People just can’t get enough of the new pope. Not since Pope Benedict the XVI retired and the Vatican rebooted the papacy with Francis, the first originally named pope since — I s**t you not — Pope Lando in 913 A.D. (John Paul I doesn’t count because his name was just combined his two direct predecessors.’)
But they didn’t just give him a fancy unnumbered title and lens flare. With each news story, Francis acts a little more how each of us, Catholic and non, would like to see a pope act, which is usually not like any pope we’ve known in our lifetimes.
In fact, he’s so un-pope-like that … well, what if he’s being pope ironically? I’m not confident enough in my afterlife to outright call the holy see a hipster, but here’s evidence that, were it anyone else, would cause even the juicer at Whole Foods to throw their douche flag. (It’s dry quinoa wrapped in a keffiyeh, bound with old timey packaging twine.)
Judge for yourself … y’know, unless ye be judged first or whatever.
Going back to the beginning, the first headlines were about how he refuses to wear the designer red shoes that traditionally come with his office. Instead, he wears simple black dress shoes — basically the kind you look for at Payless before that big court date or second wedding.
When it comes to humility, this guy has it all the way down to his sole, amiright? (I have just been told that I am right, but also an ass.)
Or … did he spend hours picking out the exact shoes that say, “I’m the kind of guy who looks like he doesn’t care about what he wears on his feet?”
And then there’s his car.
First, he refused to ride around in the bulletproof Popemobile while visiting Brazil. Is it that he doesn’t believe in putting up barriers between people and their spiritual leaders … or, did he worry that looking at Rio through bulletproof glass wouldn’t be “authentic” enough?
Then, back in July, he gave priests grief for driving “latest model cars.” Could it be that he wants priests to adopt a more humble lifestyle …
Or, is he just jelly because he drives a 1983 Chevy Renault? Either way, he comes up smelling like roses, except when he smells like gasoline, but who knows if that’s from working on his car or dabbing some behind his ears so that he smells like a tinkerer?
He’s also big into the internet, granting some of his more participatory followers shorter times in purgatory, making retweeting the official new “Hail Mary.”
He’s also really big into some liberal issues. Well, big for a Catholic leader, anyway. And he’s not just liberal, he’s indifferent. Gay? Pfft, not for him to judge. Atheist? Meh, you’ll probably still get into heaven, but you’ll have to stand in line behind the Protestants. He cares and yet doesn’t at the same time!
But there are two liberal issues that he’s willing to dispense with irony for: poor people and being anti-war. Coupled with his modest apartment in Vatican City, and it’s clear that Pope Frank’s Occupying Apostolic Palace.
OK, so maybe I’m grasping at straws here. After all, hipsters pretty much subverted genuineness by putting a silly fedora on it and making it walk backwards because that’s the opposite of what people expect.
But, there’s still one more piece of evidence.
Recently, people reported receiving phone calls from the pope in response to letters they wrote.
In one case, he called a divorced woman whose married boyfriend got her pregnant and tried to pressure her into an abortion. (The boyfriend, not the pope, obvs.) When she said she was worried about “running afoul of the Church,” Pope Francis said he would personally baptize her child when he or she is born.
In another, he called an Argentinian woman who had been raped by police, asking her to try to have faith in the justice system.
He even called a guy whose brother had been killed in a gas station robbery, just to tell him that his letter had made him cry.
That’s right: the pope uses his phone for talking. Isn’t that so retro?!