March 26, 2013

Papa Francisco si ~ Palace no!

Pope Francis, the humble priest from Argentina, has announced he will not be moving into the vast Vatican palace normally used as the official papal residence. Instead he will stay in two rooms at the Vatican's guesthouse. While Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he refused to move into the Bishop's Palace, and with this action, Francis breaks a tradition over a century old.

Today the Vatican advised that the new pontiff will remain in the 120 room guesthouse, which isn't all that shabby either apparently, and stay among other members of the clergy and Vatican staff "until further notice."

The Pope will continue to take his meals in the common dining room and celebrate 7:00 a.m. mass with his employees in the guesthouse's main chapel.

The new pope is the son of working class immigrants to Argentina and has long maintained a preferential option for the poor. The option was first expressed by the Spanish priest Pedro Arrupe in 1968 in his letter to the Jesuits of Latin America. The concept is connected with the liberation theology movement of the mid 20th century which was first articulated by Gustavo Gutierrez, from Peru, in the landmark book: A Theology of Liberation (1971).

Recently Pope Francis shunned church protocol and tradition,and quite possibly stunned Vatican insiders, by choosing simpler and less costly alternatives to clothes and accessories in his role as pontiff.

Had he not been elected pope on March 13, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, would be leading Easter services at the Cathedral in downtown BA, as shown in photos above and right. His message, whether in Roma or Buenos Aires,  will likely be the same.

Pope walking photo by Antonello Nusca/Polaris

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