I like the way Pope Francis rolls. That’s him, riding on the bus with his fellow cardinals, after he was made, you know, the Holy Roman Pontiff. As Deacon Greg Kandra notes, “He didn’t even sit in the front row. Or take a window seat.”
I didn’t know this about Francis until I read it in David Brooks’s column:
It’s hard not to be impressed by someone who stands by traditional Catholic teaching, but then goes out and visits Jeronimo Podesta, a former bishop who had married in defiance of the church and who was dying poor and forgotten.
So I looked up the story. Here’s how Margaret Hebblethwaite tells it in The Guardian:
Because of issues like this, and his confrontations with the Argentinian government on questions such as same-sex marriage, he has been classed as a conservative. But a different picture has been painted by one of Bergoglio’s friends, a radical feminist and Catholic called Clelia Luro, who is about as far to the left on the ecclesial spectrum as you can go. She married a prominent and respected bishop, Jerónimo Podestá – one of the leaders of the progressive reforms that followed the second Vatican council – and was sometimes seen concelebrating mass with him, the kind of thing that makes a Catholic cleric’s hair stand on end. But Bergoglio reacted differently.
Luro talked to me at length about her friend, of whom she has the highest opinion, and told me how she would write to him almost weekly, and he would always reply by ringing her up and having a short chat. When Podesta was dying, Bergoglio was the only Catholic cleric who went to visit him in hospital, and, when he died, the only one who showed public recognition of his great contribution to the Argentinian church.
I don’t think those acts of charity to the disgraced bishop means Pope Francis isn’t a conservative. They mean that he is a Christian.
UPDATE: A reader points out that Pope Francis’s favorite movie is Babette’s Feast. Excellent!