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Pope Francis’ Political Critics Are Missing Something Fundamental

The pope has been accused of infusing politics in to religion, but his message is much deeper, and at times more confounding, than a partisan screed.
Pope Francis Makes Historic Trip To Cuba
Photographer: Carl Court

So much has already been written about what Pope Francis is going to tell Americans when the former archbishop of Buenos Aires visits the United States for the first time in his life this week that this might be a good time to point out that there is a reason Jorge Bergoglio is the ‘surprise-a-day’ pope: Somehow, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church is both consistent and consistently unpredictable, so don’t be too astonished if much of what you’ve been told to expect turns out to have been wrong.

At Cuba's Havana Cathedral on Sunday, for instance, he chucked his prepared homily and spoke off the cuff about poverty. And he did so in a way that even some who fight poverty full time in the United States may find confounding: “We always try to curtail poverty,” the pope said. “That’s a reasonable thing, but I’m talking about the heart.”