Bishop Francis Has No Time For Protocol
The beautiful (at least in these parts) summer 2013 is going to an end, and after the summer pause we must make ourselves strong for another series of antics from the bishop of Rome, Francis.
Francis has, says the Telegraph, no time for protocol. Instead of having visitors bow to him, he bows directly to them, lest they should think the head of the Catholic Church is someone worth bowing to. So happened with the rather fetching Queen Rania of Jordan, on visit to the bishop in white.
Once again, we must draw a very simple lesson: Francis does not care for the papacy. He does not care of how the office is perceived. What he is interested in is that he himself may look good, modern, simple, and oh so humble.
One shudders at how bad must have been all the Popes of the past, who insisted on the particular position of the Successor of Peter being stressed at all times. They had times for protocol, for proper clothes, even for Beethoven!
Apparently, they knew that symbols are powerful; that who bows to whom is a very important question; that the one who bows to the Pope shows respect to the office, not to the man. They knew that these matters do are important, which is why they, like the rest of the planet, had time for protocol.
Francis hasn't “time” for these things, and he is “not interested” in protocol. Francis is interested in the perception of Francis, the man. A couple of days ago he showed up at a meeting in Rome with the now famously “humble” Ford, without even a Vatican registration number. He also appears to have entered the church with – refers the “Homograph” – his folded mitre tucked under the right arm. As if he were embarrassed by it, or thought it just superfluous.
“Look” – he seems to say – “my name is Francis. Forget that I am Pope, ok?”.
I wish I could.
One who is more and more embarrassed of any visible manifestation of being a Pope should, if you ask me, ask himself whether he should, or is fit to, be one. One can't be Pope and demand that he be considered just to a nice uncle. The reputation of the uncle may well increase, but the importance of the office can only be damaged. One does not have to be a genius to understand this, or an experienced diplomatician. Francis has lived in the corridors of power for many years. He knows why people bow to the Pope.
He is simply interested in the uncle, not the Pope.