I keep getting this mental picture of an ascetic monk.
Maybe let Benedict move back into the empty papal apartment.
Jeepers, dear steve86, but I don't! The picture I have of Pope Francis beginning to develop in my mind is that he is (1) a man of pristine orthodoxy; (2) politically astute WRT both intra- and extra-church matters. Meaning: By engaging in the World, he identifies the "point" at which Faith (Spirit) and Reason (human intellect) dynamically intersect.
In this way, Pope Francis carries on the pontifical work of his two splendid predecessors, Blessed John-Paul II and Benedict XVI.
Yet his history shows him to have been embroiled in disputes with the reigning powers of his home country, Argentina. I do believe he was exiled from there at one point, because his teachings on Life were inconvenient to the plans of the (still-sitting) "progressive" government there.
Although he is a Jesuit, it seems his order didn't want to have much to do with him at the time, or since.
It appears he is NOT a "Reformist" on theological/doctrinal matters. Also that it's likely he's going to give Church "Progressives" the fits, going forward.
Yet his modeling of Christian agape, humility and poverty in his very manner of living and dealing with others of all descriptions only gives power and force to his message to the World.
Which, of course, we have only just begun to hear.
In short, steve86, I think Pope Francis is demonstrably too much engaged in the the Church, its Message, its culture, its politics to be legitimately characterized as an "ascetic monk." It is the job of an ascetic monk to "withdraw" from the World. It doesn't look much to me like Pope Francis is "withdrawn" in this sense. Rather, I get the eerie feeling that his gaze is very much trained on the World at large, "outside" the Vatican....
We'll see if this humble assessment is correct, in due course....
p.s.: The Great Prayer of St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace:Cardinal Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio took Francis' name for his papal name, for the first time in the history of the papacy.
Where there is hatred, let me sow Love;
Where there is injury, Pardon;
Where there is doubt, Faith;
Where there is despair, Hope;
Where there is sadness, Joy;
Where there is darkness, Light.
Oh Divine Master! Grant
That I may not so much seek to be consoled,
As to console;
Not so much to be understood,
As to understand;
Not so much to be loved,
As TO LOVE.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying
That we are born again
Unto Eternal Life.
What does this actually mean?
Stay tuned; time is the mother of Truth....