Pope Francis in Motion … and Seated

Have you seen Pope Francis in Motion from CNS? Funky southern music behind shots of him speaking to the cardinals and then greeting them in the Clementine Hall. The pope’s face is radiant with a joyful smile – he looks so happy. We can only guess what is being said, though.

Note that Francis bends over to kiss a cardinal’s ring before the cardinal kisses his!

Several times he’s gesturing in what looks like “Write it down.”Do you suppose the cardinals are telling him the howlers and mistranslations in new liturgical translations, and he’s asking them to note them and send them in? Are they having a good laugh at the most “abstruse and pretentious” phrases??

Cardinal Napiers of South African gives the pope a yellow rubber wristband they’re wearing back home for the “Year of Faith.” Francis immediately puts it on. He’s been wearing it ever since.

What’s he gesturing to Cardinal Tagle, the young guy from the Philippines? Kind of looks like “We’ll sweep all that away! It’ll be fun!”

Cardinal Dolan boisterously puts his hand on the pope’s shoulder. That used to be a No-No – you don’t ever touch a monarch until he or she extends a hand to you. Under this guy, obviously, it’s Not An Issue.

And then, after Dolan, is Cardinal Pell, the big guy from Australia. He’s head of Vox Clara, the Roman commission that botched the new English Missal. What’s with the pope’s swaying gesture? Is he saying, “Well, the pendelum swings like this and this, and now it’s swinging back”?? Pell doesn’t seem to be smiling like all the others.

It will be most interesting to see if and when Pope Francis sets in motion any reforms on collegiality, liturgy, missal translation, and so many other issues.

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When Pope Francis isn’t in motion, he’s seated. Like this. (He’s the one on the right.)

 

8 comments

  1. Actually, if I recall correctly, Benedict XVI also stood to greet the cardinals even when he started using the throne. I can remember very few instances where he actually sat to receive people, even at his general audiences. Even in his last one, he stepped down instead of having the cardinals ascend.

  2. We can only guess what influences the choices of each Pope. I wonder if Pope Francis wishes to distinguish himself from the style of the former military rulers of Argentina. Pope Benedict wished, I suspect, to avoid a casual style.
    When the Chief Scout visits a troop the scouts will expect him to wear his neck scarf and woggle, the signs of adherence to the movement.
    Consider how places to be visited by a President or monarch are smarted up and how the people put on their smartest clothes. So the distinguished visitor shows respect by dressing impeccably.
    Poor Pope Francis will be subject to much greater levels of scrutiny than he is used to. He does not have the advantage that Benedict had of being able to observe at close quarters his predecessor and the surrounding people.

  3. “What’s he gesturing to Cardinal Tagle, the young guy from the Philippines? Kind of looks like ‘We’ll sweep all that away! It’ll be fun!’”

    To me it looks like (notice the pope pointing towards the ceiling), “When I resign and it’s your turn to move in upstairs, if I’m still here, just tell me to get lost, and I’ll disappear through that secret door over there.”

    1. @James Murphy – comment #5: I stumped very enthusiastically on Facebook for Card. Tagle before and during the Conclave. He’s got all the right stuff! His people love him and so do I. He’s like Francis in many ways. He’s going to be a heavyweight contender next time around!

  4. Peter Haydon : Consider how places to be visited by a President or monarch are smarted up and how the people put on their smartest clothes. So the distinguished visitor shows respect by dressing impeccably

    Those who have an official uniform, whether in the scouts, or the military, or the Church, will wear it on official occasions. It would not do for a Chief Scout, a General, or a Pope, to attend any official function in “civilian” clothes.

    However the degree of dressing up for official occasions has been scaled down by most institutions. Presidents no longer wear morning suits and top hats for their inaugurations, and when distinguished guests visit The Queen, for example when Pope Benedict was received by her in 2010, she is of course smartly dressed, but she will not have on any special regalia. No crown, no robes, no sceptre or orb.

    The court dress of the Pope and Cardinals seems to have been fixed in a decadent and excessive style during the Middle Ages.

    1. @Rom Kiul – comment #6:
      Indeed Rom thank you. I was thinking of those occasions when the Queen visits a hospital or factory which is likely to be made as smart as possible even though neither her nor her hosts are likely to be in uniform.
      The Times this Saturday had a picture of Pope Paul VI receiving Dr Michael Ramsey in March 1966 the former dressed much like Pope Benedict in the picture above.
      By coincidence there is also a picture of the Duchess of Cambridge visiting the Scouts in the Lake District dressed with “a Scout neckerchief”. Her every action and item of clothing was noted. Fortunately she was able to smile and seemed to enjoy the occasion despite the snow.
      On these occasions the way the dignitary dresses and acts may be guided by the desire to show respect for others rather than personal preference. Thus I am cautious about drawing conclusions from the different approaches of Popes Benedict and Francis.

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