I'm not sure how to feel, and so am conflicted. Yesterday my brother was baptized into the Catholic church. On the one hand, he's 31, and so this was a conscious decision, not something forced on him as a baby. As a kid, he wasn't particularly into church, and our parents had the brains not to force us. I loved church, and my brother shunned it. Funny how we're the opposites now. As a little background, we were close as kids, then divided over our parents' drinking (I stood by them, he turned away), and then we went several years with no contact after our dad shot himself. We got back in contact the day my daughter was born, who wasn't supposed to get t happen at all, and have been extremely close ever since. My brother is one of the people I love most in this world, and there's nothing I wouldn't do for him.
To be blunt, if the Nazi pope was still in charge, I'd be crying my heart out with grief. Francis is cool though, and has stated that Catholics need to stop hating people, stop focusing on people being gay or not Christian, and focus on being good people instead, and he's controversially stated things about how even non-Christians can go to heaven because it's deeds, not faith (kind of a way of saying the molesting priests are going to hell). This is a pope who gets out there and personally interacts with poor people instead of staying in the Popemobile. A lot of Catholics don't like him because he's far too liberal.
The only reason I'm not in tears is because this pope is so cool. But I've been around long enough to know the church generally hates anyone who isn't Catholic, who isn't straight (I'm a major advocate for equality, and my husband and I are carful not to tell our daughter she'll grow up to marry a man, and reinforce that it doesn't matter who she marries, or if she even does), birth control is evil, etc., etc. Francis is a breath of fresh air after the Nazi and the previous old guy who was still stuck on dogma and luxury.
I want to be happy for my brother because he's happy and has stated it's not his place to judge, just to love, but I'm also sad because I can't help but worry he'll take the old Catholic line at some point of thinking I'm hell-bound (he currently doesn't). I'm conflicted, confused, and and fighting crying, and don't know what I'd be crying about.
Sadly, while Francis puts on a good show, I'm not convinced that he's more steak than sizzle, and I'm not alone in that assessment. I'll stipulate that he's only been in office a year, and he has multiple irons in his fire. The fact remains that we haven't seen anything as regards the serious issues confronting the church, not in Francis' papacy, nor in Benedict's or John Paul's.
As to your brother, yeah, it's his choice, though the thinking behind that choice would be interesting to explore, and perhaps you can go into that with him one day. One thought as it comes to that: you might want to prepare yourself with some Socratic tactics, recently laid out by one Peter Boghossian, before you engage him.
Just a thought.
What a thing to go through, your father shooting himself. It sounds like you have a huge amount of family pain and your brother becoming Catholic might be a way of trying to cope with it.
It's not unusual that someone you love chooses a different path and the best thing for you to do is to accept your brother's decision and preserve your ties to him—they are far more important to you than what he believes. For one thing, this might not be his final position, but just a stop along the way.
He's your brother, and I would keep close ties with him. So long as he's not trying to get you to join the RCC or trying to convert you or your family, and respects your position, it's his choice. We all have to make our own choices in life, including some that friends and family don't necessarily approve of.
As to Pope Francis (or, as I call him, Frankie the Gaucho), I am not at all impressed. He's the polite public face of an otherwise evil institution. Sure, he comes across as better than his predecessor Ratzinger (Benedict). But, he's just the new face of the same old repressive bureaucracy. As far as I can see, it's still business as usual.