The radically different communication styles of Pope Francis and his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI and how the media views the two was the focus of a recent lecture by Fr. John Wauck, a communications professor at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.
The talk, entitled “Communication in the Age of Pope Francis,” was delivered to students and faculty at Christendom College, a faithful Catholic college recommended in The Newman Guide.
“It seems that the whole world fell in love with Pope Francis at first sight,” Fr. Wauck said. “No one has quite seen a pope like Pope Francis so far.”
Fr. Wauck said from the moment that Pope Francis was introduced, bowed his head and asked for prayers, he had a “special rapport” with the crowd.
“Something quite extraordinary is going on. It’s not what we’re accustomed to,” he said. “No one’s quite seen a pope like Francis before.”
He said that the media is also viewing this pope differently than former Pope Benedict XVI. With Benedict, the media reaction to everything he said was suspicion, but with Pope Francis the media reacts with applause, he said.
Speaking of Pope Benedict, Fr. Wauck said, “He was content to let words speak for themselves.”
“He was a teacher and very self-effacing—he was a very humble man. He was humble in the sense that he didn’t want the message to be about himself in anyway,” he said. “In some ways, he shied away from making his personality part of the story.”
Fr. Wauck said in conclusion that the differences between the two popes are essentially, “sort of a 1-2 combination punch from the Holy Spirit of theory and practice.”
You can download the speech at Christendom’s iTunes page at iTunes U, christendom.edu/itunesu.
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