Two pieces of news, none of them particularly good, reach me just before dinner. They both concern our new, strong-willed but, how shall I put it, perhaps just a tad self-centred Pope.
The first one I have from Father Z: Holy Thursday Mass is to be removed from his traditional location of San Giovanni in Laterano, and to be celebrated in a youth detention centre instead. A rupture with a consolidated tradition smacking, once again, of Seventies on steroids. What I personally find questionable here is not the decision to celebrate Mass in a youth detention centre, but to deliberately break with tradition and with the solemnity rightly associated with the Holy Thursday Mass.
Father Z comments, very aptly in my eyes, with the following words:
Look. I understand what Francis is doing here. Fine. But in making such a dramatic change, I fear that he runs the risk of making these change all about him, rather than some other message he wants to convey. The same goes for all the other changes he is making. The papacy isn’t just his own thing to do with what it pleaseth him to do. The changes can become distractions, especially the way the media will handle them.
Ahem, I rest my case. I would only add that I suspect the “way the media will handle them” is exactly what the Holy Father is hoping for. I miss the same commitment when it is uncomfortable.
The second one is the decision (read today somewhere on the Internet, but I don’t remember in which language) that Pope Francis still has not decided whether (not “when”) to move in the Papal Apartments. Apparently he has “taken possession”, but he just does not live there, still preferring the hotel.
Whilst the first “innovation” is a strike at tradition, this one seems to me another blow at Papal authority.
Can’t wait for a Pope living in the youth hostel. The security must be fun.
It seems to me that the mildest thing one can say is that this Pope still has problems in realising he now is the Pope, and this changes his life forever (or as long as he is Pope).
The less mild thing one can say is that “me, myself and I” starts to be written in rather large characters on this Papacy, with a series of choices showing a rather obvious lack of regard for the wisdom of the ages, from the way a Pope should dress to the way in which he should live. Again, Seventies on steroids. All this, mind, not made in a slow and subtle way, but with a rather “look at me! I am different!” written all over it.
Someone near him should have the guts to tell him: “You are the Pope, Your Holiness. Get over it”.