Pope Francis rejects adulation of the papacy

Pope Francis – The idealisation of a person is a subtle form of aggression


Pope Francis is trying to reduce what he sees is the excessive idealisation and idolisation of the papacy.

“I do not see myself as something special, I am a sinner and am fallible.”

“We must not forget that the idealisation of a person is always a subliminal kind of aggression. When I am idealised, I feel attacked,” he said in conversation with the German newspaper, Die Zeit, which took place in the Vatican at the end of February.

Speaking of the spiritual crises that everyone has in their lives, Pope Francis sees such moments as part of growing and maturing in the faith.

“A faith that does not fall into crisis remains childish…I have spoken of the dark moments… and the empty moments. I also know the empty moments.”

And he offered some good spiritual advice on dealing with them: “You cannot grow without crises in human life.”

Die Zeit asked Pope Francis about the appearance of posters in Rome accusing him of not being merciful toward his perceived enemies.

The pope laughed and noted that the posters were in the Roman dialect, the romanaccio that he describes ruefully as “beautiful.”

He admitted that he prays every day for the ability to laugh, including a prayer by St. Thomas More to be granted a sense of humour.

The pope says the prayer every day and has recommended it to the members of the Roman Curia:

Prayer for Good Humor
by St. Thomas More

Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest.
Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it.
Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil,
but rather finds the means to put things back in their place.
Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments,
nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.”
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humour.
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy,
and to be able to share it with others.


I am indebted to the local ‘CATHNEWS’ for this article about Pope Francis.

What is so good about Pope Francis is that he can accept his own fragility and, yes, his own propensity to sin! Far from embracing the popular conception (mainly amongst Roman Catholics) that he, as a person is ‘infallible’, Pope Francis is ready to admit to his own fallibility – and to laugh at stories about himself concocted by the media.

His adoption of the prayer of Saint Thomas More – one-time Chancellor of England under the rule of Henry VIII – suggests a ready understanding of the need to temper theological and doctrinal seriousness with a modicum of common sense, spiced with the ability to see the funny side of life.

In his vocation and calling, it is good that a Roman Pontiff can stoop down to the level of the common people – especially in circumstances where they want to enthrone him as a subject of their idolatry – attributing to him power that belongs to God alone. Would that all the hierarchy of our Church bodies could be so willing to exhibit the humility of Christ.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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2 Responses to Pope Francis rejects adulation of the papacy

  1. murraysmallbone says:

    A very astute and insightful spiritual insight by Pope Francis.
    Fr. Harry Williams speaks very much along the same lines in his book titled “TENSIONS”
    In following God we do end up wrestling with Him;this is none other than a sign of spiritual growth.
    Another Anglican English contemplative said “Wrestling with satan was the easy part, wrestling with God is harder.
    As persons we must accept our humanity, we were not created as the Angels.
    St. Theresa of Avila reflected this wrestling with God in her writings.

  2. Father Ron says:

    Thanks Murray. I think the Bishop of Rome (as he prefers to speak of his office) would make an excellent Bishop of London – or even Archbishop of Canterbury. Agape.

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