Monday, June 23, 2014

The 'real' Francis

One can't but be touched by Pope Francis' spontaneous acts of kindness, in the video above he stops his motorcade to embrace a family group waiting to see him pass, it is moving, it is obviously unplanned, it is spontaneous, the sense of delight on the family actually brings tears to ones eyes.
This is obviously the 'real' Francis, the problem is separating what is real and what is staged. The 'media age' makes us all cynical and sceptical. I couldn't help thinking that possibly Greg Burke or Fr Lombardi had been out with a spray can just before the Pope passed that particular bit of Bethlehem wall. Well maybe not, but it was obviously carefully selected, to present the messages of the Holy Land visit to the English speaking world

Vatican Monday, always an interesting read, discusses: Pope Francis, between spin doctors and the Gospel.
Active, involved Catholics, especially younger ones, are more likely to be sceptical about everything the media offers, especially when it comes to it presentation of the Church. After almost a year and a half of Francis' reign we are all familiar with his 'image' but uncertain about the reality and where he will lead us  as the Vicar of Christ. The problem is the  very 'spin machine' that has presented him as bit of rebel, as a revolutionary, as someone who might make a break with 'Tradition', or even like those American sisters 'move beyond Jesus'.


Delia said...

But was it really spontaneous? The coincidence of the disabled man and the camera makes me a little suspicious, which is not to cast doubt on the Holy Father's natural kindness.

nickbris said...

He seems to be the most popular Pope we have had in my lifetime but there will always be some who disagree;trying to bring PEACE to the Holy Land is a first for just about any World Leader.

Unknown said...

Dear Father

I'm afraid that this was anything but "spontaneous" and "obviously unplanned". If you watch the video again carefully you’ll notice that the policeman is not only strategically placed, the only one is sight, but his body language tells us that he was well aware of what was going to take place - He moves forward in anticipation of the pope's car stopping.

This is an important point if I am correct. It means that it was staged. It was not only part of the image building, but more worryingly it was planned to appear "spontaneous".

Personally, I find all of this deeply disturbing. It suggests that other popes did not act in this way. And I suspect it is part of an overall strategy that will ultimately impinge on doctrine.

Then again, I may be one of those sceptics.

nickbris said...

The skeptics probably spent most of their lives as Non-Catholics so they will never "get it"

John Vasc said...

I'm sorry, but Fred B is right - it is clearly a meticulously pre-planned action. The policeman steps forward, the papal car stops instantly, the unsurprised, beaming attendant bishop is out of the other passenger door even faster than the Pope - clearly pre-briefed about what is to happen. The group of women attending the disabled man have either been tipped off or at least been given a broad hint to make them highly excited with audible 'will-he-won't-he' anticipation, and on the ?policeman's order (audible in the background) have quickly wheeled the man right up to the car immediately before the Pope has even got out of the car door.

As Groucho Marx said: "It's all about sincerity; if you can fake that you've got it made."

Katalina said...

Why can't we conservative Catholics just try to give Francis the Benefit of the doubt, just once in a while. We don't know if it was staged or not. Does it really matter. Look I don't like a lot of things he does but as the Vicar of Christ on earth he deserves or fidelity our support and our prayers. His popularity has no bearing on this.

Mr Grumpy said...

I've wanted very much to believe that that prayer at the wall really was a prayer and not a passive-aggressive way of making a political statement, and that if he'd wanted to lecture the Israelis about the wall he'd have done so. Because leaving aside my own take on the politics, it can't be both, can it? Any more than those "Dear God, please help the Pope to see that he's a reactionary bigot" bidding prayers at the Soho Masses.

I continue to live in hope.

Anonymous said...

One can't help but notice that among all the kissing, patting, and hand shaking, the Sign of the Cross wasn't made once.

Not. Once.

John Vasc said...

Correction, it was a disabled young woman, not a man.

RJ said...

It doesn't have to be spontaneous to be genuine. The Holy Father may have been given some advanced notice and obviously, the people had been told that he was going to pass that way. A well disposed person would see it as genuine until proved otherwise, rather than the other way round.

Deacon Augustine said...

Rorate's account of the Pope meeting the FFI may, if true, reveal the "real" Francis that lurks behind the spin:

"At the meeting, Rorate has learned, the Holy Father, quoting Loyola, told the friars that if the Pope says that black is white then we should believe that it is white."

Православный физик said...

I believe this to be totally staged...but that doesn't matter.

The reason Pope Francis does not get the benefit of the doubt is precisely because of his unpredictability....everything, the ditching of the moezetta, the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday, the refusal to genuflect (We've seen him kneel in various non Eucharistic situations), the daily insults, etc, all of this has created an atmosphere of suspicion....

What disturbs me about this situation is one has the Vicar of Christ, and a blessing wasn't imparted.

This pontificate makes me very uncomfortable, for all the wrong reasons, praying for Pope Francis

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

On leaving, after a meeting or after a get-together or a meal,I have often asked a priest for his blessing, always readily imparted. Never have I asked for a kiss on the forehead.

Anne said...

Martina Katholik said...

The (sprayer) story behind the iconic photo at the Separation Wall:

Mohammed Abu Srour, 23, writes slogans on the military gate which was painted over twice in preparation for Pope Francis’s visit May 25th, 2014. The completed slogans read, “Pope, we need some1 to speak about justice,” and “Pope, Bethlehem look like Warsaw Ghetto.”


Dymphna said...

I think it's staged but that's not important. The pope's routine is carefully planned whether it's the dramatic John Paul II or the operatic Pius XII or the quiet Benedict.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

'The coincidence' of the [pretty much anything] and the camera makes me a little suspicious. @Nickbris - I've spent most of my life not being Catholic (although I was given my grandma's rosary when I was a kid, so perhaps that's not polyhedronally accurate) and I don't get it. What I do get is that even if the artist formerly known as the Abp of Buenos Aires [even if he's quoting the first Jesuit] says black is white, for me - and reality - it is still black. Plus there have been scores of world leaders bent on being seen to bring 'peace' to the holy land. That said, it almost made me cry to watch it, but then so did Downton Abbey in a couple of episodes.

Jacobi said...

We all have our opinions about the spontaneity or otherwise of the Holy Father’s actions.

What I find sad is that a year and a half into his reign, the Church is that much further into decay. The mafia for instance of southern Italy may well be Ferendae sententiae excommunicates, although we have yet to see the formal edict, but then so are a lot of so-called Catholics these days either Ferendae Sententiae or Latae Sententiae. This latter applies to those who knowingly reject the Church’s teaching on, for instance, the Sacraments, abortion, the indissolubility of marriage and so on.

It is now clear that so much of the post-Vatican II Church has exchanged Sin for de facto Excommunication.

The trouble with rejecting Sin is that you also reject the Crucifixion and Resurrection, and therefore the Divinity of Christ!

John Fisher said...

There is nothing spontaneous about Francis. It is capricious and oportunitisticbut always him him him. He is the focal point not the quiet mover. "If the Pope says black is white then it is". Francis needs to get beyond himself and see he is governed by something beyond himself. Not the vicarious vicar of Christ who punishes those Franciscan Friars then indulges the lax, dissipated religious congregations and orders!

On the side of the angels said...

His Holiness's seccretary of 20+yrs is adamant the man has never done a spontaneous thing in his life. If it was staged well maybe it had some motivational narrative? God will know. As for the Dalek 'you will obey!' & the menacing 'if I say black is white it's white' & the judge dredd 'I am orthodoxy' maybe His Holiness might take some advice from spiderman -"with great power comes great responsibility" - God bless the brave friar who asked the Pope "'where are our accusers and our (under house arrest) leaders?"

John Nolan said...

I've also noticed that Pope Francis doesn't bless the people when processing to and from the papal altar. I've never known a bishop not do this.

As for being 'the most popular pope we have had in my lifetime' to quote an earlier commentator, one might well ask 'popular with whom?' With the Italians, perhaps, who see him as one of their own (although most Romans never go near a church unless it is to show visitors around) and with sections of the secular liberal media who think he's going to change Catholic moral teaching (when he doesn't they will either turn on him or blame 'the Curia' for thwarting his wishes).

But for most thinking Catholics he is still something of an enigma. His Apostolic Exhortation 'Evangelii Gaudium' is over-long, diffuse and imprecise - no wonder there is still no official Latin version of it; even Reggie Foster would have been scratching his head over it.

nickbris said...

Glad you agree John Nolan Latin is a dead language ,we should perhaps use Klingon

John Vasc said...

Here is the report in 'Osservatore Romano':-
"Then Pope Francis entered the garden of a family that had asked him to stop by, bringing a moment of joy to people to suffer every day. Casa Lufrano can be found at the end of the road which links Cassano to Sibari, that same road which the Pope had taken to arrive at the place where he celebrated Mass. Among the line of trees a white sheet was hung with the words: “Pope Francis, stop here. An angel is waiting for you”. It was so big that it could not have gone unnoticed. The Pope asked his driver to turn around and go back to find Roberta, that “angel” which was waiting for him. She laid there, on the bed, that she had not moved from since she was born due to a extremely debilitating disability. Pope Francis got out of the car and entered the garden, he bent over Roberta, caressing her with tenderness. He blessed her and her loved ones. Then he climbed into the car and continued his journey."
It must be the incident captured in the video. I've seen a photo of the (truly massive) painted sign, the name of the girl is the same (Roberta). But what we can see on the video is not what is reported.
The car turning round? It just carefully slows down and halts exactly by the group with the policeman standing in the road.
The garden? It's the middle of the road, not in any garden.
And in the video (and I can see no edit) there is no visible blessing, although curiously the assertion has been copy-reported throughout the world along with the video. We see a lot of beaming, kissing (the girl, several babies) shaking of hands (with all the women). Evident signs of compassion and affection. But no blessing.
Maybe there was an invisible blessing that the video failed to capture...? or perhaps somebody realized that there *had* to be a blessing, so one was retrospectively reported?

The Way of Dodo said...

Sorry to say it, but the stop looks planned to me.

And if this is the case, then it does matter.

Anonymous said...

Latin, as one of the ancient sacred languages of Christ's Holy Church, has more life than most languages.

John Vasc said...

Btw, that Osservatore Romano report is on the front page of the official Vatican news website for 23rd June.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Latin is a dead language in the sense that it no longer develops and therefore remains fixed in what it means. With living languages such as English the meanings of words change over time. Latin is therefore a very useful fixed medium retaining the meaning of the liturgy and thus providing a reference point to enable translations into living languages to be updated from time to time so that the meaning of the liturgy remains the same.

George said...

Oh, to go back to the 1930s when a "liberal" prelate would say these sorts of things: "not war, nor famine, nor pestilence have brought so much suffering and pain to the human race, as have hasty, ill-advised marriages, unions entered into without the knowledge, the preparation, the thought even an important commercial contract merits and receives. God made marriage an indissoluble contract, Christ made it a sacrament, the world today has made it a plaything of passion, an accompaniment of sex, a scrap of paper to be torn up at the whim of the participants." -Cardinal Mundelein

Terry Mushroom said...

To those of you who are suspicious and critical of the video - and agree with Dodo that it matters - how do you propose a proper forensic examination to ensure that you are correct?

Or are you going to leave it as a whisper against a man's reputation?

Anonymous said...

Yes, George, that is the ill that the October Synod needs to be addressing rather than describing the necessary (and instructive) consequences of the ill (sin) as the ill to be resolved.

Unknown said...

Bunyip - we are surely right to make an assessment of any image that we see on TV? Is it quite what it seems? Has it been staged? Is it, as in the title of the blog, "Real". Or are we being d*******?

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

@Bunyip; according to the headliner in the white cassock's own teachings, we none of us need to worry about whispering against anyone's reputation. If we are sincere - that is sincerely sincere - in our belief that the stop was a set-up, then that's all that matters and we are free and indeed sincerely bound to procede as we sincerely see fit.

p.s. Would that this was a joke and not a fact of his magisterium.

Terry Mushroom said...

Dav phi & viterbo

I did not question anyone’s right to assess the video.

My point was I’d like to know how the doubters think they are right.

So, what forensic examination did you use to reach your conclusion?

I’m suggesting that being “sincerely sincere” is not all that matters about seeking the truth.

Given the potential serious consequences of your accusations, one has to demonstrate a sincere conclusion with demonstrable evidence.

The Pope has a right to his good name unless anyone can provide testable reasons why he should not.

Thus, Delia, in the first comment, talks of the “coincidence of the disabled man and the camera”.

But why not? There are many examples of “citizen journalism”.

By “set up” do you mean?

a.The Pope, his aide, the Police, and the photographer were involved in staging a lie?
b.Or just the Pope, his aide and the Police?
c.Or a person or persons unknown?
d.Or something else?

LWC said...

Cynicism likewise appears to be an opiate of the Pharisee.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

My point, Bunyip, is that it doesn't really matter why Bergoglio wanted to stop and even less what reason we attribute. I guess if we all changed our names to pope francis and wore a white cassock we would never have confront things like cause and effect ever again.

Sincere is the new black, even if it's on the insincere end of the sincere continuum.

Long-Skirts said...


Spontaneous, humble
Everywhere cameras
Shooting modesty grand.

Humble, spontaneous
"Smell the sheep and the wolves
But don't feed, that's expense!"

LWC said...

Pharisee writhingly
Chagrined and spoiled
Self-righteousness abound
Furrowed brows and toes coiled

Writhingly Pharisee
Reverent bow
Acquiescence today
Papa Francesco now

fraz1971 said...

It was a genuine act of kindness. It could be that it was arranged because of the disabled woman. The Holy Father responds to those who reach out to him. A woman who was pregnant out of wedlock sent him a letter stating that she was worried about her priest refusing to baptise the child. The Holy Father phoned her and told he that he would do it.

What did surprise me about this video was that the holy father was in the Ford Focus. I was expecting him to get out of the BMW.

As for the camera being present, it wasn't the only one. I think that most Catholics who wish to catch a glimpse of the Pope would remember the camera. We didn't forget ours in Ireland 1979.

As Father Blake states, the real joy in this video is represented by the people on the side of the road. It fills me with great joy to see the faithful stay true to Gods Church.

As for some of the comments here. It doesn't matter what the Pope does, he will always be lacking for some people. It doesn't matter who is Pope. A publicity stunt would have the press present, that's generally what you arrange in order to perform a publicity stunt.

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