Tuesday, 30 July 2013

There is a story going around

Pope Francis. I have no idea whether it is true. The person who told me did not know either. The person who told her was someone who has direct contact with the Vatican so it might well be. It would certainly be in keeping with the impression the media is giving.
The story goes that the Pope found a member of the Vatican Guard outside his door in the morning, inquired what the young man was doing there and expressed surprise that anyone should think a Pope needed guarding all the time.
"Have you had breakfast?" he asked the young man.
The reply of course was no. He could not leave his post. The Pope tried to send him off to eat but the young man explained he was not permitted to go.
The Pope went off and, so the story goes, came back with a tray of breakfast for the young guard.
As I said, I don't know if the story is true or not but apparently the Papal apartment is vacant and the Pope prefers to eat in Vatican cafeteria along with everyone else. He certainly seems happy to mix more with his parishioners than previous Popes and that may be a good thing. If the Pope can still command respect and do this sort of thing then I think he will be better at his role than his predecessors.

I am a member of a knitting guild. The patron of it is a former senator. She is not just the patron but an active member of the guild. She knits socks. She knits for her grandchildren and will buttonhole me to ask my opinion about all sorts of things. We do not always agree but I don't hesitate to argue with her. She is, after all, a person.  I note though that there are people who avoid her. They believe she is still "too important" for them. She makes them nervous. Her personality and belief in herself is still too powerful.

Yesterday someone suggested to me that, because our former Prime Minister is a knitter and likely to be moving back to the state, we should invite her to join the guild. I doubt she would find the time or even be interested. I also doubt it would work. People would avoid her. She would still be seen as "too important". I suspect that, like the senator, her personality and belief in herself would be too powerful for some people to handle.

The present (recycled) Prime Minister is, at the moment, popular. He outstrips the Leader of the Opposition who has never been very popular. It is not something which will last, indeed he was once so unpopular he was replaced in a leadership coup of sorts. At present it suits the media to give him maximum positive coverage. I know though which of the two would bring me a mug of tea if I needed it and I would respect him for that.

I hope that story about the Pope is true and that more people learn of it. I hope he can balance authority with humility - and I wish many more people could learn to do the same.

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