The Celebritization of Pope Francis: Living ‘Life of Brian’ In America

Instasize_0925120051To say there’s a disconnect between the hyperbolic fanfare surrounding Pope Francis in the U.S. and the expressed ethos of the man himself would be an understatement. Certain segments of the press and public have clearly decided the pope is going to be their celebrity whether he likes it or not. (He doesn’t like it.)

It was a given that he would receive a dignitary’s welcome, and of course, many of the faithful would flock to see him. Understood. But… the media coverage quickly took on a very messiah-meets-Bieber fever’ish tone. CNN even dubbed him the “new Mandela,” but the over-the-top fanfare is looking more like the new MJ, circa ’84.

To be clear, I understand the broader historical and religious context of his visit to the United States being a big deal. I get it. But, the coverage morphing from serious to celebrity does more to whip up fair-weather fans of the man (Pope Francis) himself than it does to inspire followers of the faith he’s trying to represent and share with the world. Yes, he is a man of science, but saying “God is not a magician” doesn’t negate his belief that God is responsible for the Big Bang and evolution.

He’s being ‘Brianized’–Ok, I made up that word, but go with it–in memes of cherry picked progressive secular-friendly views, but what happens to those secular viewers’ admiration when he expresses scriptural views that run afoul of their secular sensibilities?

Not saying that his secular appeal is inherently vapid, just pointing out the irony of superstar status being bestowed upon such a pope who literally vowed to be nothing of a sort. Watching some of the media coverage of his trip felt like watching Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian.’ (Hence, ‘Brianized.’)

Pope Francis is a Jesuit, an order of priests also known as The Society of Jesus. I would hope that when presuming to honor him, America would remember that he professes to be a follower of Jesus, not Jesus Himself. I don’t see him having an “Ok, I AM the messiah!” moment and telling his newfangled faction of fair-weather fickle flock to “F*ck off!” But… I can’t say I’d blame him if he did. #dontBSyourself


11 thoughts on “The Celebritization of Pope Francis: Living ‘Life of Brian’ In America

  1. Well…since you mention it like that I have to say I am a HUGE Pope Francis friend, even before this trip. I am so enamored by how in -tune he is with so much of my passionate beliefs, but damn if I didn’t get a little irked on one stance and the way he presented it…but I made a mental note to check myself too!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That happened to both and atheist friend and [gay] marriage equality friend of mine. They were so in-tune with some of his views on poverty, science, and tolerance of other beliefs (or disbelief) that when he quietly dropped a few live grenades on issues close to them, they felt some type of way. They ‘forgot’ he’s a religious leader. He reminded them.


      1. (Ok, I’m new here. Why do I have to know my id and pw to “like”?? See Sunn, I don’t change technically much do I? haha). Anyway…yes, although I was feeling his spirit too, I was taken aback by my own response to the fact I heard something I disagreed with. I really did immediately check myself that I had a personal bias to it and to pause for reflection on what he said. I didn’t change my mind but I still thoughtfully considered the view point. And his was not deal-breaker by any means.


  2. I totally agree. I M a practicing Catholic and honestly Pope Francis is the first Pope I have paid attention to because in many ways he is delivering the real message. However, when it comes to gays and abortion I do not support the church’s rigid stance so I just choose to turn the other cheek.

    And I also, cannot “like” without entering ID/PW but can cement which seems a little strange.


  3. While he and I have differing views on some things, as I do with most people given that I am not a Christian, I really do like this man. He seems to be exactly what is needed in the world. He seems to have a genuine humility, and I beyond respect that.

    He seems, from what I understand of Christianity, to be exactly what a Christian is supposed to be. (Admittedly, I could be wrong, because I know very little about Christianity.)


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