Pope Francis is my hero. For years. Catholicism ruled much of Ireland and there are those who believe it still does. Ar least, 80% of Irish schools are still Catholic and even with history dug up from the Magalene laundries .. to priest pedophiles .. to the power the church had to take children away from single mothers and fathers .. Catholicism still thrives today. In fact, according to the viewpoints and actions of Pope Francis, the church has more responsibility than just making an atonement for her sins. Although he is making it his life’s work to shake up the Catholic church and set things right, that isn’t why this man is my hero. Pope Francis should have been a mother.
The idea occurred to me this morning when I was worrying about one of my daughters. No matter how old they get, no matter how accomplished or intelligent and even when they are with the right man I will still worry about them because that is what mothers do. I wonder if that is how Pope Francis feels about the Poor?. He has given up his Papal apartment in the Vatican in favor of a small efficiency, takes the bus instead of being driven around in an expensive automobile and expects his bishops and cardinals to live much more frugally. Coming form a Jesuit background, he has ideas that appear to be quite radical by previous Catholic standards.My favorite story about Pope Francis happened recently in Rome. He invited a poor man to dinner at the Vatican. When the man declined, saying he felt unworthy and had not bathed, Pope Francis had an idea. A fantastically brilliant idea! He built several public showers inside St. Peter’s Square for the poor and he has other ideas too like asking students of a local hairdresser to give free haircuts to the poor. He’s also given 100 sleeping bags to people sleeping on the streets. A local Roman charity publishes a handbook on where to eat, sleep, and wash, written in several languages.
I remember reading an Irish novel, Angela’s Ashes, a memoir by Frank McCourt. Growing up Ireland, Frank relays why he didn’t finish school. In order to go to secondary school,(the Irish version of High school) a boy or girl had to be approved by the clergy.It was totally in their power to approve or disapprove and poor Frank, not a favorite of the priests at the time, wasn’t chosen to further his education. Ironically, Frank would write a world famous memoir and 2 other books the first made into a movie,. He went to college in the U.S, (yes, without a HS diploma) and he became a teacher in NY City. He used to play the harmonica and tell stories of his youth to inner-city youths in the Bronx, an area no other teacher was fond of teaching in. Frank is my hero too.
What are your views of how Ireland has changed toward the church? Do you think it is possible for one man to make a difference when the Catholic church has committed so many wrongs throughout the centuries? Please leave a comment or share this post via social media.