Tonight, on the way back to the church to teach a session of Catechism class, I stopped by a Speedway station to pick up a bottle of water. A clerk not waiting on me spotted me, dressed in my clerical collar, paying up. She made a point of telling me, "You have a very nice evening." Francis fallout.
Later, after class, I stood at the Kroger deli counter, where a man approached me. "I'm not Catholic," he said. "Neither am I," I replied, smiling and touching him on the shoulder, "I'm Lutheran." "Oh," he said, "but I have been delighted to watch everything surrounding the pope this weekend." "I have too. He is a humble man of faith," I said. "Yes, he is," he replied enthusiastically. More Francis fallout.
Francis has negated a lot of the bad press we Christians often get, press usually created by the stupid things that supposedly Christian people say and do in the public square in the name of Jesus.
The pope has managed to do this without compromising the Christian message, sharing it with compassion and love, even the parts of the message that we self-willed human beings are inclined to resist.
There are differences between the theologies of the various Christian traditions. But during this week in Cuba and the United States, Pope Francis has done the whole Christian Church proud. And that is wonderful fallout.