Me and Pope Francis

(Reposted from 9/14/2015 on a defunct piece of the site)
Pope Francis is coming to America. Here’s a media guide to his visit from John Allen at Crux (From the Boston Globe).
I owe my media career to the popes. I had just turned in my tenure file and my book 
manuscript when Benedict retired. That morning, I was talking about how all the news reports talking about a 15th century pope who retired were missing the more important 13th century precedent – Pope St. Celestine V. Benedict had visited Celestine’s shrine twice, and the medieval pontiff, who retired due to old age and a desire to return to a contemplative life, clearly offered a better example. Also the canon law that followed Celestine was critical.
So I wrote about it for CNN. Then I wrote a followup piece for The Atlantic about medieval and modern elections, and what we might learn from medieval elections. After Francis was elected, I had the front page on The Atlantic’s website with “The Importance of Being Francis.”
I wrote more about the Popes and history too, as time went on, the most recent being on the double canonizations of two popes on “why secular people could care about saints.”
I write about other things now. In the initial wake of his election, a lot of US media seemed to not get Francis, trying to shove him into classic American liberal/conservative dialectics where he simply refuses to fit. So I wrote. Now, they either are better at covering him or they’ve hired Catholic journalists to do it, and I haven’t felt the need to pitch a piece on him in a long time.
But I’m watching, because whatever you think of him, Pope Francis continues to be an interesting story.

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