In Their Own Words: Pope Francis

In Their Own Words: Pope Francis
Directed by Marianne Kushmaniuk
PBS, first broadcast July 20th, 2021, 53 minutes

1 Star

I saw this documentary mentioned in an internet article and streamed it a couple of days after its broadcast premier.

This particular PBS “In Their Own Words” series installment follows the life of Jorge Bergoglio from his childhood in Argentina to his election and current tenure as pope Francis. Bergoglio is presented as a progressive reformer leading multiple crusades on behalf of the poor, refugees, homosexuals, women, and the environment. Those interviewed include Anne Thompson (NBC News correspondent), Austen Ivereigh (Bergoglio biographer), and Mario J. Paredes (Director, American Bible Society). It’s a bit strange that Francis himself isn’t interviewed in a series titled “In Their Own Words.” Instead, quotes from Bergoglio are frequently plastered on the screen as if scriptural.

This is more of a propaganda piece than a documentary. I could not imagine a biographical documentary being more flattering than “In Their Own Words: Pope Francis.” It defines the term, “puff piece.” In summing up Francis’ papacy, reporter Anne Thompson gushingly proclaims, “He has brought the Catholic church to the basic message of Jesus.” The only Francis misstep that’s mentioned is the pope’s clumsy 2018 mishandling of clerical sexual abuse cover-up by bishop Juan Barros Madrid of Colombia. There is hardly any acknowledgement of the significant opposition to Francis and his reforms by conservative and traditionalist Catholic clerics and laity. Neither Francis or his conservative Catholic foes teach the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Francis has strategically and pragmatically “elevated” the papacy from that of conservator of Roman Catholic doctrine and tradition to crusader for every politically-progressive cause imaginable. In response, the world loves Bergoglio. If a catastrophe were to overtake the planet, people would turn en masse to the pope for solace and guidance. That’s significant, folks, and it didn’t just happen by chance.

If you must, you can catch this puff piece at PBS’s website until August 17 (see here). I recommend you use those 53 minutes for something more productive.

17 thoughts on “In Their Own Words: Pope Francis

  1. “If a catastrophe were to overtake the planet, people would turn en masse to the pope for solace and guidance. That’s significant, folks, and that didn’t just happen by chance”, sounding a lot like Bible prophecy Tom.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pragmatic Francis has steered the papacy from rigid dogmatism to smiling “who am I to judge” pastoralism and the entire world is enthralled with the man. Sounds like enfolding Bible prophecy to me, Crissy.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks! The Francis papacy is actually fascinating theater with the pope alienating his most “pious” and doctrinaire members in his efforts to make the papacy and the RC church “culturally relevant.”

        Work was pretty good yesterday, thanks! Mostly audits. Hope you had a very nice weekend.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “If a catastrophe…” Billy is always saying similar. It’s just a matter of time isn’t it. Frightening to say the least, because there will be Pastors and others within the “church” among those looking to the Pope for help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cathy. Yes, the majority of “evangelical Protestants” would view this post as an ignorant and mean-spirited attack on a great man of God.


  3. Wow I realized you must have had a post for every day this past week! Didn’t expect a Sunday post so I didn’t check until now. Thanks for this review, this seems like what you said, a puff piece! This will be something I won’t watch, since I reather spend 53 minutes to read

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, I had a rash of post ideas the last couple of weeks and the queue got bigger and bigger. Need to cut back again with the house painting project now on the front burner.

      This pope documentary was a shameless puff piece. The adulation level was through the roof.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome! I say this often I don’t think you are the T-101 type though, think you are beyond that! How is your day of rest going? I’m exhausted from the weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks! I stay in the T-101 lane because it’s easier on the ol’ brain neurons. Just commented on your post that I’m mowing the lawn today. The realtor’s coming over later this afternoon to break the news about the price she’s going to list my sister’s house at. I expect it’s going to be really low. Only a house flipper or a super handy man would buy it.
        Hope you get some solid rest today! My idea of rest is couch duty but yours is trekking through a garden or a museum. I imagine just giving your brain a break is relaxing.


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