Pope Francis’s Lessons for the GOP

The new pope hasn’t been afraid to challenge the entrenched interests that have sullied his church’s perception. His style of reaching out is just what might save the Republican Party.



On the heels of Pope Francis’s triumphant visit to Brazil for World Youth Day, the humble pontiff is reinvigorating the Catholic Church after a time of scandal by reaching out, advancing reforms that threaten powerful special interests and leading by example.


Nicolas Tanner/AP

In contrast, Pope Francis is the ultimate outsider, the first South American pontiff in centuries, reflecting and embracing the demographic changes transforming the Catholic Church. He is an unapologetic believer in building a big tent, telling bishops in Rio, “We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities, when so many people are waiting for the Gospel. … Let us courageously look to pastoral needs, beginning on the periphery, with those who are farthest away, with those who do not usually go to church.” This is a pope who remembers what so many self-styled conservatives often forget: that the essence of evangelism is winning new converts.

Hammering home his inclusive vision, Pope Francis even said that even atheists might enter heaven through good works. “We must meet one another doing good,” he said. “‘But I don’t believe, father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: We will meet one another there.”

The new pope has also fearlessly called for reforms within the Vatican, cleaning house at the Vatican bank and seeking to finally root out the horrific sexual scandals that have stained the church’s reputation.

Much of the modern Republican Party is seems content preaching to a smaller and smaller choir.