Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

January 8, 2014

House of Burgess: I like your style, Pope

Pope Francis breaks with tradition.

It was New Year’s Eve in the Carmelite community in Lucena, Spain, when the phone rang. And rang. Finally, it clicked over to voicemail.

“What are the nuns doing that they can’t answer?” said the jovial male voice on the other end. “I am Pope Francis, I wish to greet you in this end of the year, I will see if I can call you later. May God bless you!”

Imagine their shock when they played the message back later.

“The nuns passed the audio message to the Spanish radio network COPE, which is linked to the body that runs the Roman Catholic Church in Spain,” reported CNN’s Radina Gigova and Al Goodman on Saturday. “The nuns were praying when Francis called shortly before noon, and so didn’t answer, the radio network said.”

I generally don’t give voice to my personal opinion on the heads of religions to which I don’t belong, but I’ve gotta say, I like this pope. Since he assumed the head of both his church and the Vatican City state March 13, 2013, Pope Francis (née Jorge Mario Bergoglio) has shaken things up at every turn.

“While Popes have for centuries washed the feet of the faithful on the day before Good Friday, never before had a pontiff washed the feet of a woman,” reported The Daily Telegraph’s Harriet Alexander March 28, 2013, Maundy Thursday. “That one of the female inmates at the prison in Rome was also a Serbian Muslim was also a break with tradition.”

In November, Pope Francis made international headlines when photos of him blessing and kissing a horribly disfigured man, who was possibly the victim of neurofibromatosis, went viral. While I certainly don’t support his views on everything, I recognize the first-ever Argentinean Jesuit pontiff has made notable attempts at outreach to the marginalized.

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