Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pope Francis: A Humble Being

            Pope Francis is a man of charity, humbleness and caring.  Francis is a seventy six year old man whose name was originally Jorge Bergoglio and he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires (Associated).  He has tendency to always put other people first and himself always last.  Only a month ago Francis’s predecessor Pope Benedict resigned from the title of being Pope.  Benedict was the first pope in over two hundred years to ever resign from being Pope other than death (Associated).  With his resignation comes a new time for the Catholic Church as it tries to go back to the more simple ways of the church.  The main question that comes into play from the appointing of a new pope is who is this man and what will he contribute to help reform the church back to its days of prosperity.  As well as seeing if Pope Francis can try to change the role of the pope from being a life of luxury to a life of servitude towards the people.

Image From Associated

                Francis was a member of the Society of Jesus, which we will get into later.  His lifestyle was different than most as he was one of the most humble top officials of the church (Associated).  In my personal opinion, other officials regularly exploit how much money they can spend or they seem to even think more of themselves than of the people they serve.  Francis regularly rode the bus to work and even cooked his own meals which other positions like his would not even think of.  He also regularly visited the slums in the capital other than making the people come to him (Associated).  When Francis was elected the top church official of Buenos Aires in 2001 he never lived in the Church’s gigantic mansion.  He was the first Archbishop to live this was.  He preferred to cut the church’s costs by living in a one room apartment in the middle of the city near the slums.   He also never gave public interviews because he believed that this would just spread false rumors so he only spoke directly to the people (Associated).  Another major part of Pope Francis is that he is the first Pope elected from the Americas as well as the first Jesuit Pope (Lotha).

                Most people in our world have no idea what a Jesuit is or what the Society of Jesus is.  The Society of Jesus was founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola.  The reason that St. Ignatius made this society was to make “a spiritual exercise to convert heart and mind closer to the following of Jesus Christ” (Lotha).  Some of the specifications of being a Jesuit require regulatory fasting, years of probation before you take your final vows, graduation of members and no female branch.  In other words the Jesuit’s are just very strict Catholics that follow the same general principals.  The main point of being a Jesuit is having the virtue of obedience (Lotha).  All members need to respect authority and do as they are told otherwise there is a good chance of losing their membership of the Society of Jesus.

                To be able to live in the Vatican you must be a person of great importance in the Catholic Church.  The only ones who are able to live in the Vatican are the Pope, the Secretary of State, the highest court officials, and the Swiss guards (Baumgarten).  The Vatican was built by Pope Symmachus in the fifth century as a residence for himself.  This original building was then transformed by several other popes into a massive cultural building showing the Christian faith (Baumgarten).  This is where Pope Francis will take residence.  Since the beginning of Popes, they have lived in luxury and the Vatican is where they obtain it.  The Pope gets two floors to himself for a variety of different purposes.  On the top floor is where he resides with two personal secretaries and a handful of servants granting his every wish (Baumgarten).  This is where I feel Pope Francis will stand out from the other Popes.  Most of the past Popes took advantage of the wealth and luxury they came into while being Pope.  Since Francis is such a humble man who took the public bus and cooked his own meals, I believe that he will not accept the help of the servants and will continue to live his life the way he has for the past seventy six years.  This has been a trend of the Pope’s who take advantage of their fame.  On the bottom floor Francis will receive visitors and work.  This office space leads into a beautiful courtyard full of artwork and statues which leads to his throne room.  This is where the Cardinals and other people of significant rank will meet with the pope (Baumgarten).  The Pope has a variety of different assets that have been abused and I strongly believe that Francis will try to stay away from the luxurious life and devote his time as pope to the people and restoring the credibility of the Catholic Church.
Image from Rabbifink

                Francis has done so much with his life.  His life has been devoted to helping the people of Buenos Aires and other parts of the world while always putting his needs last.  Francis obtained a degree as a chemical technician but never really used it for anything.  According to the Catholic News Agency, Francis studied theology for three years in the sixties and became an ordained priest on December 13, 1969.  In 1973 Francis took his oath and vows to become a member of the Society of Jesus or in more common terms a Jesuit (Bunderson).  Francis being a Jesuit is one of the reasons why the election of him was so huge.  Francis became the Auxilllary Bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992 which he spent the next ten years working with other Bishops until he became the Cardinal of Buenos Aires in 2001 (Bunderson).  From here Francis would regularly attend meetings in the Vatican with other Cardinals discussing new matters with the church.  At this time Francis was also the President of Argentine Bishop’s Conference.  He was Cardinal for roughly twelve years when he was elected Pope on March 13, 2013.  This now marks a new era for Francis and for the Catholic Church as it tries to find its bearings again (Bunderson).  Francis has done great things with his life and still has time to make a huge impact on the Catholic Church.

                Pope Francis is going to bring a new era of change to the Catholic Church and the Vatican.  This reform of the church should result, if it is successful, in bringing back the old culture of charity and forgiveness that seemed to have lost its way with the recent scandals of sexual abuse and embezzlement.  I believe that Francis will stick with his personality of being humbling and very caring and not abuse the luxuries that he has earned by being elected our new Pope.  Every person in our world could be better off by trying to change at least one aspect of their life to become more like Pope Francis.  If we can do this change will come and we will see a very different Catholic Church one that shows the true principals of having faith

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