Pope Francis greets the crowd in St. Peter’s Square before celebrating his inaugural Mass at the Vatican March 19. CNS photo/Chris Warde-Jones

Pope Francis a man cut from same cloth as Jesus

By  Archbishop Gerald C. LACROIX Catholic Register Special
  • March 24, 2013

ROME - Jesus must have been a lot like our new Pope, Francis. I’ve been in Rome since March 15 and have been observing him and listening to him as he interacts with individuals and crowds. I see many traits of Jesus Christ.

Pope Francis comes across from the first contact as a simple man. I am sure Jesus was that way also. He is able to speak to crowds. I saw him at his window as he talked to hundreds of thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square and beyond. He did not put on an act or give a show — he remained simple.

I saw him greet people at the door after his Sunday Mass. One by one, he greeted, listened, embraced and shared a few words of encouragement. Jesus must have done the same thing over and over again.

People speak a great deal of the humility that exudes from Pope Francis, but what exudes even more is holiness. Our new Pope is a witness of God’s love in a very special way. Why is it that people who don’t even understand when he speaks in Italian feel loved and close to him and filled with joy? I believe that Pope Francis has opened his heart in a special way to let the Holy Spirit act in him and through him.

The international media will probably estimate the crowd at his inaugural Mass at around 200,000 or 300,000 people. They sometimes underestimate the crowd. I would estimate it to be close to one million. But I tend to overestimate the crowd. So the truth probably lies in between.

It was quite an event. No event draws so many people from all over the world — more than 130 delegations from different countries and more than 30 delegations from other Christian Churches. Additionally, representatives of other religions were present: an important Jewish delegation, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jainists and others.

The Pope’s homily said a lot about the mission with which he has been entrusted and how he hopes to live it. He spoke beautifully of St. Joseph and his mission to protect and to care for Mary and Jesus and how he continues to protect the Church.

“How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. … Joseph is a protector because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions.”

We are beginning to see our new Pope’s spirituality, very attentive to God, but at the same time, sensitive to the people around him. That is exactly how Jesus lived His life. Pope Francis said being a protector is not only for Christians but the whole world must protect human life and all of creation. “Be protectors of God’s gifts!”

I was very moved when the Pope almost pleaded with us as he said: “Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment. Here I would add one more thing: caring, protecting, demands goodness, it calls for a certain tenderness.”

What beautiful words to hear from a Pope who is beginning his ministry — goodness, tenderness.

May his call be heard all over the Earth and may we enter a new chapter in the history of humanity. Why not?

Pope Francis inspires me to believe that if all the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics allow the Lord to guide us in service, humility, love and truth, the civilization of love can become a reality.

(Lacroix is archbishop of Quebec and primate of Canada.)

Pope Francis - A New Era

A Catholic Register Special Feature - Pope Francis

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible, which has become acutely important amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.