Pope Brings Atheists to Their Knees

Pope 2

A child embraces Pope Francis as he leads a special audience with families at St. Peter Square in VaticanA recently published photograph of Pope Francis embracing a man disfigured by tumors immediately and predictably  brought this Roman Catholic to tears. Come to find out, I was not alone. Many Catholics and non-Catholics were moved by this continuum of Christlike compassion that eminates from Pope Francis. Then I looked into it a little deeper. It looks like Francis may quite possibly be bringing many atheists to their knees.  One of my closest friends is a High Anglican, and he even postulated that we could be witnessing a complete revival of Faith. At a minimum, This Pope has ushered in a new way of thinking and brought fresh air to a stagnant institution, one steeped in centuries of pomp and pageantry, dogma and dis-connectedness.  How refreshing to bear witness as the oldest religious institution in the western world does an about face and breathes new life into an old religion.Pope 3

But at its very core, this “new” approach to Catholicism, or Christianity for that matter, is anything but.  In fact, it amounts to nothing more than following 2,000 year-old teachings:  those of Jesus Christ and many who followed behind him, including St. Francis of Assisi, whose name Pope Francis chose. The 13th-century Catholic friar showed a great love for animals and the environment. St. Francis was also beloved for his dedication to poverty and reform. In so many ways this new Pope, who has championed and emulated the teachings of Jesus, is living the teachings of the Bible, and the world is responding.image It’s not all about condemning gay people and crusading against birth control pills anymore. All of a sudden, matters religious seem to have become more real. It stymies the mind to think he’s been at the helm for less than a year.

As Jesus did, Pope Francis has denied himself many of the material trappings that typically accompany the world’s religious leader.  He prefers black shoes over papal red, buses over limos, a smaller apartment over an opulent residence, and pays his own bills.  But the gentle spirit he exhibits of reaching out to others less fortunate, ill, downtrodden, and the poor have garnered him great respect across people of many faiths and even those without.st-francis-of-assisi-ws

But this most recent photo of Pope Francis embracing and blessing a man horribly disfigured by tumors has served to further captivate a world in need of such an example of love.  Many have understandably likened this image to Jesus and his healing of lepers.  Like a leper, this man suffers daily from the world’s stares and rejection, coupled with the unimaginable pain of his own personal condition. But at this poignant moment, he feels joy and reverence, more so than he ever thought possible, but to which all humans are Divinely entitled.

Here are but a few examples of many ways Pope Francis is distinguishing himself as a living example:


1. He has shunned the lavish perks130327191528-pkg-wedeman-popes-new-home-00005127-story-top

As the most powerful symbol of the Catholic Church, there are many lavish appointments at Pope Francis’ disposal, including the opulent 12-plus-room papal apartment on the top floor of the Apostolic Palace. But instead, given that he has no personal household staff (practically unheard of in his business), he has opted to live in a small studio in a Vatican residence, the Casa Santa Marta.

2. He speaks for the trees

Pope Francis advocates for the environment. And in fact, during his inaugural homily on March 18 in St. Peter’s Square, the environment received much attention from the modern-day St. Francis of Assisi. Among other pleas for the environment in his speech, Pope Francis said, “I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.”

biker 3. He blessed a group of bikers

Holy Harleys?!? When a rally of 35,000 Harley-Davidson riders from around the world descended upon St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Pope Francis blessed the lot of them and laid his hands on a disabled boy accompanied by one of motorcyclists. Some riders decorated their bikes with flags imprinted with Francis’ smiling mug; Harley-Davidson gave Pope Francis two white Harleys to use in the Vatican police force.

4. He tweets


The image of a tweeting Pope is good enough on its own, but Pope Francis actually uses social media to great effect. Beyond ecclesiastic clichés, he has delivered tweets that focus on corporate greed and the environment.

5. Atheists are beginning to quote the Pope

Atheists across social media platforms are sharing Pope Francis’ quotes …  accompanied by phrases of praise. In what was surely a first, a pope said that atheists could be redeemed.

While delivering a homily, Pope Francis stated:

The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class. We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all. And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: We need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. Even those who are athiests and do not believe but do good: We will meet one another there.

Pope 16. He is hands-on

Pope Francis loves to mix with the huge crowds in St. Peter’s Square; he even shakes hands and kisses babies like a good politician. He frequently celebrates public mass and opts for walking when his security team wants him to ride. And he has gone so far so to trade in the bulletproof-glass Popemobile that has been in use since 1981, and instead rides in an open-air white Mercedes jeep, frequently getting out to greet the crowds.


And who can forget, as the world looked on and listened to his speech about the state of the family, the precious little boy who defied the bodyguards and clung to His Holiness as he delivered his message. I learned a latin term in lawschool: res ipsa loquitur. It means “the thing speaks for itself”. As each day passes, that seems to reflect this Papacy. And this “thing” could effect a renewal of faith, the likes of which this World has never seen. And not just my High-Anglican Pal thinks so. What about you???


J.L. Mann (Bubba) Cromer is an Attorney in Columbia, whose practice focuses on DUI Defense, Criminal Defense & Probate Administration and Estate Planning. Admitted to practice in South Carolina, California & The District of Columbia, “Bubba” has been in practice for 26 years. In addition to his Solo Practice at Cromer Law Offices, LLC, Bubba Served as the only true Independent In the S.C. Legislature from 1990-1998. For the past 16 years, he has Served as the Reading Clerk of the House.Bubba resides in Columbia, S.C and Rosman, N.C. where he built a cabin 4 years ago. Bubba lives with his Hungarian Golden Retriever Casper.




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18 thoughts on “Pope Brings Atheists to Their Knees

  1. Macy on said:

    I am not Catholic, but I LOVE
    Pope Francis! He is amazing and what he has done in such a short time has brought many people
    To God. He is teaching what all religions should be teaching and that is that everyone is equal no matter their background, race, health or sexuality and that he as well as all
    Each of us are not here to judge but to love. How can you not admire that! Truly Amazing!!!!

  2. Shannon on said:

    Love this article, Bubba!!! As a practicing Catholic, I have been amazed at how often my non-Catholic friends are asking me about our new Pope. They are intrigued by his friendliness, his zest for life and acceptance of all of God’s creations! Having him use technology, play soccer and ask for the opinions of his congregations only endears him more. What a wonderful leader God has provided during this most difficult time in our world. Thanks, Bubba, for showcasing His Holiness! Bless you!!!

  3. Mary Greene on said:

    I loved him with the little boy, and letting him stay so close to him when I am sre his security wanted to whisk him away. I am a Methodist but I love me some Francis 1, both the pope and the silver pattern!

  4. Evelyn on said:

    Very encouraging in a world in desperate need for good leaders

  5. Nancy on said:

    I have been vey impressed with this humble man.

  6. lil Mary on said:

    I think he is a great man of God. He will be a positive difference in the world.

  7. Rod on said:

    I like his style in that he has adopted a “more of Him, and less of me” philosophy towards life as mentioned in biblical doctrine.

    So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, …
    Philippians 2:1-11 ESV

  8. Bradford Beidler on said:

    News Flash!!!!! A Pope exhibiting Christian values! Next up confirmation has been made that the color red is actually the color red….

  9. bubbadmin on said:

    From Faye Miller:

    This Pope is a great person, us Jews like this man of the cloth ! So glad the GERMAN POPE retired.

    Love YJM

  10. Christopher N on said:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Bubba. I’m inspired by the humility of Pope Francis. If we’d all follow the example he’s setting the world would be such a better place.

  11. Ginger Herrick on said:

    Good article, Bubba. I have been impressed by the humility of this pope since the beginning of his tenure.
    It is refreshing to see such positive qualities in a public figure.

  12. Angie Duffie on said:

    I love this article, Bubba. I love this Pope though I am Catholic. This made me think that we all need to be reaching out to everyone and not being so critical. Don’t you know that man did feel like a person, a very loved person. Hope to use this while I am helping to plan activities at my church. God bless you.

  13. Rich Wachtel on said:

    Was invited to post here by the author…

    As an atheist and an ex-catholic I have some issues with this article and the Pope Francis love fest that is going on. First, the title and the opening paragraph state that this Pope and his infamous hug are bringing “many” atheists back to believing. I found this to be pretty incredible so I followed the link to his “evidence” which was 9 tweets that CNN dug up. Seriously? That’s all you got? All of the tweets were referencing his “hug” and respected his empathy and kindness towards the guy with tumors. Yes, atheists acknowledge and practice good deeds, you got us there. But being a good and moral person does not require the belief in a higher being. Making the leap from those nine tweets to *any* atheists now believing in god is just, sorry, ridiculous.

    Pope Francis has broken the “pope” mold that’s for sure and is 1000x better than the criminal Ratzinger/benedict (and how long before he gets his sainthood?) but has Francis changed any of the dogma or institutional problems the catholic church suffers from. No. He’s basically just going around being a super nice guy. That’s great but there are still pedophile priests who are raping children and dioceses who are covering it up. Also people in africa are dying daily of AIDS due to the church’s dogmatic stand on condoms. Where is Francis on these issues where a strong stand would actually save many lives and protect our children?

    I really doubt you are going to see any major institutional or dogmatic changes in the Catholic church. The church needed a, well, “miracle” to reverse the horrible PR and exodus from the church over the last few years. Francis has definitely delivered on that.

    • Jim on said:

      Lest we forget the Vatican II revolution whose reforms have slowly been swept aside under recent Popes. Here is an ex-Catholic who hopes this “new” social justice theme can be heard at local pulpits and not just “sound bites” from Rome

  14. Rebecca Shea on said:

    From FB neighborhood page: My husband and I left the Catholic Church when we had children, because we knew that we would never forgive ourselves if one of our children was hurt, while involved with an organization that didn’t outright condemn pedophilia. That said, our children were all baptized in the Episcopal Church. We consider our children to be miraculous gifts from God, and we promise(d) to try and instill/nurture their faith. As we’ve matured as parents, we’ve had to accept that unfortunately, they could be victimized in any number of environments. We still feel that we made the correct decision for our family, but if the unthinkable occurred and one our kids was victimized, we wouldn’t condemn the entire organization or blame God. For the past 3 years (pre-Sandusky), I’ve been trying to navigate the Richland County judicial system. At the encouragement of my husband, I filed a delayed report against a man who sexually assaulted me when I was 13. Despite obtaining legally recorded confessions and the fact that he already has a conviction, the 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office (Dan Johnson) has put us through a continuing re victimization. For my own sake and that of my husband and children, I can’t categorically blame all men for what happened to me. Furthermore, the police sgt. we’ve worked with, the judge who recently rejected the ridiculous plea bargain offered to the defendant and the decent solicitors(none of whom have worked on my case), have shown me that I can’t condemn the entire system. Please know that there are a shockingly large number of local legislators and officials, who are just as culpable as the Catholic Church. I would love to be able to quit this “crusade” and give up the fight. However, if there’s a chance that even one child will benefit from the efforts made by my husband and me, to bring a pedophile to justice and expose some of the many shortcomings of our criminal justice system, the stress and tears of the past 3 years will have been worthwhile. We’ll never give up the faith that people can do the right thing. We are grateful to this pope for showing us what a miraculous difference one individual is able to make, even when the larger organization isn’t immediately supportive. Please put your energies toward advocacy for victims, vs. giving up and saying it’s too late, so I’ll just be complacent. Thx.

  15. Michael D. McMullen on said:

    Your article further confirms my belief that this Pope is special. I am so glad you wrote it, and wrote it so well. (Where do you get those photos?!)
    I hope that Pope Francis’ example continues to speak and inspire. Great work!!!


  16. Charles Brooks on said:

    Good Evening Bubba. My short comment on Pope Francis is this: It would be impossible for His Holiness to have an significant impact on almost any issue, immediate…yes…significant…NO. It will take “time” for him to come into his own; making those changes that he feels necessary. But, based on what he’s done so far, he will continue to have a very positive impact on the Catholic Church, and the Universal Church as well. With the “age of the internet,” almost anyone can have an impact of almost any subject…even you, or me. Look what Martin Luther did, even un-intentionally, to effect Christianity in 1541, with his 95 Thesis posted on the church door; all by himself, without the added benefit of “the internet.” Pick the right subject, and the right audience, then we all can affect change…it’s called: The Power of ONE. I know you are doing your part, and I’m trying to do my part; but there is room for everyone. God Bless….cjlb…11/30/13….Go GameCocks!!!

  17. roy radin on said:

    I got caught out by obama with the illusion of something different the change the world needed ect ect……great pr job, this seems different from the lightening striking st.peters to him standing still and confident in all white at the unveiling to what has come to pass and the slight swelling of hope from whats to come

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