Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Human Popes

It seems to come as a bit of a shock to some people that Popes are indeed human.  Dad's old girlfriend e-mailed us all recently with words to that effect.  She had attached a video clip of Pope Francis channelling his inner Les Dawson, mesmerising his audience with the deft telling of some fairly stale mother-in-law jokes and she'd provided the caption "At last a Pope who is human, may he be Pope for a very long time!!!".

The Holy Father worked his audience well and they were putty in his hands.  I think perhaps that Les, watching from his place of eternal rest, may offer his successor a wee bit of advice about not letting the audience know your are enjoying yourself too much.  But that is very much the art of British Comedy and Argentinians may do things differently.

the unsurpassed Les Dawson (1931-1993)

I am not recounting this tale because I want to tell you that the Pope is a comic genius.  My reasons are different.  Let's return to dad's old girlfriend again. I don't exactly know how much dad thought of her when they were young, but both sets of parents were keen they got together, it seemed like an ideal match and she definitely had a crush on him.  Neither of them were without good looks and intelligence but more importantly their fathers were both extremely devout if stern Catholics and best of friends. However dad fell in love with a leggy Irish lass and that was that..... The religious zeal of grandfather and his friend did not rub off  on their offspring.  The reason why I am telling you the tale is because I think this is the first time the woman concerned had openly professed to being a Catholic in the last 50 years.

"Fishers of men" heh?

I personally prefer my humans (and Popes) a little more "hard-boiled", mother-in-law jokes are not enough for me and had I been writing in the early 1930s I would have uttered a mighty "Long live the Pope!" on hearing the tale of Pius XI (of blessed memory) grabbing a procrastinating Capuchin by the beard and in a rather intimidating manner saying "when We give instructions, We expect that they are carried out.".

As as for the woman who became my mother, well she recently said "Oh if only the Pope wasn't such a Leftie, I much preferred Old Red Shoes"....

You can't please all the punters all of the time.

Actually the more I think about it, the more I realise that it may indeed be a problem to see the Pope in human terms. Christ does not look on Peter in human terms. Christ is fully human and fully God.  He can see everything.  We cannot.  Christ can see beyond our actions and beyond our words... He does not see people as we do; frustrating individuals who refuse to behave the way we want them to behave.  He sees into our hearts, beyond the words we speak, the things we do, the things we fail to do.... We can not see each other with the pure love that Jesus sees us.... but just perhaps we are capable of looking beyond the purely human in everyone and catching a glimpse of what God sees  but we will only do that if we can get over our preferences.

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