I got moved and I don’t feel ashamed in admitting it! I was watching the news on tv and had the chance to see a report about Pope Francis in a favela of Rio and to listen to what he said and I got moved and thought: “This is a man of God!”.
Yes, I am a Unitarian minister. So, what’s wrong?
I’m not saying I’m going to change my mind, I am not going to become a Catholic or anything similar: I am still horrified by the idea of a hierarchical Church whose leader is considered the “Vicar of Christ” and infalible in proclaiming dogmas, I am still angry with all the luxury of the Vatican, with a Curia which, I hear, only now (too late and, I can presume, only for a slavish obedience to its leader) is moving towards a less wasteful style of life and I certainly don’t agree with so many Catholic religious ideas it would be too long to number them.
But this doesn’t mean I should pretend to be blind in front of a man like Pope Francis. Yes, I know what many people think: it’s just an image, just a good job by the PR of the Holy See. Well, I don’t agree: I am quite sure none would act concretely against the Vatican historical show off and against the paritetical Vatican corruption, none would be so naturally open to the people just for a good advertising campaign without a deep, radical conviction that this is the only way for a minister (actually for any human being) to be.
So I think Francis is really a good man. But… how can I judge him a man of God? Surely not as he is a priest, a bishop, the Pope: we all know an anointment is certainly not a guarantee for anything of this kind.
The answer is simple to me: simply I judge a man of God anyone having a preferencial option for the lasts on Earth, for all of them, for the poor, for the outcast, for the weak, for the ones put into any ghetto, for the ones having nothing.
We are called, as human beings, to love any brother and sister but especially these people simply as they have nothing and our love, any expression of our love, is, at least, something.
So I saw this people in the favela in Rio and I know tomorrow they will be as poor as yesterday, I know much more could be done for them in terms of material help, but I also saw they were joyful today and I also know Francis could have act like many Popes before him, just visiting a Country, meeting the leaders, spending some good words and going home, but he didn’t: he went there, giving, perhaps, a little hope. And hope is, exactly like food and money, something they need, something we all need.
Am I saying Pope Francis is a saint? Not at all: I guess no human being is a saint. I am saying I believe that he is a good man of God, that’s it.
Shouldn’t I say this as I am a Unitarian minister and he is the mighty Catholic Pope? Why?
Let me tell you I can’t care less about our theological differences: theology is just a human product, a vision and an opinion, a way the Spirit uses to mark a different track in His personal dialogue with each one of us. Acts count much more, life counts much more, taking position in favour of the outcast counts much more, giving love counts much more and is, in my opinion, the real core of any spirituality in the World.
Many centuries ago a man, Ferenc David, said something like “We don’t need to think alike to love alike”. Well, I think he was right!