Thursday, March 14, 2013

A New Pope: The Symbolism of the Day

"Just to paint a picture of the symbolism of the day. First, he takes the name, Francis, which is pretty radical. Francis was a poor beggar and not even a priest. That is a huge departure from traditional thinking. Then he comes out on the balcony without the red and gold stole reserved for the beginning of a pontificate. The stole is the sign of priesthood. Wearing only the white cassock and cape, this is the equivalent of a habit. Then he bows before the people and asks for their prayers, calling their prayers a benediction. In other words, he reversed the role of priest and people. This is ground breaking. Then he describes the papacy as a ministry in fraternal charity, an ancient formula, but the humblest one--and one the Orthodox world accepts. In simple words and gestures, Francis I has turned the rituals around the pope's first appearance on their head."

-Fr. J. Steele, CSC

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