) or governments or major market enterprises -- fail. They fail themselves, they fail their duty, their communities, and in the case of the greatest institutions, they fail the world.
I've written fairly extensively since about 2000 on the topic of The Failure of Institutions in the post-modern era. The Catholic Church seemed to be leading the way, demonstrating daily how to fail monumentally... and yet survive. Hollowed out, perhaps. Irrelevant. But still there.
So here we had a case of a Nazi-Pope retiring... and a new fellow from Argentina, well known around the Curia but hardly known to the public outside Buenos Aires, being elected Pope and all of a sudden he's out there using his bully pulpit not so much to condemn and denounce and demean and discourage (Benedict, creature of the Inquisition, never could get over that part of his "ministry") as to uplift and encourage and call out the real evils that have for too long been tolerated if not actively undertaken by his Holy Institution. It's time for change.
And so, millions of people around the world, Catholic and no, have hope again, whereas many of those who have given up on the Church are in wonder at this man and his humility, his humor and his good cheer. Hope that he will reform the Church? No. Not that. But at least he might put a more human face on it. Somewhat less ghoulish is always good, yes?
Meanwhile, the mean people are OUTRAGED!!!!™ It's hard to explain what a big change this is, for until very, very recently, it was the good people who were constantly seething with impotent rage at the blindness and cruelties of their Betters. That the good people should be in a constant state of rage and rebellion at the depredations of the Overclass, but would never be able to do anything about it was taken for granted as the way things were supposed to be. The Overclass laughed at the impotence of the masses, remember? It wasn't all that long ago.
And then comes Francis and says, "You know, this has got to change." The world turned upside down.
The cruelties haven't ended, but the Overclass isn't laughing any more. And more and more, governments are once again wondering if they should actually pay attention to their people rather than continue to rule contrary to the public interest.
"Other things to come."