Yesterday, I attended Mass at St. Joseph Church in Willimantic, Connecticut. It was Catechetical Sunday, and there was a note from the pastor, Father Laurence LaPointe, about this in the bulletin, in which he wrote these words:
Our most recent popes seem to have exemplified those qualities [prayer, study, exercising our beliefs in action] for us in spectacular fashion. When we think of the smiling and gregarious Pope John Paul II we most often see him presented in photography and in memory as deep in prayer. Pope Benedict with the brilliance of his intellect and the simplicity of his teaching style instructed us as few before him were able to do. And Pope Francis has captured the popular imagination by putting his faith and ours into conspicuous and stunning practice.
The phrase "conspicuous and stunning practice" rings so true, and the sense that each of these very different popes have contributed their gifts to the Church, no sense of comparing one to another with the objective of demeaning or criticizing. Notice to all disgruntled bishops: Is it that hard to see why people are excited about Pope Francis? Note to the nuncio: There are priests like Fr. LaPointe out there who would make fine bishops!