U.S. Catholics Express Favorable View of Pope Francis

Pope Francis continues to get high reviews from U.S. Catholics, the Pew Forum reports. (See earlier poll reports here and here.)

84% say they have a favorable impression of the new pontiff, including 43% who express a very favorable view. The contrast to Pope Benedict at the beginning of his term is striking – only 17% had a very favorable view of him.



24 responses to “U.S. Catholics Express Favorable View of Pope Francis”

  1. Michael Mueller Avatar
    Michael Mueller

    Maybe it’s because when Pope Benedict was installed, the press repeatedly referred to him in derogatory terms (“God’s Rottweiler”, “Hitler Youth Pope”, “rigid arch-conservative”, etc.), but when Pope Francis was installed, he was referred to by an endearing mainstream media as the “voice of conscience”, “advocate of the poor”, “people’s pope”, and the “pope who rides a bus.” They even spoke about how supportive he was of their pet project: global climate change. They have been fawning over him ever since.

    The media has even come around to mocking themselves for being overly-rapturous about Pope Francis, as was seen on CNN’s Reliable Sources.

    The mainstream media has never been friendly toward either the Catholic Church in general, or to Pope Benedict, the man they hold up as the archetypal defender of Catholic conservatism.

    1. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
      Anthony Ruff, OSB

      @Michael Mueller – comment #1:
      This “blame the messenger” stuff has gotta stop. It’s not the media’s “fault”!

      The media report the news, they don’t make it up. And in the case of “Rottweiler,” “rigid arch-conservative” – don’t blame the media for inventing all this. They were merely reporting what was being said in rectories and convents and universities and among parish staff for the previous many years. The media merely communicated all that to a wider public.

      And for all that, the media are very diverse, and ‘conservative’ or ‘traditional’ views are very well-represented, over-represented I think, in the blogosphere. So the general public has access to lots of info as they form their opinion.

      Mainstream media never friendly toward the Catholic Church? They certainly have been in recent weeks.


  2. Andrew rex Avatar
    Andrew rex

    Another positive news story today…

    POPE Francis’s online flock has doubled to five million Twitter followers in just seven weeks – nearly half the time it took his predecessor, Benedict XVI, to build up his following.

    The account @pontifex – the word, pope, in Latin – has tweets in nine languages, including English, Spanish, Arabic and Latin. They are snippets of religious instruction rather than insights into the pontiff’s daily life.

    The number on all nine accounts put together exceeded five million for the first time on Thursday.

    The comments on the tweets left by followers are often irreverent and chatty, with one user asking the Pope on Thursday: “How you settling in?”

    Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/world/popes-online-flock-doubles-on-twitter/story-e6frfkui-1226612921802#ixzz2PXRkL1Oh

  3. Timothy O'Brien Avatar
    Timothy O’Brien

    But in regard to comment #2 it must be because of the media since in the case of Francis there can’t have been much chat in “in rectories and convents and universities and among parish staff for the previous many years” as no-one knew about him unlike benedict. So all they know to make this judgement is what they have read/heard in the media. Indeed one should feel sorry for Francis with this result as there was plenty of upside on favourability of 17% – as proved to be the case, but not much on 84. The fact that there will be downside is clear. For example I was interested that when this site linked to the story about Francis going to lunch with priests who serve the poor there was very little comment about his statement about keeping the confessional light on to show your availability as a priest. I couldn’t help recalling the Year of the Priest when Benedict was criticised by most of the progressives now thrilled by Francis for making Jean Vianney patron of the year. He’s a model of a past paradigm blah blah blah. Now of course when Francis suggests hanging out in the confessional not a peep. because the media meme of humility that’s been established isn’t actually being celebrated in any way that suggests any difficulty or change of life for anyone. Are we assuming that we can just carry on with a totally bureaucratised church where simplicity will be defined as not wearing lace? because it’s not just the curia that’s a bureaucracy but every unit down to the local parish where everything is a set of rules. As someone with traddy leanings I was very impressed by Francis beliefs on baptising children without a great investigation of the parents. Having been through a totally idiotic and compulsory preparation course to get baptism of my first child – we were told nothing about the sacrament but rather an alarming story about what happened when the couple leading the class thought their child was going to die. Sadly I fear this approval will fall when the media realise the Pope is actually catholic.

    1. Charles Day Avatar
      Charles Day

      @Timothy O’Brien – comment #4:
      ” in the case of Francis there can’t have been much chat in “in rectories and convents and universities and among parish staff for the previous many years” as no-one knew about him unlike benedict.”

      Yes, but the media did observe him paying his hotel bill, and in fact, he did lunch with priests, and he did make his initial appearance in relatively simple garb, and he did stop his car -also open, by the way – to bless and comfort the disabled boy, and on and on. The media did not make this up, so I think Anthony is right. It simply a matter of reporting what has been observed and contrasting that with what has been observed in the past eight years. You’d have to be very disingenuous to ignore these things if you are the media.

      Whether it is true or not, his namesake is credited with saying something like “Preach the gospel always. Use words if necessary”. I think he is simply following that advice and showing us that you can be Catholic and human at the same time. I think that is a message that we can and will embrace today, but also over time. Perhaps, because of his example, when the confessionals are open, we will go to them.

      1. Fr. Allan J. McDonald Avatar

        @Charles Day – comment #5:
        Let’s face it, there are legitimate and illegitimate contrasts being made between the two popes and many in the Church as well as in the media (but not all certainly) hated Cardinal Ratzinger. He made many enemies during his time in the CDF and during his papacy. It is pay back time now. Yes, “they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love”(perhaps one of the most narcissistic, ermine fringed, scarlet mozzeta-like liturgical hymns ever!). I pray Pope Francis well. I’m glad that the Church of the Media and the Church of us rank and file Catholics love him–it will bode well for the new evangelization until he does something or many things, like his boss Jesus did, where the trial will begin and the passion will be renewed and he’ll become quite unpopular in a matter of seconds like Palm Sunday’s liturgy makes abundantly clear about Jesus.

      2. Gerard Flynn Avatar
        Gerard Flynn

        @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #6:
        You are reading the Palm Sunday liturgy with preconceived notions of the fickleness of the crowd. It’s not at all clear that the those who shouted ‘Hosnna!’ are the same as those who shouted ‘Crucify!’

        Francis doesn’t have to wait for a future date to elicit such diametrically opposed reactions. Some RotR bloggers are surpassing Houdini as they twist and contort in order to avoid the obvious conclusions.

      3. Fr. Allan J. McDonald Avatar

        @Gerard Flynn – comment #7:
        I guess I was wrong about Peter denying Him three times and Judas betraying Him, and the others “petering” out. My bad!

      4. Bill deHaas Avatar
        Bill deHaas

        @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #8:
        SPIN ALERT – Peter denying three times reminds me of the current *damage control* efforts going on.

        Some highlights about core differences (rather than what we may or may not see on some televised show or nitpicking about liturgical accidents):

        “…there seems universal agreement that the heart of Francis’ pastoral vision is a desire for a missionary church, a church that moves out into the streets to meet people where they are and to respond to their real needs, both human and spiritual. Over and over again, people who’ve lived and worked with Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio cite some version of two of his favorite sayings:
        • “A church that stays in the sacristy too long gets sick” — the idea being that remaining in an enclosed space, constantly breathing the same recycled stale air, is bad for the church’s health. The church needs to get out into the wider world in order to stay vital and alive.
        •“Teachers of the faith need to get out of their cave” — meaning that preaching to the choir is not the heart of the missionary enterprise, but rather making the faith relevant to people on the outside.
        More points:
        • Bergoglio is one of the least ideological people you’ll ever meet, more interested in concrete situations than in grand political theories.
        • The most serious opposition to Bergoglio from within the Catholic fold in Argentina consistently came from the right, not the left.
        – “A purification of heart, especially among those closest to the pope,” to fight the temptations of clericalism and careerism.

        • Making sure the various departments of the Vatican are of service to bishops’ conferences and local churches, to some extent reversing what Lozano described as a “very strong centralization” in recent years. He cited the handling of annulment cases and the translation of liturgical texts as matters that could be better handled at lower levels.

        – A “better inculturation” of the language the church uses and the pastoral strategies it employs.

        Doesn’t augur well for his spending time on the ROTR, EF, etc. Feels too *self-referential”.

      5. Jordan Zarembo Avatar
        Jordan Zarembo

        @Bill deHaas – comment #10:

        Doesn’t augur well for his spending time on the ROTR, EF, etc. Feels too *self-referential”.

        During the EF Easter Vigil at my parish this year, two were baptized and ten were confirmed. All were, to some degree or another, catechized through the extraordinary form. All were ebullient after Mass, glowing with regeneration and the seal of the Holy Spirit. In what way, then, is traditional piety and worship not conducive to the missionary spirit? Has not my parish reached into the world and drawn souls to the Church? Or, is this mission null and void because their baptisms and confirmations were administered in the low tones of a sacral language by ministers swathed in replicas of 18th century French bespoke vestments? Should we not rejoice when brothers and sisters enter the church, even through Charlemagne’s throne room?

        The false dichotomy between an artificial ideal of “outgoing” and “pastoral” Catholicism and an equally artificially distorted and maligned “intellectual” and “self-referential” Catholicism is merely a ruse of those who would not only desire an absolute imposition of one particular understanding of evangelization. Yes, Christians are obliged to feed Lazarus more than the crumbs from the table, salve his or her wounds, and, should he or she wish, offer him or her the Gospel message. Yet, who are we to tell Lazarus what is beauty, or tell him or her the way in which he or she should apprehend the Gospel? The presumption that Lazarus only understands one type of pastoral outreach, one form of liturgy, and one means of the Gospel proclamation is not charity, but indeed an insult. All persons should enter into Christ by his or her abilities and means, and not according to others’ prejudices.

        Perhaps Pope Francis will be the “pastoral pope” which many desire. He is but a man, and complex as we all are. Yet, do not be disappointed if he does not fulfill every metric of what “pastoral” “should be”.

      6. M. Jackson Osborn Avatar
        M. Jackson Osborn

        @Jordan Zarembo – comment #11:
        Hear, hear!
        Very well spoken, Jordan –
        and a thousand affirmations.

        And, for those who speak of leadership by ‘example’ rather than ‘command’, they might reflect that Benedict did indeed teach us much by example; and that example was widely chortled about, denigrated, and caricatured as hollow antiquarianism by quite a few adolescents of all ages. When someone asks us to do what is not to our liking, we call it an onerous command, in contrast to the ‘pastoral examples’ of those who tell us things we want to hear. Benedict and Francis are two sides of the same papal and Catholic coin: the example of each is of equal and inseparable validity. Methinks that St Francis of Asissi would have approved of Benedict’s example of liturgical resplendence. One cannot heap disrespect on Benedict’s legacy and at the same time claim to love Francis.

      7. Bill deHaas Avatar
        Bill deHaas

        @Jordan Zarembo – comment #11:
        Actually – you confirm exactly the concerns I have.
        – JPII, at least, gave permission within strict guidelines which would have permitted for certain age groups, etc. but did not extend to sacraments, setting up EF parishes, etc.
        – your approach….there is no RCIA …..so, a fundamental VII reform can not happen unless you do some sort of gymnastics and do RCIA but using an unreformed liturgy….does that even make sense? Yes, they may be catechized but into what? the EF (is that what RCIA or baptism is- your approach puts the liturgy (style/form) above all else.
        – yes, SP gave permission for sacraments to be done using an unreformed rite…but, what are the unintended or intended consequences of this? You baptize folks, even young folks, into an unreformed liturgy and what about their understanding of church?
        – you miss the point by defending the EF right based upon *new recruits* – what is the unintended consequence of this type of approach? Is it the *common good* or is it an approach that starts us on the slippery slope that an individual’s rights to a specific style of liturgy trumps a council, the majority of the church, even the common good?

        So, let’s clarify – guess EF can be pastoral and outgoing – but at what cost? And how many EF parishes or masses do what your experience is? Doubt that many do this?:

        Your long-winded story about Lazarus is a great defense of individual rights – is that what church is about? is that what liturgy is about?

        Liturgy is the expression of a church community – not the other way around. And asking for a reformed liturgy (arrived at via a council, implemented freely and happily by every episcopal conference, etc.) is not an insult – to take your approach to its literal extreme, you truly do have a cafeteria Catholicism (it has nothing to do with prejudices). So, using your approach, why can’t women who want to be ordained, do the same thing? what about gay/lesbian folks? As you say, shouldn’t we rejoice when brothers and sisters enter the church? And wouldn’t these folks (if allowed the same permission as SP rejoice as you cite those welcomed into the church?)

        So, what about the *Old Catholic Church* – we could do a motu proprio and then they can enter rejoicing while rejecting papal infallibiity? It gets to another recent post – if everything depends only upon papal prerogatives, then the pope is the church and the church is the pope. Fortunately, that is not accurate. If anything, Francis, to date, seems to live and indicate that the church is more than any one pope.

        Would suggest that you reacted to *pastoral* & *self-referential* in a very narrow sense and missed the point. Actually, your long discourse underlines the notion of *self-referential* – your liturgy form is the center of your universe – it comes before church, the poor, mission, etc. At this point in time, who knows what Francis will do? Probably, nothing in terms of the current SP, but don’t expect him to focus, extend, or support these efforts.

      8. Jordan Zarembo Avatar
        Jordan Zarembo

        @Bill deHaas – comment #13:

        Your long-winded story about Lazarus is a great defense of individual rights – is that what church is about? is that what liturgy is about?

        From the regula bullata (“approved rule”) of St. Francis of Assisi, third chapter (K. Esser, Grottaferrata (Romae), 1976), reproduced at this website.

        De his qui volunt vitam istam accipere, et qualiter recipi debeant.

        “About those who want to take on this life, and the way in which they ought to be accepted.”

        Et illi qui iam promiserunt oboedientiam habeant tunicam cum caputio et aliam sine caputione qui voluerint habere. Et qui necessitate coguntur possint portare calceamenta. Et fratres omnes vestimentis vilibus induantur et possint ea repetiare de saccis et aliis petiis cum benedictione Dei. Quos moneo et exhortor, ne despiciant neque iudicent homines, quos vident mollibus vestimentis et coloratis indutus, uti cibis et potibus delicatis, sed magis unusquisque iudicet et despiciat semetipsum.

        “Those who vow obedience shall have a tunic with hood; others shall wish to have no hood. Those who are compelled by necessity can wear sandals. Every brother will be clothed with shoddy clothes and shall be able to retrieve them from a sack and from other places with the blessing of God. I warn and exhort them: they shall not disdain or judge persons whom they see wearing luxurious and colorful clothing or partaking of choice foods and drinks. Rather, each one shall judge and despise themselves.

        False humility is false liturgy, false charity, and false self-understanding. St. Francis calls us to examine all these imperfections at once because human imperfection pervades worship and life. Liturgy is of the world, and is the crucible for spiritual growth despite materialism within and without belief. Who, then, is poor?

      9. Jordan Zarembo Avatar
        Jordan Zarembo

        Two errors of note in my previous translation in this thread, #15. I should have let my work rest for two days. Corrections are:

        Et illi qui iam promiserunt oboedientiam habeant tunicam cum caputio et aliam sine caputione qui voluerint habere.

        “Those who vow obedience shall have a tunic with a hood, and those who wish to have, another without a hood.”

        This was a rather stupid mistake. qui is the subject, not aliam which refers to tunicam.


        Et fratres omnes vestimentis vilibus induantur et possint ea repetiare de saccis et aliis petiis cum benedictione Dei.

        “Every brother will be clothed with shoddy clothes and shall be able to repair [the clothes] with sackcloth or with other patches with the blessing of God.”

        repetiare “repair” is from the verb repetitio, which literally means “reclamation” or similar (Niemeyer 1976. sv. repetiare. 909). The contextual understanding cannot be understood without petiis which follows.

        petiis is actually a corruption of pecia, whose secondary meaning is “place” but primary meaning is “piece” or “fragment”. (Niemeyer 1976, sv. pecia, 779) petiis is not at all obvious.

        Once these two pieces are in place, it’s easy to understand that in the text St. Francis instructs the friars to patch their habits with sackcloth or bits of cloth.

        I apologize for the errors.

      10. Jack Wayne Avatar
        Jack Wayne

        @Bill deHaas – comment #13:
        Actually, you are quite wrong about JPII’s indult setting limits on the age of those who may request and attend the EF (which would be impossible to do anyway, and would contradict the missionary spirit of the Church).

        The indults established by JPII and his predecessors never indicate that they are only for a limited time, and do not use any language indicating they are only for elderly Catholics. I believe when the OF was first promulgated that priests who were too elderly to learn it were exempted from having to use it, but that is an issue totally unrelated to the indults we are discussing.

        The indult is quite clear that permission for the 1962 Missal may be granted to groups that request it and established in whatever church or oratory the bishop chooses.

      11. Charles Day Avatar
        Charles Day

        @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #6:
        You could be right that things will turn around, and perhaps being right about that will give you some satisfaction, but I hope you are wrong. I hope the current crests continues and grows. Let me have my hope for the time being.

        And fwiw, liking Francis does not equal hating Benedict XVI. Doctrinally, they may even be very similar in most things. But in all walks of life some leaders lead by direction and command while others lead by example. I think most of us like the latter better, and we tend to do things for the leader by example that we would not do (or at least not do cheerfully) for the other.

  4. Todd Flowerday Avatar

    “Hate” is a pretty strong word to apply to people and their opinion of Cardinal Ratzinger. He was a tough guy in a difficult role and he played hardball with people. His CDF was vengeful, unfair, and secretive–much like the bishops who covered up sex abuse in their clergy.

    If you’re a tough guy, you get a tough reputation. It’s like I tell my daughter: natural consequences.

  5. Andrew rex Avatar
    Andrew rex

    I also disagree with this defensive un-self reflective attitude blaming the media for the church’s ill and hypothetical conspiracy against the church which should never be faulted or appraised by others. There are ‘critical’ stories about Francis as so with Benedict, it is a kind of questioning and natural discerning what any new pope might bring as spiritual leader. Just last night, the flagship BBC news programme Newsnight ran an investigation into the Argentinian dirty war including interviews with the grandmothers of the ‘lost children’ – thousands of now elderly mothers of pregnant young ‘dissident’ women who were imprisoned, had their newborn babies given to military families, then murdered a few days after birth. At the end of the long but moving story there was a breaking news interview with one of the grandmothers presenting a signed and dated letter by Bergoglio to his bishop asking for help locating her ‘lost child – an act of mercy by him? But it is significant because it apparently demonstrates Bergoglio’s knowledge of the disappearances during the junta period despite his claim that he was unaware to sometime later. I did not perceive this as an attack on the Holy Father or the church but a searching for the truth – an ordering or making sense of the timeline and circumstances of the atrocity. It is a natural reaction to the experience of enormous grief and trauma. There is no doubt that Bergoglio did many good things during this difficult time but perhaps, or most likely, in retrospect he could have done more somehow – I’m sure he is humble enough to speak about this experience and his regrets at some point in the future. It would almost be arrogant for the Argentinian church not to do this now, a lack of charity towards the continuing suffering of others. I am confident that Francis is signalling a new attitude of openness and transparency – such issues are not unrelated to how we respond to the sexual abuse scandals and other dark eras (eg Pius XII) within the institution. THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE

  6. Bill deHaas Avatar
    Bill deHaas

    Figured someone would *nit pick* that item – let’s be more exact than even your comment:

    From Quattour Adhinc Annos:

    The Congregation thereby granted diocesan bishops an “indult” to authorize celebration of the Tridentine Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal by specified priests and groups of the faithful who requested it.

    An important condition for granting the requests was “that it be made publicly clear beyond all ambiguity that such priests and their respective faithful in no way share the positions of those who call in question the legitimacy and doctrinal exactitude of the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970.”

    Guess the devil is in the details and how we define *specific*, etc.

    From the circular letter of the CDW in 1984:



    “Four years ago, by order of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, the bishops of the whole Church were invited to present a report:

    —concerning the way in. which the priests and faithful of their dioceses had received the Missal promulgated in 1970 by authority of Pope Paul VI in accordance with the decisions of the Second Vatican Council

    —concerning the difficulties arising in the implementation of the liturgical reform;

    —concerning possible resistance that may have arisen.

    The result of the consultation was sent to all the bishops (cf. Notitiae, n. 185 December 1981). On the basis of their replies it appeared that the problem of priests and faithful holding to the so-called “Tridentine” rite was almost completely solved.”

    And yet, four years later, ignoring actual data and episcopal information, JPII granted a concession (talk about a rupture and unintended consequences and possibly the power of small, rich, influential groups).

    From that *concession*:

    a) “Such celebration must be made only for the benefit of those groups that request it; in churches and oratories indicated by the bishop (not, however, in parish churches, unless the bishop permits it in extraordinary cases); and on the days and under the conditions fixed by the bishop either habitually or in individual cases.

    b) There must be no interchanging of texts and rites of the two Missals.

    c) Each bishop must inform this Congregation of the concessions granted by him, and at the end of a year from the granting of this indult, he must report on the result of its application.

    This concession, indicative of the common Father’s solicitude for all his children, must be used in such a way as not to prejudice the faithful observance of the liturgical reform in the life of the respective ecclesial communities.”

    Thus, note – a) parish churches were only included as *special* permission – not blanket. (would appear that this has not been universally applied? nor do I believe that JPII/CDW intended what Allan does in his Macon parish or what Benedict eventually granted years later)
    b) inform CDW of each church – (do you really think that was ever done?)
    c) *concession* must not prejudice the faithful to the liturgical reform – (geez, reading PTB and some comments would suggest that we have moved well past that *concession*) (I know, SP opened the door wide but then that was my earlier point)

    1. Jack Wayne Avatar
      Jack Wayne

      @Bill deHaas – comment #18:
      I didn’t nit pick. That the indult had no age or time limits is very significant. Also, the report said the issue of priests and faithful using the old Missal was “almost completely solved,” not “completely solved.” Thus the indult was designed to address that fact. I recall reading an old newspaper article from the 80s about the Archdiocese of Milwaukee that discussed all the illicit Latin Masses that sprung up (at least half a dozen independent/SSPX locations and some “secret” masses in parishes), so obviously while a majority went along with the reform, a minority were being needlessly pushed away from the Church and into independent churches.

      The indult granted by JPII was rather generous. Had it been followed to the letter and with a spirit of respect and generosity, there likely would have never been any need for SP.

  7. Andrew rex Avatar
    Andrew rex

    As a UK clinical psych running a sex offender treatment programme (for men with intellectual/learning disabilities), I am interested in Francis’ use of the narcissism conceptualisation describing some clerical (individual) and church (institutional) factors.
    1. He has a psychology degree – the term (despite historical/philosophical foundations) is clinically a contemporary diagnostic formulation. The church had an antagonistic relationship with psychoanalytic theory – does this suggest a thawing/maturing of exchanges of knowledge within this arena?
    2. Only recently has the church accepted the need for psychological evaluation of seminarians. The advice of professionals has often been mis-represented/skewed in relation to sexual abuse and related scandals. In the most high-profile Irish/US clerical cases of recidivist offending, court testimony proved those Bishops ordained then returned to ministry abusing clergy against explicit recommendations of safeguarding panels – even afterwards disregarding monitoring/supervision advice. Such a reckless attitude towards the safety of vulnerable adults/children was then blamed on others. In these actual cases, significant traits of narcissistic and/or anti-social personality disorder were cited in the evaluations. Is Francis tacitly recognising this?
    3. Up to now, narcissistic labelling was mostly used against ‘liberals’ wanting reforms. Those questioning church policy/actions were inward looking dissidents, schismatic, heretics wanting to form the church in their own image, refusing to acknowledge ‘The Truth’, or lay aside their selves by following tradition. Noticeably Frs Z, Ray Blake and Tim Finegan all were ‘too busy’ to watch Francis’ inauguration mass, publically ignoring much detail of his pontificate so far (in contrast to naval gazing every Benedictine ‘symbol’ and ‘sign’ as confirmation of their views). How much is projection/displacement activity, an inability to come to terms with reality, pointing at one’s reflection as evil? Known in psychology as ‘Othering’.

  8. Andrew rex Avatar
    Andrew rex

    Narcissism is a generalized personality trait characterized by egotism, vanity, pride, or selfishness. However, narcissism has subsequently included particular meanings in specific fields, including:
    A central concept of psychoanalytic theory
    A mental illness
    A social or cultural problem
    A personality trait.

    Except in the sense of primary narcissism or healthy self-love, pathological narcissism is usually considered a problem in a person or group’s relationships with self and others.

    Thomas suggests that narcissists typically display most, and sometimes all, of the following traits:[5]
    An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
    Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
    A lack of psychological awareness (see insight in psychology and psychiatry, egosyntonic)
    Difficulty with empathy
    Problems distinguishing the self from others (see narcissism and boundaries)
    Hypersensitivity to any insults or imagined insults (see criticism and narcissists, narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury)
    Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt
    Haughty body language
    Flattery towards people who admire and affirm them (narcissistic supply)
    Detesting those who do not admire them (narcissistic abuse)
    Using other people without considering the cost of doing so
    Pretending to be more important than they really are
    Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating their achievements
    Claiming to be an “expert” at many things
    Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people
    Denial of remorse and gratitude

    1. Todd Flowerday Avatar

      @Andrew rex – comment #20:
      Amazing. We see a lot of this online these days, from all corners. It’s a pretty damning examination of conscience, and I have my own behavior over the past fifteen years on the net to check.

      This I found interesting:

      Detesting those who do not admire them (narcissistic abuse)

      … as part of the interpersonal dynamic of blogs. Who is quick to ban uncomfortable commentators?

      1. Andrew rex Avatar
        Andrew rex

        @Todd Flowerday – comment #21:
        This I found interesting:
        Detesting those who do not admire them (narcissistic abuse)
        … as part of the interpersonal dynamic of blogs. Who is quick to ban uncomfortable commentators?

        Foucault and other contemporary philosophers writing about the close interconnection of sex and power discuss in depth the use of ‘silencing practices’ in terms of sado-masochism and abuse. Where will Francis’ public example and examination of conscience lead? Why is it that some people have determined (without consultation) that others cannot speak of or mention about gender and other issues within the church? Why can’t one even question the declaration (without any consultation) that such things cannot be discussed? Why is excommunication and visible exclusion from holy communion and all that signifies is a necessary penalty for even thinking outside the box? Note this discussion thus leads to the issues of individual conscience and justice/charity/respect for difference.

        Judaeo-Christian scholars discuss ‘not criticising others when you have a fleck in your own eye’, ‘rich men on camels not being able to pass through the eye of the needle’, the ‘devil within’ etc. These lessons and biblical commentaries have many similarities with theories of psychological and institutional pathology eg ‘Othering processes’ described in sociological literature. There is much mutual ground between these disciplines and the church (even though much of the language used is different). Unfortunately insights from contemporary psychological developments came too late to inform the thinking of Vatican II but perhaps now there can be some meaningful dialogue and shared understanding. I believe there can be no moving on from the current church scandals until there is a reconciliation and understanding between church and psychological science particularly in the areas of sex, sexuality, gender, power and abuse.

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