Pope Francis has been the focus of much commentary for his Franciscan spirit, his simplicity, love of the poor and concern for nature. There is also much in our new Pope’s style that demonstrates his Jesuit spirituality, above all his freedom with respect to the traditional trappings of the papacy.
- Drew Christiansen, America
Like Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis is clearly a man of certain character. Whether it is living in Santa Marta guesthouse or traveling in compact vehicles, he knows what he wants. Beginning with his rejection of the regal red mozzetta for his introduction to the world from Saint Peter’s balcony and minutes later giving away the heavily embroidered papal stole to an attendant monsignor, he showed he was in charge. But in doing so he also showed his freedom from all the pressures that have made previous popes prisoners of the Vatican.
As I witnessed his day by day abandonment of centuries-old custom, I marvelled at his joyful, spiritual freedom. I soon realized it manifested his appropriation of the Ignatian value of “indifference.” It is an old-fashioned, philosophical term, borrowed from the Stoics, but what indifference means is freedom from distracting and degrading attachments, so as to be free to do what is more conducive to the good of souls.
As Pope Francis has made his daily changes, it has become clear that his aim is to make the church the church of Christ, welcoming to all, and appealing because it shows its care for all people.