Thursday, February 22, 2018


Let me preface this by saying that it is the press, both Catholic and secular, who tout Pope Francis' various gestures as acts of humility, such as not living in the papal palace but rather choosing the Vatican's Motel 6, not taking on the trappings of the papacy that Pope Benedict used or resurrected, driving cheap cars, less security and the like.

However, Pope Francis on day one when asked about living in the Motel Six rather than the papal palace did not say it was because of his humility but because of his concern for his mental health--he needs to live around people and not be isolated; he wants to be like other bishops and priests and not stand out as much, all for his own mental health.

There is a good article by Sandro Magister about Pope Francis' concern for his mental health and not placing him in situations that would compromise his mental health which you can read HERE.

At its root, the best description of being humble is being humiliated by that which one does not choose and would not choose that would appear to make the person less than humble, thus for Pope Francis to choose be carried aloft like Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul I not to mention all the previous pre-Vatican II popes would make him appear to be haughty and not humble.

But in fact, when the Church gives you its dress code for various functions once you are ordained a deacon, priest or bishop, not to mention a bishop's coronation as the Pope and Bishop of Rome, one doesn't choose what one is to wear but in humility takes it on.

Thus, this triumphal look would be very humiliating for the personal tastes of the person of Jorge Bergolio, but for him to accept it and wear it truly would be a sign of authentic humility. But neither Jorge Bergolio or the press would understand it as such.

But could you imagine Pope Francis wearing this? No , not at this point in his papacy, no not at all, it would be so out of place for him and his needs and mental health:


Henry said...

Well, admittedly, his concern for his own mental health seems well-founded.

Anonymous said...

"At its root, the best description of being humble is being humiliated by that which one does not choose and would not choose that would appear to make the person less than humble..."

I think the best way to "define" humility is to say that it means 1) knowing what your gifts are and 2) knowing what your gifts aren't.

Some think that humility means belittling oneself. If someone says, "You did a great job making that wining pitch!" and you respond, "No, it was nothing special" then that's false humility. A person with a gift should not demean the gift because in doing so the giver of the gift (God) is also demeaned.

If someone says,"You did a great job making that winning pitch!" a truly humble response is, "Thank you."

Although they have the same root (humilis) the words have rather different meanings. To humiliate means to make someone feel ashamed or foolish.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I agree, so when Msgr. Marini handed Pope Francis the Mozzetta, in all humility the Holy Father should have said, "thank you" and allowed Marini to place it on him prior to his debut on the loggia.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

And when shown the papal palace, the Holy Father should have thanked those who provided it for him and moved in and not complain about its size and isolation.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

I agree with you Fr. McD; sometimes humility is shown best when honors and attention embarrass us, and we would rather not accept it, but instead we graciously thank others, and bear with the sense of embarrassment it causes in us.

Some people glory in privilege and status and for them to revel in them is not a sign of humility. But if glory and privilege are not sought and are avoided, and are bestowed on us anyway, the humble thing would be to suffer them in silence, even though they cause distress.

If one is a extrovert and placed in isolation, that is a suffering. If one is an introvert and placed in isolation, that is a joy. But accepting wherever God places us is a grace and blessing.

God bless.

John Nolan said...

You published a photo of PF alighting from the back seat of a Ford Focus and remarked on the absence of electric windows.

European car manufacturers will put electric windows in the front, but not in the rear of their 'base models' in the hope that customers will fork out a few hundred extra for the addition of bells and whistles which do not make any difference to the car itself.

Since the Focus has A/C as standard, no-one is going to open a window anyway.

It's a good little car, regarded by many as the best car Ford ever made, but an elderly gent with arthritis and voluminous clothing, who has to sit in the back seat, could purchase something with more legroom at little or no extra cost.

Pius XII had a car which featured a desk and a reading lamp. Practical, and hardly Renaissance opulence.

ByzRC said...

Amen, Henry.

Francis is who he is. Perhaps selfishness has prevailed against humility with some of his preferences. It will only serve to make it harder for his successors who might wish to re-enchant the Office to some extent (Anonymous, save your breath, I'm not longing for the '50s with jeweled slippers and gold drinking straws). I'm afraid he is only setting them up to be vilified by the intolerant and merciless press and, at this point, many Catholics as well.

Anonymous said...

Francis does not have the bearing or natural class of a Benedict or a John Paul. He would look more ridiculous then he does now if he were to wear the Mozzetta. He would never be able to pull it off. Look at him now in a cheap see through cassock. He looks like a movie pope. You know when they show Catholic priests, nuns and bishops but they never get it right. That’s what Francis looks like....Stan Laurel in a cheap cassock designed by a second rate Hollywood seamstress. Awful. At this point I would settle for him to teach that adultery is always a mortal sin.