Skip to comments.Newt Gingrich : 2014-06-25 : The "Why Not" Pope -- A Visit with Pope Francis
Posted on 06/25/2014 6:01:21 PM PDT by Patton@Bastogne
June 25, 2014
The "Why NOT?" Pope -- A Visit with Pope Francis
We were very fortunate to be in Rome last Wednesday for Pope Francis' weekly audience in St. Peters Square, along with more than 50,000 visitors. Papal Audiences are held on Wednesdays when the Pope is in Rome, giving visitors a chance to see the Holy Father and receive a blessing.
We were doubly fortunate because at the conclusion of the papal audience, we had an opportunity to meet and briefly visit with Pope Francis.
Pope Francis is very friendly and appears to be interested in everybody and everything. He clearly likes people and gains energy from them.
Traditionally the papal audience starts at 10:30 am. On this day, however, Pope Francis arrived at 9:30 am, an hour before the normal starting time, and rode through a crowd of cheering visitors.
It was amazing to watch him interact with those gathered in St. Peters Square. Pope Francis would frequently stop and talk with people as he moved through the highly energized crowd for 30 minutes. When he finally made his way to the front of St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis jumped out and casually walked up the stairs to the chair from which he would preside. (He is clearly a security guard's challenge).
After the audience the Holy Father met and visited with a number of people for another 45 minutes. We were blessed and honored to be a part of this experience.
After two wonderful dinners in Rome with our good friend Joan Lewis, we decided to call Pope Francis the Why not? Pope. Joan is currently the Rome Bureau Chief at EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) and has also worked for the Vatican Information Service. She writes a blog called Joan's Rome which we highly recommend.
Joan recently returned from covering Pope Francis' visit to the Middle East and she commented on his decision to invite the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to a prayer meeting in the Papal Gardens of the Vatican. The Pope's advisers had warned against spontaneously trying to create such a meeting. As Joan put it, the Pope simply asked, "Why not?" He issued a surprise invitation and the leaders felt compelled to say yes.
It struck us that "Why not?" was in many ways a striking characteristic of the evolution of this Pope's leadership.
Immediately after his election, Pope Francis rejected his papal limousine, preferring to travel by bus to dinner with the cardinals who had just elected him. He also rejected moving into the papal apartments and opted to stay at Casa Santa Marta, a Vatican residence for visiting clergy and others, so he could be surrounded by people (another security challenge). Rumor has it that sometimes late in the evening Pope Francis will go downstairs and makes himself popcorn.
Pope Francis has happily taken a selfie, tweeted, and ad-libbed in ways the Vatican bureaucracy must find very unnerving.
When the Vatican bureaucracy tells the Pope something can't be done, he pushes back and asks, Why not? If they don't have a compelling answer, he overrules them and does it.
Pope Francis is quite open about the need for the Church to break out of self-imposed limitations. In an interview in 2012, the future pope said, We need to come out of ourselves and head for the periphery We need to avoid the spiritual sickness of a church that is wrapped up in its own world: when a church becomes like this, it grows sick."
None of these simple steps should be interpreted to suggest Pope Francis is a simple man.
As a friend of ours described him, "He dresses like a Dominican, wants you to believe hes a Franciscan, but in reality hes a Jesuit, which means none of us know what he is planning."
But his main objective seems strikingly clear: Pope Francis has in mind the very serious goal of bringing Christ to every person on the planet.
As often as possible the Pope is using small gestures of independence, flexibility, and innovation to bring the gospel message into the everyday life of the modern world and into the streets where people live. Pope Francis believes that the Church must take risks to do this. In a profile of him prior to his election, he said, Between a church that suffers accidents in the street, and a church that's sick because it's self-referential, I have no doubts about preferring the former."
We had a remarkable visit to Rome and meeting this extraordinary pope was a lifetime experience we will always treasure.
Newt and Callista
"We have to frankly break the back of the secular-socialist machine, elect people committed to representing the American people, and then methodically rip the system apart."
~Newt Gingrich, 2012
..... and I saw a beast rise up out of the See. (not a spelling error)
I have less disagreements with Newt than with Romney. He probably could have overcome Obama. He definitely would not have choked in that second debate.
I’m glad he found the Catholic faith and reformed his life.
I thought Obama was his pope. Progressive idiot. Gingrich believes in extreme anti-Christian religion called Tofflerism.
No, just a judgment error on your part.
I hate to say it, but a tax law isn’t a spiritual defeat. It might be a symptom or occasion of one but it isn’t itself the defeat. Churches always had the choice of what to do taxwise. Churches were falling for FDR’s Social Security decades before that. Before that, there was scapegoating of the creation in the form of Prohibition. And even at the start of America, there was nod, wink on chattel slavery, a kind of slavery that the bible never referred to.
Re-embracing God for all He is worth, and phooey on the peripheral issues, is the only thing that will work recovery. We do not need to become messengers of this or that or the other salacious conspiracy theory. We need to become messengers of a plain and simple gospel of a God who has sacrificed for us and is ready to forgive as soon as we lay down the pride that stops us from accepting the forgiveness.