Attacking the “idolatry of money” Francis pleased socialists in particular by urging politicians to guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education and health care”.
South Africans may recognise “dignified work” from some ANC speeches, but let’s not forget how certain leaders in that party idolise money and its trappings.
Calling for a renewal of the Catholic church, Francis said he prefers a “church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security”.
This is indeed bracing stuff, which may go a long way to re-energising the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, 177 million of whom live in Africa.
However, those who now laud the Pope for “bringing the church into to 21st century” may have missed his reaffirmation that women may not be ordained.
That’s not the only issue on which critics deem the church to be behind the times. But it’s enough to give pause for contemplation.