The new pope is not being political when reaches out to people, and in so doing, travels around the world. He does not choose who to hold or hug or kiss. He does not preach about the magnificence of the papacy and the Vatican…in fact, he is obviously, embarrassed about them. He does not preach to convert, but speaks about universal love and compassion. This is how evangelization should be done, by not talking about the church to which one belongs, but letting other people read his intentions through his actions and pronouncements.
It should be recalled that Francis, upon his assumption of his papal post, started his campaign for the practice of humility when he chose to live in an austere apartment, rather than the luxurious suite reserved for popes. He wanted to be just like anybody else, so he has no qualms about carrying his meal tray when he dines in the canteen with the rest of lay people. He has no aides at his side 24/7, except when on official trips. And, he carries his own bag when he travels!
Instead of bashing him on the internet, those who are anti-pope, anti-Christ, anti-Vatican, and anti-Roman Catholic should try to understand his messages first. They should view the new pope as Francis, a former bishop, an ordinary guy, who assumed the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church which was not his choice in the first place. Francis is not presenting himself as the new Messiah or Prophet. His mission is to spread love and not hatred. He is not even asking to be loved, but for others to include him in their prayers.
Why can’t the bashers just write something about the devilish leaders of nations whose selfish acts trespass other nations’ rights? Why can’t they exhaust their effort in condemning the acts of ISIS advocates who are now being loathed by their fellow Muslims? Why can’t they just write about the conscienceless terrorists who sow fear throughout the world? Why can’t they look around them and paint with words the gruesome poverty and splash them on the internet for the world to see?
As every Christian knows, the Apostles spread themselves to proclaim the teachings of Jesus Christ. Congregations were addressed by authors of Epistles in the New Testament, and these messages contained instructions. Among these congregations were those located in Rome where, Christianity was supposed to have been planted after the Pentecost. Traditionally, the congregations had elders who served as administrators, but nobody among them acted superior than the rest. The elders acted with equal authority, during which time there was no so-called “bishop” or “pope”, yet.
The development of the “monarchial” leadership was during the second century. But the title “pope” was first used by the Bishop of Rome, Callistus, during the third century. Later, the title evolved as a firm official reference to the Bishop of Rome exclusively, as insisted by Pope Leo I. He also used the pagan title “Pontifex Maximus”, which is still used until today, although, such title was also used by the pagan Roman Emperors until the end of the fourth century. Leo I based his insistence on what Jesus said about Peter as the first among the Apostles, therefore, the St. Peter’s Church in Vatican should be the premier Church among the rest of Catholic Churches. With this basis, it was made clear that while “the emperor held temporal power in Constantinople in the East, the pope exercised spiritual power from Rome in the west”. Such authority was manifested when Charlemagne was crowned by Pope Leo III as the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
Governments around the world viewed the pope, as the “ruler” of a separate sovereign state – the Vatican City. In this view, the Roman Catholic Church unlike the rest of religions, has the privilege to send officials vested with diplomatic authority to duly recognized governments around the world. Among the titles of the pope are: Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor to the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Sovereign of the Vatican City. When attending official ceremonies, he is accorded with pompous honor, appropriate for the Head of a State.
Could the current pope, Francis, have realized the overwhelming papal power that he cringed with remorse, thereby, deciding to live in an “apartment” rather than the “palatial” official residence? Compassion is among his advocacies…and this can only be done if he lives among his “flock”.