Understanding the mind of Pope Francis

Paul A. McGavin

From the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has not been averse to engaging with difficult and delicate areas of pastoral concern, aspects of which Paul McGavin explores in this article. The author is a retired priest-academic of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn.

pope francisTo portray a mind would take far more words than is possible in a brief article  -  for minds are complex and as varied as personalities and cultures. When speaking, Pope Francis often makes reference to what the expression would be in Spanish, rather than only in the language that he is speaking. In everyday things, he often refers to his culture that in general terms is Latin American.

That is, minds are also cultural, and at times it can be a mind-bending experience to reach cross-cultural understanding. Similarly, it is often mind-bending to understand different personality types. Further, differences in human and religious formation and differences in life experiences challenge our understandings.

In brief, to speak to understanding a mind is to speak selectively, to speak to certain mental traits. This article attempts to portray the mind of Pope Francis in ways that may contribute to understanding aspects of his mind that are seemingly at odds with different manners of thinking in the Church. My purpose is to show consistency where some people find inconsistency.

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