Pope: Statues and sleek cars no, bikes yes

Pope Francis has asked for a statue of himself at his old cathedral to be removed — and advised seminarians and novices to get around on bikes and avoid sleek cars and smartphones.

The statue, a lifesize likeness of the Pope, had been installed for about 10 days in the gardens of the Buenos Aires cathedral where he had been archbishop.

But as soon as he heard about it, the Pope telephoned the cathedral and asked for it to be removed.

The statue was created by artist Fernando Pugliese, who had created other monuments dedicated to John Paul II and Mother Teresa.

Made of fiberglass and resin, it was in a courtyard closed to the public, but could be glimpsed from the street, where the pontiff appeared to smiling and waving.

Local people had been posing for photographs next to it ever since it was erected. But within a few hours of the Pope’s phone call it had disappeared.

The artist had intended to populate Buenos Aires with variously sized sculptures of the first pope from Latin America, in public and private spaces related to his life in Argentina.

“I’ve known Jorge Bergoglio for 14 years. I’ve always admired him and his very humble personality fascinates me,” he told reporters.

Meanwhile, back at the Vatican, Pope Francis gave an off-the-cuff talk to about 6000 seminarians and religious novices.

Urging them to live out their vocations with joy, he said: “True joy doesn’t come from things. No, it is born of an encounter, of the relationship with the other. It’s born of feeling ourselves accepted, understood, loved, and of accepting, understanding and loving.”

He cautioned his listeners to avoid the temptation of thinking “the latest smartphone, the fastest moped and a car that turns heads” will make them happy.

The Pope said it pains him when he sees a nun or priest driving an expensive car. When a car is needed, he added, “get a humbler one”.




Catholic News Agency

Image: Patheos

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