Ever since Pope Francis sold his Harley to donate the money to a Rome homeless shelter, I have gotten the impression that he was not going to be a regular old fart pope. Yeah, he still says women can't be priests, but what's it to me personally? I lapsed from my Catholicism decades ago. Still, it would have been outstanding if he had opened that forever closed door to women. And I wonder if he'll invite back all the gay and lesbian church members and tell them all is forgiven. Forgiven for what they'll be sure to ask.
But check this dude out is all I can say. Any enemy of greed and capitalism is bound to become one of my new heroes. He is the real thing with a working vow of poverty even if he is Mr. Big of the "One Holy Apostolic Church.". Get this, he won't even live in his lovely palace at the Vatican. No, he lives in a nearby apartment. He also gave up the expensive car and drives around in a funky Ford Focus and a 30-year-old Renault.
He can attack the "idolatry of money" all he wants because he is putting his lira where his mouth is. Now he is saying that the nuns' convents and the priests' rectories might be put to better use as shelters for the homeless. A man after my own heart.
I can almost put aside my bitter resentments towards a religion that would not allow birth control while some of the poorest countries in the world had families who had more kids than they could afford to feed.
There's a new sherriff in town and he has having none of his men living lavish lives like big mob guys. He suspended the "Bishop of Bling," the German bishop
who spent $42 million on expenditures such as a $20,000 bathtub, a $34,000 conference table, and a $4 million chapel. It is not business as usual in the Vatican.
While the Catholic Church remains a bigtime money-maker, there is no fear of Church members rising up and demanding financial transparency. The Catholics always have been mum about their incredible wealth, but because of the bankruptcy cases due to the sexual predator priests, we do know that cost them over $3 billion and counting.
Guess it's a reminder of the "tyranny of money." It does seem though that with the departure of Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, Cicero, IL native born not too far from Al Capone's old house, no one is revealing anything like the $200 money laundry scandal that was exposed while he ruled the roost. Yeah, Marcinkus was another one who must have had his fingers crossed when he took his vow of poverty as a young priest. The press said he behaved more like a "Wall Street adventurer" than a prominent, upper echelon member of Vatican officers. I mean he could have passed as a made man with his custom-built cars, a Avana cigar stuck in his mouth, a crew of sexy blond secretaries, and his poker-playing buddies.
But I give this fire brand his due and who cares if people are attacking him and calling him a Marxist, a Socialist, and things I wouldn't want to repeat. Just read a little bit of his 84-page Apostolic Exhoration "Evangeii-Gaudium." Listen to these beautiful idealistic, soaring sentiments:
"The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ."
You tell these heathen idolaters, Francis. And again if you think he's over-reacting and that the gap between the boys with the toys ("whoever dies with the most toys wins" --popular bumpkersticker a few years back) and the poor, I invite you to readthe 200-some page "Ending Hunger in America" report released Tuesday.
Enjoy that Turkey boys and girls.