This post originally appeared on 16th March, 2013.
|POPE FRANCIS AND A CARDINAL,WITH ARCHBISHOP GEORG GAENSWEIN|
LEAVING Sta. MARIA MAGGIORE
Then came the main event. Lights turned on in the room behind the Balcony on the Facade of the Piazza.The doors open , the aged Cardinal Tauran announces the new Pope! Sensation! Media ideal - the first non-European in a thousand years! The first South American! The first Jesuit!, The first Pope FRANCIS! Then Out he comes. The vast crowd has been somewhat stunned by the news, but quickly recovers its poise and abandons itself to joyous cries! Novelties abound - the new Pope is not wearing the red Mozzetta, not wearing the great Stole - until he is about to Bless the throng - and then having done so, he reverences the Stole with a kiss as he removes it. But before Blessing those assembled he asks them to bow their heads in silent prayer for him. Then finally, he speaks in a simple, homely fashion and smiles at last .
The Media commentary has ample grist for its mill - but never satisfied with reality, it tries to hype the facts with wonderings about where the new Pope stands on abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, same sex marriage, female ordination, sexual abuse crisis-hours and hours of drivel.
The days go by and the new Pope still continues to create minor sensations for the still starry -eyed media : he travels in a mini bus! Gasp! He pays an accommodation bill and collects his belongings! Amazing! He prays to Our Lady at Sta Maria Maggiore - Awesome! And on ABC Radio National the hard bitten Fran Kelly says " He smiled!!" Wondering approval!
Okay! You just know this nonsense has to end. The day will come and soon. For Pope Francis has set himself up for that fall - he is a faithful orthodox Catholic cleric . He is a vigorous opponent of abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality and same sex " marriage" . Even Fran Kelly was quick enough to see in his warning to the Cardinals that the Church should not become simply " a philanthropic NGO" a precise echoing of the consistent teaching of Benedict XVI.
So, when all the distractions of petty sensation fade away the Media will be quick to realise that in matters of Faith and Morals it is business as usual. But they will also find the Church in a different mode and pushing harder on pastoral practicalities and evangelical mission whilst assured of her intellectual underpinnings thanks to the heroic work of Pope Benedict XVI and Blessed Pope John Paul II.
It may well be that many will see little of great significance in the acts of humble simplicity which Pope Francis has brought from his time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. There , amongst the people whose parents and grandparents had, in their simplicity lauded "Santa" Evita , the Church had been too close to those in power and to the military. Archbishop Bergoglio's simplicity was and is authentic, unlike Juan Peron's cynical removal of his coat to identify with the workers.
Riding on public transport etc to truly show solidarity with the ordinary faithful in Buenos Aires might be appropriate there, in that cultural setting, as the Bishop of the Diocese.But taking that sort of gesture too far for too long will quickly pall in the West, and be presented as time wasting and grandstanding as the inevitable cynicism of the media returns in force.
There seems little doubt that Pope Francis will re-vitalise the practical activity of the Church, provided he can find the right men to re- structure the staffing of much of the Curia.But he will also be humble enough to see that Rome is not Buenos Aires and being Pope is not just being an Archbishop.
His Homilies are very different from those of his two predecessors, far less academic and more down to Earth reminiscent of some of the writings of Pope Saint Pius X in some ways.It takes a little while to adjust to them , but it is well worth the effort.
Perhaps he will do something even Pope Benedict XVI was not bold enough to do : celebrate Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form in public! Now that would be a sensation in Church circles!
|POPE FRANCIS MONS MARINI ON THE RIGHT OF THE PICTURE|
So please pray for those two good men - Pope Francis AND Monsignor Guido Marini.