July 7, 2013

Pope Frank: "Throw away your iPhones"

This piece by Damien Thompson was from last month, but well, I've been busy. Meet Francis, the Chatterbox Pope:

...But did he actually say those words? The comments were taken from notes compiled afterwards by his visitors, and we can't be sure of their accuracy. Something tells me that confusion over quotes is going to be one of the leitmotifs of this pontificate. "Did the Holy Father really say that Catholics have to throw away their iPhones?" "I think he was joking, but you never know with Pope Frank."

When the former Cardinal Bergoglio was first elected, we were told that he was famous for not giving interviews to the Argentine press. To which one can only reply: who needs interviews, when he shoots from the hip all the time? Francis the Chatterbox Pope. A recipe for disaster, huh?

I don't think so. He won't undo the work of the great Benedict: it would create too much ill-feeling and, at 76, he doesn't have time. Yes, there will be gaffes, possibly so many that we stop worrying about them. But if you listen to the Pope's improvised talks, you quickly realise that his central focus never shifts.

Follow Jesus by helping the poor. Beware of the Devil, who wants you to spend all day distracting yourself with little treats. This is not earth-shattering stuff - until you try to put it into practice. Jorge Bergoglio has a gift that eludes the boring, risk-averse platitude merchants who have captured the machinery of most Catholic and Anglican dioceses. He relaxes you with his smiles and shrugging, and then tweaks your conscience so hard that you wince in pain.

Don't gossip, he tells us. That's the one that really sticks in the mind. I can't say I've followed that instruction to the letter, but every time I backslide, shall we say, I imagine Francis the Chatterbox tapping his watch and reminding me: you haven't got for ever, you know...

This is the first Information Age Pope. People used to Facebook and Twitter can process this kind of rapid-fire information flow. It's for the moment; it gets quoted and commented on in blogs and forums within minutes. Then on to the next thing.

And he's not going to "undo the work of the great Benedict." That's silly. He's just going to "route around" the stale battles between liberals and conservatives, old and new. He goes straight to the oldest idea of all, follow Jesus. Which is always the newest and freshest of ideas, if we can but see it past our ingrained ideas.

Pope Francis

Posted by John Weidner at July 7, 2013 9:02 AM
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