Op-Ed: Why Pope Francis gives Catholicism a new life

by Meg Storm

Can Pope Francis “save” the Catholic Church in the way the American media has endlessly discussed these last several weeks? The answer, quite simply, is no. By all accounts Francis is as conservative as his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. Yesterday, TheBlaze’s Billy Hallowell reported that “on contraceptives and gay marriage, he has, in the past, taken strict, conservative stances.”

But can Pope Francis work to ensure the Catholic Church remains vibrant and relevant for years to come? The answer, quite simply, is a resounding yes. And, as a 22-year-old practicing Catholic and staunch conservative, this is a time of great hope and prayer.

It is undeniable that the state of Catholicism in the United States is troubled. From the closing of Catholic schools around the country due to of a lack of funding, to the sex-abuse scandal that has rightfully plagued the Church for the last decade, to views on homosexuality and contraception that are considered antiquated and intolerant in the more liberal society we now inhabit, the Church faces more than its fair share of challenges both in the U.S. and abroad.

National Geographic compiled remarkable data that shows just how much the demographics of the Catholic Church have changed over the past century. What was once a religion dominated by Europeans, is now an institution that finds its greatest support in Latin America and Africa.

Photo Credit: National Geographic/Alexander Stegmail, Maggie Smith, NGM Staff

On one hand, this is a major victory for not only Catholics, but Christianity as a whole. Missions to war-torn, impoverished, and developing nations across Africa and South America have yielded tremendous results for the faith. As of 2010, 13 percent of the world’s 1.6 billion Catholics reside in Brazil and 9 percent in Mexico. African nations have also seen tremendous gains. On the other hand, France, which in 1900 had the largest population of Catholics at 15 percent, now accounts for less than 5 percent of the Church’s followers. Similar trends can be found in Spain, Poland, and Italy.

Ironically, the United States has remained relatively stable over the years, hovering at around 7 percent of the world’s Catholic population since 1970. But according to the 2010 U.S. Religious Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study, there are 58,934,906 Catholics in the United States down 5 percent from the 2000 report. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the largest growing Catholic population in the U.S. is in the Hispanic community, with a February Gallup poll finding 54 percent of Hispanics identify as Catholic (this number, however, is down 4 percent from 2008).

While demographics and numbers certainly do not tell the whole story, the election of a Pope from a Latin American country is significant and signals a shift (however slight) in the Catholic Church. Putting issues like contraception and homosexuality aside, common arguments against the Church suggest that there is too large a gap between the Church hierarchy and the laity.

While moral guidance certainly comes from the Bible, declining Church attendance seems to corroborate the idea that people are less motivated by the Vatican and more motivated by their own conscious and conviction. In an article for the German Deutsche Welle, "US Catholicism at a crossroad," author William D’Antoni explained that, especially in America, a culture of individualism works against the traditional structure of the Church. "It is this idea of personal autonomy. You are responsible for your behavior. There is this basic cultural norm that goes way back to the early pilgrims and protestant leaders of the society. Catholics have taken that and modified it around the conscience idea,” D’Antonti said.

While those who regularly attend mass may find themselves inspired by the homily of a beloved parish priest, the Catholic Church in the U.S. fails to reach out to those who have been alienated or gone astray. While persistent and effective missions throughout Latin America and Africa have brought a substantial number of people to the faith, the Church seldom mobilizes its forces in the United States and Europe in the same way, perhaps accounting for the declining rates in those regions.

I am not sure that this pope, or any pope for that matter, can right the ship and reengage those who have left the faith. Furthermore, there will be a tremendous debate, especially among conservatives, about the ramifications of having a Jesuit pope. I for one take pause at some of the comments Pope Francis has made in the past regarding economic inequality and social justice. Yet I find myself cautiously optimistic that in a world grappling with the realities of how to provide for the least among us, Pope Francis has the ability to profoundly redefine the role of the Church in this problem.

In the United States alone, the government has overtaken churches as the primary source of welfare and charity. We have become more dependent on the government because far too often people find themselves with no other option. But Pope Francis, with his firsthand experience and documented devotion to the poor, could help to reverse this trend. Reminding Catholics near and far of the good work done by Catholic charities and missions throughout history, may revitalize a community of people who feel disheartened by a problem that seems too large for any one person to solve. Francis alone cannot effect such change, but in harmony with the Catholic cardinals, bishops, priests, and laity around the world, the Church can once again emerge as a global leader of charity and serving the needs of the poor.

It is no secret the Catholic Church finds itself at a crossroad but with the leadership and experience Pope Francis appears to offer, this is a historical moment not just for the Church but for the role of religion more broadly. Moreover, this is an especially exciting time to be a Catholic.

Award-winning investigative journalist Lara Logan told Glenn Beck on the radio program Wednesday that a network of radical extremist terrorist organizations, which includes Antifa, are coordinating and escalating many of the violent riots in the wake of George Floyd's death.

Lara, who has done extensive reporting on Antifa, said it's "extraordinary" that so many Americans in the media and politics are defending the "very violent terrorist organization."

"[The media is] pretending that they care about journalism. They don't. They care about silencing, intimidating, destroying, annihilating, and getting us all to self-sensor so we don't cover any of the subjects they don't want us talking about," she said.

"For those of us who've followed [Antifa] for a while, and know what they're doing and what their agenda is, what has always been troubling is the way so many people in the media and in the political establishment have given them cover to operate," Laura added. "These are extremists. And you see a lot of parallels between extremists on the left and the right ... they pretty much operate the same way, exactly. And there's no difference between what Antifa is doing and the 'Brown Shirts' of Nazi Germany. Or the 'Black Shirts' of Mussolini."

She read the 10 points of action listed by an extremist group called the "Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement", which culminates with "Liberation begins where America dies."

Glenn recalled a prediction he made approximately 15 years ago, that "socialist, communists, radicals, anarchists, [and] Islamists would all work together ... they would all see the opportunity and work toward the same goal. And that's destruction of capitalism, and destruction of the Western world."

"A few years ago, I probably would not have agreed with you on that," Laura responded. "But I now see that you're absolutely correct."

Watch the video below to hear Lara detail evidence to expose the truth about Antifa:

Media targets Lara Logan for exposing the truth about Antifa

The media pretends to care about good journalism, but what they really care about silencing, intimidating, destroying, annihilating and getting us all to...


Use code GLENN to save $10 off one year of your subscription.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

The Trump-deranged media is calling the president a "coward" because he was moved to an underground bunker as riots erupted outside the White House over the weekend.

Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino joined the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Tuesday to set the record straight. He told Glenn that under Title 18, US Code 3056, the Secret Service has the authority to protect the president however they deem necessary, with or without his consent.

Dan explained that the severity of the White House riots, which resulted in at least 50 Secret Service agents being injured, would very likely have warranted overriding the president's preference on whether or not to take shelter.

"Shame on the media ... for painting this as some kind of situation where Trump ran like a coward," Dan said. "Which is totally false and made-up. [...] They're morons. These are imbeciles with double digit IQs who are only in this to aggravate an already-bad situation. And it's a shame, because they're really incentivizing this kind of stuff to happen."

He also made it clear that the so-called protests over the death of George Floyd were actually "very strategic" riots organized by "Antifa terrorists."

"It was not even a protest. It should have been, and could have been ... but that's not what it was. It was an insurrection. It was a riot," Dan stated.

"I can tell you, from sources of mine that were there, [who are] more than credible and unimpeachable, that the attack at the White House -- and that's what it was over a period of days -- was very organized. It was done using very strategic tactics," he added. "I want to be crystal clear, this was organized by Antifa terrorists. It's not a joke. It's not hyperbole. These were people that were committed to an insurrection that was thankfully put down."

Watch the video below for more details:

Dan Bongino: Trump is NOT a Coward Hiding in a Bunker


Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

The media has been trying to discredit BlazeTV's Elijah Schaffer after he recorded a disturbing video of a man being brutally beaten and stoned almost to death by rioters Saturday evening in Dallas.

Elijah joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Monday to set the record straight.

"The very dishonest far-left media is working tirelessly at the moment to completely, not only discredit myself, but they always say, 'Elijah Schaffer who works for Glenn Beck's BlazeTV.' As if that's an insult. So I'm going to clear the air right now," he told Glenn.

"There was a group of about, I would say 150 rioters. They were not protesters. They were breaking windows. They broke into a bank. They broke into a bar. They were looting alcohol and partying on the streets while breaking glass. These were not people who were grieving over black lives," he added. "The police had lost control of the city."

Elijah went on to describe the violent scene, detailing the events leading up to the brutal beating of a man who was apparently trying to defend a local bar. Elijah posted a video of the incident on Twitter Saturday night.

*Warning: graphic content*

"Rioters with rocks and bricks and bats and weapons, 150 or more, were accosting him as he stood in front of the bar," Elijah said. "Then they started stoning him, Glenn! Medieval! Throwing rocks and bricks.... We're in America. This is 2020. We do not stone people in the United States of America!"

Watch the video below for more details:

*Warning: graphic content*

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

A new Pew Research Center report shows the death toll in the United States from COVID-19 is "heavily concentrated" in Democratic congressional districts.

According to the analysis, more than half of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. occurred in just 44 (approximately 10 percent of) congressional districts, and 41 of those 44 hardest-hit districts are represented by Democrats, while only three are represented by Republicans.

"A new Pew Research Center analysis of data on official reports of COVID-19 deaths, collected by the John Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, finds that, as of last week, nearly a quarter of all the deaths in the United States attributed to the coronavirus have been in just 12 congressional districts – all located in New York City and represented by Democrats in Congress. Of the more than 92,000 Americans who had died of COVID-19 as of May 20 (the date that the data in this analysis was collected), nearly 75,000 were in Democratic congressional districts," Pew reported.

Filling in for Glenn Beck on the radio program this week, Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere argued that, while the coronavirus should never have been made into a partisan issue, the study certainly makes a strong statement in favor of GOP leadership.

Watch the video below:


Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.