Imitating Pope Francis PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 January 2015 14:07



While watching the coverage of the arrival of Pope Francis on Thursday afternoon  I realized I am  still very far from the position of  Pope Francis,  who replied  “Who am I to judge?” when once asked about a  moral issue in modern society today.

One  particular moment was when I saw VP Binay kiss the ring of the Pope. Another moment was when , one by one, the members of Pres. Aquino’s cabinet took turns kissing the ring and saying a few words to the Pope.  Knowing that VP Binay and a number of Cabinet Secretaries  have been targeted in Philippine media at one time or another for corrupt practices,  I could not help muttering to myself “ I hope they are confessing to the Holy Father how much money they are going to return to the Treasury as restitution.”  Perhaps that was being mean and I say “Mea culpa, mea culpa.”

I have lived long enough to   remember several popes in the Vatican during my lifetime – from Pope Pius XII to Pope Francis – 7 of them, including the very short-lined Pope John Paul 1.  I have not seen in person any  one of them  but I have been most impressed  by what I have read and seen in the media about these  two popes: Pope John 23rd and Pope Francis. I will not pretend that my  admiration  of them is based on the theology they defined. I has been  more the “persona” of each one as this comes through in the quotes attributed to them, the anecdotes written about them, and the visage of each one as projected on TV.

Pope Francis strikes me as a happy person and one who has not allowed himself to be impressed  by the fact that he is the Pope, the leader of some 1.1 billion members of the Catholic Church.  These two factors about him are, I believe, the main influence on the style he has chosen for himself.  Taking the bus or the train instead of a chauffeured car when he was still archbishop in Argentina. Living in a guest house in Rome instead of the traditional papal apartments within the Vatican. Wearing his usual black leather shoes  and cassock rather than the traditional garb of past popes. When I read all these things about Pope Francis I am reminded of the book “Voluntary Simplicity” by Duane Elgin  which was  a strong influence in my own  life.

The visit of Pope Francis should not simply be one of those organized spectacles which we wish we could have joined. I pray that is   an occasion to learn from a model about those aspects of life which are more meaningful and which eventually make us happy.