Under Benedict and Francis, we have seen this trend continue, though in very different styles. Under Benedict, his travels often involved completely taking the enemies of the faith to task (like in Regensburg when he said that Muhammad and by extension Islam only brought things that were evil). Francis, on the other hands, has become a Dalai Lama like figure who travels from country to country, smiling and waving and saying vague platitudes about inoffensive concepts of freedom.
The Dalai Lama is less of an agent for formal conversion in Buddhism, instead he is more a self-help guru who advocates the DIY liberalism that is the Buddhist faith. Pope Francis has become a mere variation of this. In the same manner that the Dali Lama is rarely quoted for his insistence on one's need to be a Buddhist for eternal happiness, Francis rarely encourages the conversion of those who are not members of the faith. The issue is not so much Francis, though it is partly Francis of course, it is also the role that he or any Pope assumes when they travel the globe, less as an evangelist and more as a Statesman.
Francis would be better off being inside the Vatican, working on issues related to parishes around the world and devising ideas for undoing much of the damage of the past 50 years. Dealing with these issues will require an immense defree of study and thought on behalf of the pontiff. Each Pope should seek to focus their minds on those things which they have been able to as of yet not entirely transmit into the daily life of parishioners around the world. To do so would involve a bold jump into the world of ceaseless intellectual development and spiritual ambition. Think of Leo XIII or Pius X, they were able to read the things that were going on in the world with regards to Freemasonry and Modernism from afar because the abstract thought process allowed them to understand that things happen for a reason. If one is meeting Barack Obama and the like on a regular basis, especially on their terms and in their places of work and rule, one is likely to view them with a more favourable view in light of the familiarity between the two allowing for a friendship far removed from his anti-Catholic crusades.
Whatever solution finally comes for this crisis in the Church, it will most likely begin with the Pope having his head in a book rather than out the window of a car racing thought the streets of some modern metropolis. And it will come through bold enyclicals dictated to obedient bishops and priests to be taught and enforced on a pastoral level.
|How the Pope should talk to statesmen|