The intramural life of Pope Francis

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By CAPosts 01 November, 2020 - 05:30pm 135 views

Seven years ago an Argentine went to a centrally located hotel in Rome to pay the bill. At the reception they did not give credit. They had before them the face that constantly appeared on television: Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the newly elected Pope Francis. Despite the fact that the establishment was owned by the Holy See, that is, his, the new pontiff had decided to go in person to settle the account for the stay of the days of the conclave and to remove the luggage that he had left in the room. His companions and the bodyguards were also stunned. It was the prelude to a new style in the Church, a clear clue that he had come to change it or at least try it.

That same day he had a crucial appointment with his personal tailors to begin preparing his papal habit, but decided that Vatican protocol could wait. His next step was to remove the classic red shoes that symbolized the power of the popes. The golden papal throne also retired; greeted the cardinals at their first meeting with a "hello" and a wave of his hand; He discarded the luxurious apartment that awaited him in the Apostolic Palace and moved into a modest residence for priests within the Vatican. Each of his movements attracted so much attention from all audiences that Time proclaimed him Person of the Year only a few months after his appointment. "The lyrics have not changed, but the music of the Catholic Church has changed," argued the magazine.

Since he entered the Sistine Chapel as Cardinal Bergoglio and left as Pope Francis, he was clear that the walks and bus journeys were left behind or in the subway (subway) through Buenos Aires, visits to slums or encounters with cartoneros. In this time, the weight and rigidity of the papacy have permeated its spontaneity. He no longer leaves the Vatican walls alone to personally buy glasses at an optician in Rome, as he did on one occasion; Nor does he drive an old four-can Renault through the streets of the small state. But it continues to surprise.

The last occasion was a few days ago, with statements in a documentary in which it supports the creation of laws that protect civil unions between people of the same sex. Homosexuals have the right to be in a family. They are children of God and have the right to a family, "he said. It is not an endorsement of gay marriage, nor is it a waiver of the conviction that sexual acts between people of the same sex are sinful. But he is the first Pontiff to express himself in favor of this issue in such a clear way.

Francis has spent the pandemic "caged" within the Vatican walls, as he himself has said, without trips or hardly any major public appearances. Direct contact with the faithful is a necessity for him, it is one of his greatest symbols and thus carries out his spiritual leadership. After six months of hiatus, he resumed his Wednesday general audiences in September and was initially criticized for coming to personally greet visitors and for not wearing a mask. Until last week he gave up approaching the public to avoid crowds and possible infections. "Excuse me if today I greet you from afar but I think that if all of us as citizens comply with the regulations of the authorities, this will be a help to end this pandemic," he said. This week he appeared for the first time in public with a mask, in a religious meeting for peace with other elderly religious leaders.

Since his arrival he marked distances with the royal ways of the previous papacies. He shelved the papal luxuries as being a contradiction and continues to live in the same austere way that he preached from the beginning. He continues to travel in small utility vehicles, with fewer escorts than usual and does not go on vacation either, to the chagrin of the merchants in the town of Castel Gandolfo, close to Rome and a traditional summer residence of the Popes, which used to be a juicy tourist hook. thus. Bergoglio in July slows down his schedule, limits his public appearances and takes the opportunity to rest, without leaving his Santa Marta residence, and do things he usually does not have time for, such as listening to music or reading.

His is being a Difficult pontificate, marked by the management of pedophilia scandals within the Church, by corruption in the curia, by the fierce opposition of the most conservative sector of Catholicism, by the loneliness of the Pope. And also for the reproaches for the lack of tangible results of its profound reforms. Although, as he himself has recognized on occasion, his intention is to "open processes" irreversible in the Church that will probably have to be completed by his successor.

During this time he has distinguished himself by being the environmental pope who published his green encyclical - Laudato si , the first of the Church on climate change - shortly after the opening of the pontificate and who greeted the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and asked her to Get on with your fight for the weather. He also continues to be the pope of the street, of closeness, of hugs, a “shepherd with the smell of sheep”, as he is often described; the pope of bridges, who whenever possible criticizes the walls, with clear allusions to some of Donald Trump's policies. Or the pope who came from the end of the world, as he said in his first words as pontiff, to shake and revitalize an institution little given to changes and in which the usual unit of measurement is the century.

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