The Selfie Pope


He’s called that for a reason.

popefrancisHe’s also known as the “People’s Pope.” Pope Francis, who was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the current Pope of the Catholic Church. Aside from Blessed Pope John Paul II, I really like Pope Francis because he is just like everyone else. He puts his pants on one leg at time. Or–in his case–his robe one arm at a time (although I really hope he’s wearing pants underneath his robe). I wouldn’t want Pope Francis to go commando during Sunday mass.

I normally don’t write about religious stuff on my blog. Well, I have never written religious stuff on my blog. But, since we just passed Palm Sunday and are entering Passover and Easter, I felt it was appropriate to write about Pope Francis. You may ask me what my religion is–I am Catholic. Do I go to church every Sunday? No. I take my dog to puppy training classes every Sunday. Do I pray to God? Yes. I pray every single day in my own way; however primitive it may be. Do I pray the rosary? Yes, I do. I started doing this last year after our second visit to Rome. I bought a rosary made out of crushed roses and learned how to pray from it properly. I now do it as a form a meditation when I go to bed at night.

You’re thinking, You? Seriously? Believe it or not, I do have other facets in my life that you don’t know about. Some are worth writing about, while others–let’s just say I keep some things to myself in order to protect the innocent, or not so innocent.

Anyway, I digress….

Pope Francis is the first Pontiff to choose the name, Francis, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. He is also the first Jesuit Pope, the first Pope from the Americas, the first Pope from the Southern Hemisphere and the first non-European Pope since Pope Gregory III in 741 (that’s 1272 years ago). I was told there would be no math during my blog writing, so I had to consult the internet just to be sure.

Pope Francis didn’t choose the church as his life’s work. When he was younger, he was a chemical technician and a nightclub bouncer as well as a janitor who swept floors before he entered the seminary. He came from a background just like you and me.

What I love about Pope Francis is his humility and concern for the poor. If anyone has ever visited Rome, you see first hand what poor is. There are Americans who are also very poor, but when you see a woman sitting on a sidewalk holding a six month old baby as she is asking for food, it’s extremely humbling. A lot of people live on the streets; lepers are a common occurrence. So disfigured, they often hobble at a snails pace because their feet are extremely mangled, or they have no shoes.

Pope Francis wants to build relationships between people of all backgrounds, which probably explains why he prefers to live a simpler lifestyle compared to previous Popes. He lives in the guest house rather than the papal apartments, and favors simpler vestments which are devoid of jewels and special ornamentation. Even when he was a cardinal, Pope Francis lived in a small apartment rather than in the large and elegant bishop’s residence. He took public transportation and cooked his own meals.  Again, he wanted to live a simple life–just like you and me.

He will jump into crowds (as seen on Palm Sunday), to take selfies with younger people. You can see on his face the feeling of happiness he has in providing the same feeling of happiness to those who truly adore him. popeselfie1

His actions tell others that he is not above everyone else–he wants people to join together to make the world a better place to live. There was a small child who approached him during mass on a certain Sunday afternoon. The Pope didn’t push him aside. Rather, he allowed the small boy to stand by him while he spoke to the masses. He didn’t see the child as a threat. He didn’t see the child as a distraction. The child, to him, was an innocent boy who loved him.

The Pope showed his love back by letting the boy stand by him.

He showed his humility with regard to people who didn’t believe in God writing an open letter to the founder of La Repubblica newspaper, Eugenio Scalfari, “You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying–and this is the fundamental thing–that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience. Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”

Although Pope Francis speaks native Spanish, he is conversant in Latin, Italian, German, French, Portuguese, English and Ukrainian. I speak some Italian, but most are four letter words which I learned from my mom at a young age.

He is known to have liberal, moderate values. He has shaken up the Vatican to bring bishops and cardinals into the current century by stating that, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge them?” He went on to say, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who respects God and does what is right, is acceptable.” Pope Francis is open to more women in the clergy, and considered the use of contraception to prevent disease be permissible. Some may not agree with his sentiments, but I do. There are a lot of third world countries where children are born into an unhealthy life. As they grow older, some are put into child labor camps comparable to slavery and are abused. Why should these children be exposed to such exploitation?

I think Pope Francis is a modern Pope conveying a tolerant message. He uses various media outlets to speak to people, and truly wants to change the Catholic Church’s doctrine on various controversial issues to be more in alignment with how people live today. I mean, let’s face it: the Catholic Church is in dire need of some changes. If anyone can make those changes, I definitely think the People’s Pope can do it.

Amen.

 

 

 

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