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The Francis experience

SINGKIT - Notes from the editor (The Philippine Star) - January 25, 2015 - 12:00am

You just gotta love this pope.

He wears sensible, rubber-soled black shoes (his friends in Buenos Aires had to buy him a new pair when he went to Rome for the conclave that elected him pope because his shoes were really shabby) instead of the hand-sewn red loafers associated with the papacy; he prefers unadorned and unembellished white papal robes and vestments; he auctioned off the Harley-Davidson (and a leather jacket which he also signed) given to him for the brand’s 110th anniversary and gave the money to a hostel and soup kitchen in Rome – and yes, he carries his own bag, a sensible black leather satchel said to contain his razor, agenda, Breviary and a book.

He speaks from his heart and shoots from the hip, pulling no punches and not always politically correct or popular. Last December he told the Curia – the cardinals, bishops and priests who oversee the day-to-day affairs of the Vatican – that they had “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and “existential schizophrenia” and listed 15 sins that he hoped would be fixed this year, among them an exaggerated sense of self-importance, lust for power and the “terrorism of gossip.”

In Leyte, while he spoke extemporaneously from his heart to the Yolanda survivors, his prepared speech – later released to media – hit at “the profiteering, the looting and the failed responses to this great human drama, so many tragic signs of the evil from which Christ came to save us.” And in the airborne press conference aboard Shepherd One on his way back to Rome, he said (no matter how much those more popish-than-the-pope sorts insist that he never said it and that it is a mere fabrication of these pesky media people) that the Church’s stand against artificial contraception did not mean that the faithful should go around and breed like rabbits.

He’s also given people a good idea on how to deal with the kurakot-eers – kick them where the sun never shines; boy, in these here shores, we’ve sure got a lot of kickin’ to do!

He is set to issue a major encyclical on climate change and the environment as the world is faced with increasingly unpredictable and destructive weather patterns. He is set to speak at the United Nations in New York, address the US Congress, meet with the US president and canonize Junipero Serra in Washington, and will visit Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uganda and the Central African Republic within the year.

For sure, there are those who are not too happy with Pope Francis’ pronouncements and actions; conservatives may think he is too liberal, while liberals may chafe at some of his more conservative views. Certainly the “existential schizophrenics” in the Vatican do not look kindly on this pope who won’t even ride the papal limousine or live in the papal apartments. But Francis is the pope of and for our time, and while you may not agree with everything he stands for and says and does, you just gotta love this pope.

 

 

BUENOS AIRES BUT FRANCIS IN LEYTE JUNIPERO SERRA LAST DECEMBER NEW YORK POPE POPE FRANCIS SHEPHERD ONE UGANDA AND THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
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