Home Communications Pope iOS 7 – Is there substance beneath the style?

Pope iOS 7 – Is there substance beneath the style?

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Commentary by Patrick Scriven, Director of Communications and Young People’s Ministries

This week found millions of people upgrading their iPhones to iOS 7. Web traffic analysis suggested a strong early adoption rate of nearly 1/3 of iPhone users in the first 24 hours; something unheard of in the world of operating systems. While the early reviews of the update were largely positive there were a few people who were disappointed with it.

Among my friends there were two common complaints. The first were from those disappointed by the bold aesthetic changes, which is, of course, a matter of taste. The second complaint was more substantive. Several people expressed that the update’s changes were little more than window dressing with no real game changing features underneath.

This week’s headlines brought yet another wave of good press for Pope Francis.He gave a wide ranging interview to the Italian Jesuit Journal La Civiltà Cattolica which was covered widely by the secular and religious press alike. As has been the case in recent months, Francis displayed a fresh sensibility and openness that stands in stark contrast to the image many have of Roman Catholicism and the church in general. Quotes like the following suggest a spirit willing to wrestle with deep questions:

A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’

The early reviews of Pope Francis have been largely positive with many like The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart going so far as to declare their love for this man. Now there are some traditionalists within his flock who are disappointed by the bold statements, which is, of course, a matter of taste. But I wonder if time will lead to a second category of complaint, if the lovely statements which suggest so much aren’t followed by substantive, real change in the church.

Pope Francis has shown an uncanny knack for speaking to the issues of the day in ways which allow us to project our hope and visions for a renewed church upon him.  But eventually his papacy is going to need to move beyond those endearingly personal phone calls. It will need to offer some game-changing solutions that address the substantive problems he has shown some willingness to name. Will Francis‘ church deal seriously with the challenges exacerbated by so many years of burying one’s mitered head in the sand? Only time will tell.

At the very least, Pope Francis has bought his church some of that needed time to reengage and discern its role in a world that is rapidly changing. If he is successful in initiating the Vatican 5s level change that one would argue necessary, we might even begin to see Android (Protestant) users returning to the iOS platform (Roman Catholicism). Stranger things have happened.


Photo Credit: Composite image by the author based on Creative Commons image by Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk

1 COMMENT

  1. It is a beautiful gentling of rhetoric regarding the church’s focus on LGBTQ issues. But he didn’t say the church was wrong. From his interview, “The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

    So maybe it is a flashy new OS without substantial changes underneath. For my female RCC sisters drawn to the priesthood and my LGBTQ sisters and brothers, there is no change in policy or how they are treated.

    It is an very difficult situation. And sad.

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