Admiring much in Catholic thought, but abhorring most elements of the contemporary Catholic Church, I find great humor, power, and hope in this photograph:
What you are seeing is an empty throne, reserved for Pope Francis, at a concert to be held in his honor, at the Vatican. Apparently the Pope cancelled his attendance at the last minute.
According to the AP, the Pope’s no-show is a snub to the Cardinals in the Vatican, and a sign that he “does not like the Vatican high life.” To an outsider and proud member of the ‘nones‘ like myself, the high life represented by the Vatican counters almost all of the beauty and power and possibility the Church carries in its message. An empty seat at such an event means much more than another morning of pomp.
From the AP: “The prelates, assured that health was not the reason for the no-show, looked disoriented, realizing that the message he wanted to send was that, with the Church in crisis, he – and perhaps they – had too much pastoral work to do to attend social events.
“It took us by surprise,” said one Vatican source on Monday. “We are still in a period of growing pains. He is still learning how to be pope and we are still learning how he wants to do it.”
I have found encouragement and inspiration in the words of Pope Francis since he assumed the highest position in the Catholic Church. I hope that continues, and with more stories like this, it seems possible.