Pope Francis could wind up pulling former Roman Catholics, searching Millennials and parents with newborns into that traditional religion.
Its infrastructure is magnificent which is part of the reason Catholicism had been one of the most powerful and enduring global brands. If we spiritual pilgrims opt for it, we could restore financial solvency to some of the parishes in the U.S., bankrupt from the clergy sex abuse scandal.
Competing with rock star Pope Francis is American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron, also a rock star. Her best-selling small books like "The Wisdom of No Escape" introduced us to Eastern philosophy. The next step was visiting a Shambhala Center. We nosed around. Learned to meditate. One weekend I even sampled living like they do in a monastery. Like all institutions, the Shambhala organization needs money.
Late last week, I received a notice from one of the centers in Connecticut informing me it requires $2,000 monthly to keep the lights on and heat going. There was a list of the kinds of memberships I could pay for.
The wanderlust spiritual entity I am, I have toured myriad religions. Every dollar I contributed was worth the peace of mind and coping tools I acquired. Now, with Pope Francis bringing Catholicism back as an option, I am among those wondering where to spend my spiritual tourist dollars. Both Francis and Chodron have influence. But who will get the money?