James Carroll penned an op-ed for the NY Times on Sunday, in which he pondered the alternating consternation and adulation with which the new pope has been met.
He speculated that much of it has to do with the pope’s insistence on pointing the institutional church towards Jesus:
Francis is pointing more to that figure than to himself, or even to the church, which is why institution-protecting conservatives are right to view him with alarm. For this pope, the church exists for one reason only — to carry the story of Jesus forward in history, and by doing that to make his presence real. Everything else is rubrics.