Parkland Press

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Editor's View

Thursday, March 21, 2013 by DEB PALMIERI in Opinion

Pope Francis, the embodiment of power and humility

As I completed this week's Parkland Press pages early Tuesday morning, I had one eye and ear cast in the direction of the television.

Pope Francis was being installed as the new Bishop of Rome; the spiritual leader of some 1.2 billion Roman Catholics worldwide and the head of state of the Vatican.

Such power and authority could easily turn the head of many a man.

Former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, however, does not appear to be one of those men.

Taking the name Francis, a saint dedicated to poverty, to the care of animals and to living his life as Christ did, the new Pope said authentic power is service, service to others.

The first image I saw on television was Pope Francis standing in the back of the "Popemobile" sans the bubble top installed following the first attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in May 1981.

The next image was of the Pope taking, holding and kissing a baby handed to him by the child's mother who was standing along the inaugural route to St. Peter's Basilica.

From the moment white smoke wafted from the Sistine Chapel chimney in St. Peter's Square March 13 announcing a new pope was chosen, to March 19, celebrated by Catholics as St. Joseph's Day, news stories have proclaimed the simplicity of the man who rode back to the clerics' guest house in a minivan with his fellow cardinals, picked up his belongings and paid his bill without the aid of servants.

Calling himself the Bishop of Rome, rather than the universal authority figure, "Pope," Francis, wearing simple church vestments, gave his homily, drawing from the life and purpose of Joseph, the man chosen by God to be the earthly father of Jesus of Nazareth.

Pope Francis described Joseph as the protector of Mary, Jesus and the church. He said Joseph could hear God's voice and responded to God's call readily and willingly.

He stressed we are the protectors of creation – one another, the environment, the poor, the weak, the children and the elderly – just as Joseph was the protector of his family.

"In the end, everything is entrusted to us," Pope Francis said. "When we fail to take care of creation, the way is open to destruction."

What a world this would be if only the others who hold power – the heads of state, presidents and monarchs who lead countries across the globe; the leaders of international corporations and organizations; fathers and mothers; you and I – would take to heart the Pope's message.

Power is to be used for service, to serve others ...

May Pope Francis' service be long and powerful.

Deb Palmieri


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