Where This Meets That
“There is a tension between the center and the periphery…. We must get out of ourselves and go toward the periphery. We must avoid the spiritual disease of the Church that can become self-referential: when this happens, the Church itself becomes sick. It’s true that accidents can happen when you go out into the street, as can happen to any man or woman. But if the Church remains closed onto itself, self-referential, it grows old. Between a Church that goes into the street and gets into an accident and a Church that is sick with self-referentiality, I have no doubts in preferring the first.” – Pope Francis (Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio)
In honor of our new pope, I thought it would be good to capture some interesting facts about him.
1) “The first” – He represents so many firsts that it’s hard to know which one to list first!
He is the first to honor St. Francis of Assisi in choosing his papal name. As a Catholic, the fact that the name “Francis” slipped through the cracks for nearly a millennium of popes mystifies me. Pope Francis is also the first Jesuit pope, the first non-European pope in thirteen centuries, and the first pope from the Americas. I’m going to go out on a limb and say he’s the first one-lunged pope, too, having had one infected lung surgically removed as a teenager.
2) “Humility” is the word that keeps coming up to describe him. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he used the bus for transportation, lived in an apartment, and prepared his own meals. He also traveled to the conclave via an economy flight. In 2001, he washed and kissed the feet of twelve AIDS patients in hospice, and in 2008, he repeated the act to twelve drug addicts, recalling Jesus’s washing of his disciples’ feet during the Last Supper.
3) Before becoming Archbishop, he taught literature, psychology, philosophy, and theology, worked as a chemist, and even worked as a bouncer at a bar.
4) He speaks fluent Spanish, Italian, and German (and not-so-fluent English, French, and Portuguese), loves soccer (i.e. fútbol), and could once dance a mean tango.
5) Finally, just an observation on the below photo. Crazy to imagine this photographer capturing Pope John Paul II in the same frame as the next two popes. Pretty amazing shot, given the way the course has run!
Have a wonderful weekend, Everybody!