Pope Francis can’t always get own way

Minutes after his election, Pope Francis began giving the world a foretaste of his pontificate, signalling that some change is likely.

As he appeared for the first time, Francis’ choice of a simple white cassock made a very clear and immediate statement.

BBC reports that soon after the election result was declared in the Sistine Chapel, the Master of Ceremonies offered the new Pope red papal cape trimmed with ermine.

“No thank you, Monsignore, … Carnival time is over!” BBC reports Pope Francis as saying.

Later, at Mass with the Cardinals, Francis again broke with the recent practice of using an ornate vestment, rather choosing a more simple style.

Simplicity was also on his mind when he broke the seals of the Papal Apartment in the Apostolic Palace. Entering the apartment Francis seemed overwhelmed, momentarily motionless, “There’s room for 300 people here,” he’s reported to have remarked. “I don’t need all this space.”

Stories continue to  circulatie in the media of Francis’ simplicity, his continued use of his old black shoes, making personal telephone calls of thanks to the Jesuit Superior General and to friends of his in Rome, and quietly visiting a sick cardinal in hospital.

While many of the faithful are already marveling at their new leader’s refreshing simplicity, his sense of all-embracing equality and distaste for outward show, they can sit uneasily within an institution responsible for supporting and guarding its global leader, and Francis is already discovering that his power, and his insistence on humble practice, has limits.

While, Thursday, riding in a modest Vatican car with a small security detail to pray in the downtown St Mary Major basilica, Francis asked for the basilica to be kept open, allowing others to also use the church, however it was not to be.

“The gendarmes of the Vatican said no,” said an employee at the church who declined to give his name.

“The pope wanted it open, but the wish of the pope was not obeyed.”

“(The) only people not charmed by Francis so fare: Vatican security personnel scrambling to keep up with him as he presses the flesh,” reports John Allen on Twitter.

In his farewell speech, Pope Benedict, in an apparent message to his successor, said that whoever succeeds him “no longer has any privacy. He belongs forever and totally to everyone, to all the church.”



Additional reading

News category: Pope.

Tags: , , ,