IMHO, Pope Francis is correct. The real miracle is having people being kind to each other and sharing what they have.
Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. (John 6)
So then, is Jesus a fake or the Pope a liar?
I’m inclined to take it literally, but Barney is still wrong for trying to minimize the miracle.
Why take it literally? Several historical elements have turned out to be wrong. No Jewish slaves built the Khufu pyramids. So there was no Jewish Exodus from Egypt so there was no JHVH given plagues on the Pharaoh either.
Strange coincidence? Yesterday’s Candorville strip pondered the same issue.