What’s with Pope Francis? What has been his effect on the Church? To understand the situation we need to look at secular culture, the state of the Church, and Francis himself.
Public culture today is atheistic. It excludes God, natural law, and higher goods; bases morality on individual preferences; and views reason as a way of simply fitting means to ends. In this culture the goal of morality and politics is a universal social order designed to provide people with whatever they want as much and as equally as possible, in a manner that is consistent with the efficiency and stability of the system.
The people who run things today accept that ideal, at least implicitly. It justifies their power and actions, since they claim to have the expertise needed to run a system that benefits everyone, and efficiency and stability can justify almost anything they might want to do. And this fits the way global markets and large bureaucracies function and relate to one another. Also, any alternative approach would appear to involve imposing a specific religious or philosophical view on the whole world, which seems oppressive and unstable, or giving up hope for a public order based on universal principles, which seems to imply anarchy, arbitrariness, a series of makeshift arrangements, or simply the rule of force.
So the current approach, geared toward efficiency and stability,...