Today I took in the Audience Pope Francis held for the College of Cardinals in the Sala Clementina. It was entirely charming.
There was a little scare, however. After the first greeting by the Dean of the College, Card Sodano, the Pope rose to go down to him and he almost fell on the stair. I noticed that in during the Mass yesterday he also had a little help going down the step from his chair.
He again came in only the white cassock… I hope he will bend to decorum over time… and gave a talk that was partly prepared and partly extemporaneous. He departed frequently from his text to add observations.
We need a transcript yet, but watch for his wonderful digression about how most of the men there (himself included) are now old. Old age, he said, is the place of wisdom, it is like a good wine that has to be shared with young people.
He spoke about the need not to be pessimistic. Give no place, he said, to pessimism, which the devil offers us every day. Yesterday he spoke about the devil, saying that if we are not praying to the Lord, we are praying to the devil. He clearly believes in the spiritual warfare going on around us.
As we move out of the first hours of this pontificate and into days and then weeks, we will see him more clearly as he is. He exudes warmth.
Finally, here is a view I think we will see a lot of.
I suspect we will see this Pope visibly in prayer. Perhaps it will be more of a praying pontificate than a teaching pontificate. But Francis was able to quote a German poet when departing from his text.