Lecture Stresses Direct Pastoral Approach in Francis’ Communication Style

Church CommunicationFr. John Wauck, a Vatican expert and faculty member of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome's Communications Department, discussed Pope Francis' remarkable communication style on Friday, Sept. 20, during a Theology Department-hosted lecture.

In his lecture, titled ""Church Communication in the Age of Francis," Wauck emphasized Francis' personal and pastoral approach to communication.

"Fr. Wauck noted that Francis feels free to speak as an individual Catholic, whereas Benedict tried to speak chiefly as pope," said Christopher Malloy, associate professor of theology.

"Benedict was content to let the message speak for itself. He treated himself as irrelevant to the truth," said Wauck. "But with Francis, something else is happening."

"Francis is comfortable letting his personality show in a way that Benedict deliberately avoided doing," said Wauck.

Wauck contrasted the different ways the Pope and Pope Emeritus embody humility, citing Benedict's more self-effacing style and Francis' natural often non-verbal actions, like paying his hotel bill after the conclave ended.

The bottom line, according to Wauck, is that Francis' communication style is centered on the authenticity of the direct pastoral approach.

"The Holy Spirit is guiding the Church and giving it what it needs at each moment in history," said Wauck.

In response to a question, Wauck stressed that interpretations of the pope as a progressive intent on changing church teaching are "wishful thinking."

Wauck has appeared frequently as a television commentator on matters dealing with the Catholic Church. He has written for many publications, including The American Scholar, The Christian Science Monitor and The New Criterion.

PHOTO: Agencia Brasil

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