“Francis”can learning curve

I have mentioned at various times since last March that Francis needs to learn how to be Pope and that we need learn how to let him be Pope.

I saw this in a Reuter’s piece (about the Empty Chair) by my old friend Phil Pullella.

“It took us by surprise,” said one Vatican source on Monday. “We are still in a period of growing pains. He is still learning how to be pope and we are still learning how he wants to do it.”

There is more, of course.  I think he exaggerates (it’s MSM after all), but take a look.

Holy Mother Church is never dull!

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  1. Perhaps the leraning curve wouldn’t be so high, if Pope Francis just accepted the things that come with the office of the papacy and let himself disappear.

  2. anilwang says:

    Joe of St Thérèse,

    There’s truth in this. However, the need for curia reform was a chief concern at the start of his Pontificate. He’s been told that he should not trust the establishment, so he’s keeping his distance until he has a better idea who can and can’t be trusted. That necessarily means that he will not get the initial training that most modern Popes would. This is an area of concern to me (especially since he’ll have to reform the curia before he understands it), but that’s just the way things are. Hopefully the reform will be good and once the reform is in place he’ll start trusting the right people.

    As for snubbing the concert, I don’t see the big deal (unless he snubbed the concert to attend an AC/DC concert:-]). It has nothing to do with the sacramental life or doctrinal aspects of the Church, not even tangentially. And although some Popes have been patron of the arts, many would snub similar concerts in their days.

  3. Gratias says:

    School on Saturday – no Class.

  4. Cantor says:

    Joe of St Thérèse –

    Perhaps he has already accepted the most important thing:

    No matter what you do, there will be people complaining about it, pointing fingers, and saying nasty things.

    So he has decided to do what is right as he sees it. If he needs our advice, I’m sure he’ll call.

    Period. The end.

  5. Robbie says:

    For three months, I’ve crossed my fingers that Francis just needs time to learn how to be Pope. I hope that’s what we’re seeing, but I’m also a bit unnerved that we, possibly, elected a Pope who needs a bit of on the job training. If the problems the Church faces are as dire as we’ve been told, was that the best course of action? I don’t know, but it does seem to go against the grain.

    I just hope we’re not experiencing the era of the “style Pope”. By that I mean, rather than the person conforming to the papacy, the papacy conforms to the person. For instance, JPII’s style was to hop on the plane and take the message to the world. Liturgical issues and governance weren’t front and center. Benedict’s style focused on reviving tradition. He wore older vestments and looked to bring traditional groups back into the fold. Now, it seems Francis’s style austerity. He seems to want a “low Church” without any of the pomp and circumstance his predecessors had.

    Now, maybe we’ve always had “style Popes”, but I just don’t want a situation where what the Papacy means is constantly in flux depending upon who is Pope and how he views the position.

  6. Kathleen10 says:

    I know nothing of these things. In an optimistic moment I am tempted to hope that what seemed to be oh so wrong, could in fact to be oh so right? What I mean is, if the reason for refusing to move into the Vatican itself, and these other departures from expectations, are to avoid being swept up in the current thinking or practices, that would be exceedingly positive. Dare we hope that the private letter to Pope Francis from our dear Pope Benedict served as an effective reason for caution from the Holy Father? Might he be staying outside the Vatican realm in an effort to determine who is who and what is what? It does not explain departure from any liturgical practices.
    It would be wonderful to have something go so right for a change. I’m going to dare to hope a bit, even if it turns out to be just folly. My sense is that our beloved Catholic church is very much in need of an internal shake-up. I can’t help but hope it’s the kind to our liking!

  7. Hank Igitur says:

    ACDC are not currently touring so the possibility of anyone attending one of their performances in Europe in recent days is ruled out.

  8. Legisperitus says:

    Right now I am being significantly amused by the name “Hank Igitur.”

  9. Suburbanbanshee says:

    At least in the corporate world, a lot of “fixers” think that keeping people off-balance makes it easier to make the needed changes. Friendly, observant, apt to show up anywhere… and hard to predict.

  10. Suburbanbanshee says:

    It also may be that Argentine “bella figura” is colliding with Italian “bella figura.” Argentines are supposed to be awfully mannerly and correct, if I have my Hispanic country stereotypes correct, and also awfully stubborn about doing things the way that _they_ find to be correct.

    So yeah, it may be that the pope is giving perfectly broad and polite signals (if you’re from Argentina), but isn’t too concerned about whether or not the Curia pick them up because it’s their job to understand his signals. Given the way they insist that other people understand their hints, it’s interesting that they’re the ones finding it hard to interpret signals this time. (Heh. See previous remarks about keeping people off balance as a strategy for change.)

  11. Geoffrey says:

    “So he has decided to do what is right as he sees it. If he needs our advice, I’m sure he’ll call. Period. The end.”

    Amen to that. God chooses the Popes we need when we need them. That fact seems to bug traditionalists, but it is true.

  12. WesleyD says:

    John Allen dissects the “snubbed concert” story here: http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/recipe-overinterpreting-pope

    As Allen points out, he had to choose between going to a concert whose performers had been selected with Benedict in mind or preparing for a conference with the papal nuncios from around the world. Perhaps he should have managed his time better and done both, but if he was short on time, I am not in the position to know which choice he ought to have made. And it’s not as if I’ve never been short on time and had to choose between two responsibilities myself….

  13. anna 6 says:

    I don’t doubt that Pope Francis is supported with the grace of the office he holds, and that he is a good and holy priest with an extraordinary natural pastoral instinct, and love for his flock.

    But there are other aspects of his strong personality that could make his new role as pope a great personal challenge for him. He seems to possess a combination of great confidence and impulsiveness. No doubt these gifts have served him well, but they could be problematic in his new, demanding ministry. (Yes Suburbanbanshee, I know a few beloved Argentines who fit that stereotype).

    His on-the-spot decision to shun some of the papal wardrobe on the evening of his election was a bold and confident move. On the day he met Benedict at Castel Gandolfo, video shows him resolutely dismissing the Pope Emeritus’ plea for him to take his rightful place on the prie dieu. And now, his last minute decision to cancel his appearance at the concert, speaks to a strong, decisive personality. This kind of confidence is wonderful in those popemobile moments where he throws himself into the throngs of pilgrims, but discipline is required before making decisions that have wide ranging and lasting implications. It might be that Pope Francis is a genius and he came into office with a great plan that will reveal itself…or maybe he is just taking it day by day and running on instinct.

    Whatever it is, I admit that this situation give me a sense of uneasiness and confusion, after the serenity and refinement that Benedict XVI exuded during even the most stressful moments of his papacy. Pope Francis will need people around him who share his vision, who will give him wise council, and most of all, our patient, fervent prayers.

    Benedict XVI always spoke of faith as being “an adventure”…he was right!

  14. Cathy says:

    Is it quite possible that the statement that the Holy Father had an urgent commitment that could not be postponed is quite the reason he did not attend the concert? Is it possible that the urgent commitment is none of our business, save the possibility that Pope Francis might need our prayers?

  15. frjim4321 says:

    He did not get to be a cardinal by being ignorant of the nature of the Petrine Ministry. [Is that so?] Methinks he knows exactly what he is doing.

  16. anilwang: If the reform of the curia comes, Deo Gratias!…It’s a bit nerving to me as well, waiting for the reform, I pray that the right moves will be made in the reform of the curia

    Cantor, of course, no matter what the Pope does, there will be an extra microscope because well, he’s the Pope. I’m sure that he doesn’t need our advice, the math and physics teacher that I am, stresses over the lack of structure…(or what seems like it at times).

    These matters of prudential judgement can be a real adventure in waiting. let us pray for our Holy Father Francis, Pope of Rome.

  17. Supertradmum says:

    I pray for him, but I call him The Reluctant Pope.

  18. CharlesG says:

    I’m happy to give the Pope the benefit of the doubt, and I object to how some, like the Rorate Coeli folks, always spin Francis in the worst way, and I do like some of the blunt things he says. However, I must say I regret this concert no-show thing. It just seems crass to me and plays into the ubiquitous modern mindset that dismisses all culture, history and tradition as worthless. Not sure whether the Pope was trying to send some kind of message, but the optics are horrible. So there is something wrong with Beethoven? Liking classical music ipso facto makes one a “monarch” or a “Renaissance Prince”? None of the benighted “poor” could possibly be interested or benefit from a concert of classical music (or be musicians themselves), so our precious humble Pope can’t be sullied to deign to listen to a single symphonic note? If he felt so strongly against this sort of concert, he could have made his objections known in advance so arrangements could be made. Presumably he does look ahead at the agenda for him once in a while. And if he made the decision spur of the moment, it looks a little arbitrary. Anyways, I am a loyal papist, but I feel the need to vent a bit here. I’ve always loved Beethoven’s Ninth since a child, so this hit me rather hard.

  19. Pope Francis is great and I love how his personality shines through his office as pope! I do not want him to disappear anywhere! I think we are blessed to have a pope like him in these times.

  20. Joan M says:

    Could the fact – a fact that he himself stated – that Pope Francis is tone deaf had something to do with the choice he made? I’m not sure if someone who is tone deaf would be able to enjoy music. Perhaps if someone is tone deaf even classical music can sound to them as rap and other modern so-called music sounds to me! This could have had a weight that would not have been there for those of us who can enjoy beautiful music.

  21. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    He did not get to be a cardinal by being ignorant of the nature of the Petrine Ministry. Methinks he knows exactly what he is doing.

    Unless a pope is elected from the Curia or perhaps the Italian hierarchy, he’s not going to hit the ground running. Even BXVI, who had some ideas about what he wanted to do, took some time to learn the job.

  22. TNCath says:

    Permit me to add my two cents. I do believe that the Holy Father is finding it difficult to adjust to his new role in the Church. However, I do believe that the “no show” could have easily been handled by saying that the “Holy Father has chosen not to attend the concert” and leave it at that, rather than leave an empty chair sitting there as if we were in a sede vacante mode.

    Additionally, having recently returned from Rome where I always walked through St. Peter’s Square in the evening, I couldn’t help but notice the fact that the lights were out in the Apostolic Palace, obviously because the Pope wasn’t there. This left me with a rather empty feeling and an epiphany of sorts. The Holy Father contends that he wishes to live at Domus Santa Marta to be closer to people. While I understand that need, I also believe that having that light on in the window of the Apostolic Palace each night provided a very important presence to not only the people of Rome but also to the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who visit Vatican City every year and to the Church at large. It was always very comforting for to know that the Holy Father was present each evening in the Apostolic Palace. For years, Pope John Paul II invited people to the Apostolic Palace for Masses, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners so that he could stay in touch with people. Why can’t Pope Francis do the same?

    Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco!

  23. anna 6 says:

    TN Cath:
    Very insightful!
    The first thing I thought of when I learned that Pope Francis wouldn’t be living in the AP was…the lights! And yes, it made me a sad too, because I have always found them to be a comfort.
    I understand that some people used to like to watch the lights go out at night on the Vatican video cam! They say that even the cynical Romans felt better when the Pope came home from a journey, and the lights returned.

  24. Clinton says:

    Whatever were the Pope’s reasons for standing everyone up, the fact remains that the people
    he’ll have to work with to implement his reforms were in attendance. Italy is the land of “la
    bella figura”
    , and disrespect, publicly delivered, is long remembered and deeply resented.
    The Holy Father just made his own job much, much more difficult.

    Would it have killed him to have shown up, apologized profusely to everyone in attendance,
    and withdrawn early? I think he’ll come to regret actions like this.

  25. anna 6 says:

    Exactly Clinton!
    In and of itself, “the empty chair” isn’t a big deal…but it could come back to haunt him.

    I thought the same thing when it was announced that the Vatican employees would not be receiving the traditional stipend that is received after a papal election, to acknowledge their extra work during the transition. The money was instead given to the poor. Presumedly, these are not highly paid staff. An anonymous person interviewed by John Allen said that he was counting on the money to travel home to see his family, so some resentment could result from this as well.

    Given that it seems as if some of the problems of governance that Benedict XVI encountered during his papacy were due to turf wars and resentment against the reforms HE tried to implement, Pope Francis actions may inadvertently work against the curial reforms he so desperately want to set in motion.

  26. Katylamb says:

    My guess is that the Pope was probably telling the truth about having urgent business. He doesn’t seem the lying type to me.

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