US Catholic Faith in Real Life

What do the Bishop of Rome and the mayor-elect of New York have in common?

By Scott Alessi | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

New York City's mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has certainly been making a lot of news of late, including being among the latest people to infuriate the Catholic League's Bill Donohue by supposedly showing his "animus against Catholicism" by not naming any priests to his 60-member transition team. But New York magazine noticed another interesting Catholic connection about the incoming mayor: He tends to sound a lot like another newsmaker, Pope Francis.

In an amusing post, New York challenges readers to guess whether certain quotes were said by de Blasio or Francis, and the game is surprisingly tricky. Even if you can identify the correct source of all 10 quotes, you have to admit the two do sound an awful lot alike.

That's not because de Blasio is Catholic--he considers himself part of the "spiritual but not religious" camp. But he does share some roots with Francis, having spent time in Latin America during his formative years. In fact, de Blasio has even said he was "deeply influenced by liberation theology."

Of course there are also plenty of topics on which the two would disagree, and there's a lot of selective picking and choosing of isolated quotes here. Yet I think this little game is a good example of what so many American Catholics find unsettling about Francis--we're just not used to having church leaders who say things that the average person on the street might confuse for the words of a Democratic politician, especially one who we are simultaneously being told is somehow "anti-Catholic."