Meet Francis And His Saintly Patience.
I am, alas, a bit late to this party.
Still, I would like to use this little space to praise Francis for his commendable behaviour on occasion of the incident in St Peter Square on 31 December.
An ethnically Chinese woman is seen grabbing the man, in one of those inappropriate, but spontaneous gestures of affection that simple people show to the ones they really care for. The likes of Padre Pio have experienced much, much worse, but they bore it with great patience and love for Christ’s sheep. Actually, it is reported that Padre Pio was the object of such an affection that he often had great difficulties in extricating himself from the mob, with the peasants trying to grab whatever could be grabbed. This is what simple faithful do. They touch. They grab. They yank. If someone does not like it (which I understand) perhaps he should greet people from the Pope mobile.
Francis was in this situation on the 31st. And I must say, his kind reaction surprised me.
As the woman grabs him and literally yanks him toward herself (good energy, ma’am! You know how fat the man is?), we see Francis smilingly, lovingly encouraging her to lose her grip. I must say I found it very edifying. As the woman – which is so typical of simple faithful – hesitates to let the object of her Catholic affection go, we see Francis gently, calmly, and totally, totally non-judgmentally, exhorting her to allow him to continue his walk. His demeanour is so calm, so kind, so Pope-like and, in a word, so noble, that I am, myself, surprised to see Francis behaving so well for once.
I must confess, in such a situation I would have expected Francis to react angrily, and perhaps even physically, to the woman’s behaviour. I would have expected him to physically force the woman away from him just as as he forcefully opened the little hands of the boy, joint in prayer, years ago. In the end, we all know he hates Catholics, and he goes through them just because his PR machine says he has to, and because he loves the camera like Hillary loves Huma Abedin.
But this time, I must say the man has surprised me.
Gentle, calm, loving, outright benign, noble Francis manages to surprise us for once. See for yourselves!
Can’t imagine why he had to apologise.