Francis X. Rocca, writing for Catholic News Service, writes that there are mixed feelings in officialdom about the “abrupt change in style” with Pope Francis:
His abrupt change in style from the previous pontificate has overwhelmingly charmed the press and the public. But among the hierarchy, off-the-record sentiments seem to be more mixed: admiration at the ease with which Pope Francis has assumed his new role, alongside doubts that he can or should keep up such an unconventional approach for long.
The new pope made an immediate impact with his extraordinary gestures of humility: bowing and asking the crowd’s blessing on election night, paying his own hotel bill and eschewing papal regalia such as red shoes and a gold pectoral cross; and with his displays of spontaneity, such as straying from prepared texts and stopping to greet the crowd on a Rome street.
Especially within the Vatican, there are surely many who inwardly regret the clear signs that informality will be the rule in this pontificate. After all, honors and decorations are among the few worldly rewards legitimately available to those in the hierarchy. More importantly, anyone who understands the significance of appearances in Italian and thus in Vatican culture understands that Pope Francis’ changes indicate a threat to something more vital than vanity.
Read the full story here, “Changes in style send clear message from Pope Francis.”