(by pio dal cin)
Pope Francesco George Bergoglio has conquered the Hearts of the people. First with the choice of the name, taken from Saint Francis of Assisi,the greatest Saint in the history of Catholic Church, known around the world for his simple ways and love for the poor. When Pope Francesco was elected last week, the Dalai Lama made a short statement saying ” Although I am not familiar with all the Saints of Christianity, I know Saint Francis of Assisii very well as a man of simplicity and Love for all Creatures of the Universe”.
Personally I have detached myself from the Catholic Church in the last years. I could not understand what was happening. When I learned that the Vatican owns the most powerful bank in the world the IOR, I was disgusted, and even more when I red in the past weeks about a scandal that was rocking the Vatican’s owned bank involving a sum of ten million of Euros.
Wasn’t the Church supposed to be poor? Wasn’t the Church supposed to help the poor, the needy, the last ones? Why all this Love for richness and confort? Why was the Pope travelling around sporting a golden cross and ring that could have easily made the yearly budget of a couple of middle class families?
If that was the case, plus the pedophile’s scandals that we all heard about and the misterious Vatileaks files, it was enough to call myself out.
I travelled the world during my years as a young photojournalist, trying to discover the “Thruth”. As I grew up in a small town in Northern Italy, I always wanted to find out what was on the other side of the fence. I often asked myself it there was a Religion that could represent my need for the Immense, a Religion that could be considered the “Right One”.
I studied Islam, Ebraism, Buddhism, not in schools or in the books (even though I red about them whenever I found an interesting text) but through the people I met, because I felt that the best way to get to know a new way of thinking , was through understanding the people and how the Religion itself was perceived by them.
When I realized that all of these three major Religions have all some of “the Truth” but none of them have the “complete truth” I came in touch with the Native American philosophy and Spirituality. I like that very much and I believe that the natural way of worshipping the Creator is a very interesting and fulfilling way to live, in respect for all Creatures of the Universe.
That brought my thoughts back to Saint Francis of Assisi, a man who was the son of the richest person in town and decided to give up all he had to go help the poor and the needy. He loved each and every creature he met. He was the living testimony of the word of Jesus.
Pope John Paul I was a bishop in Vittorio Veneto Italy, when I met Him.
He was a very simple person, like Pope Francesco. He also wanted a poor Church but His papacy only lasted 33 days. Many books and articles have been written about Him and his death. Some say he was killed, but the conspiracy, if there was ever one, was never discovered.
In Italy we live the news of this Pope Francesco as a great blessing. Something we were all waiting for. A Simple Church that can show us through the Pope that simple ways can go a long way. George Bergoglio was living the New Testament even when He was a simple priest, then as a Cardinal, now as a Pope He is trying to tell the world that the world can be changed, that the Church itself can go back to the original.
“I Love this Pope, but I hope He will last” is the most common comment I have heard in the past week. It seems impossible that such a simple man, who love simple ways can really be leading the Catholic Church out of the muddy waters.
The fear for His life is a real feeling that I sensed talking to many people. Every comment as I said, ends with ” I hope He will last..”
This odd feeling comes from the fact that many know that there is corruption and evil inside the Vatican as there is inside any other Government in the world.
The Church is made by people and there is good an bad everywhere. If there was a right time for a “Saint Francis of Assisi” this is it, and by assuming His name, George Maria Bergoglio has taken a very heavy load on His back. That is probably why, on the night he was elected as the successor of Saint Peter, he kneeled before the two hundred thousand people who gathered under the rain to receive His first blessing as Pope Francesco, and with great humility, after greeting them with a “Brothers and Sisters, Buonasera”, he asked for a moment of silence and a prayer; the people’s prayer for the Pope.