Opplevde pave Frans et mirakel?

John Allen skriver her om sin siste bok: «The Francis Miracle: Inside the Transformation of the Pope and the Church», at han har fått mange reaksjoner på tittelen.

Han skriver at tittelen ikke er en evaluering av pave Frans’ arbeid så langt, men:

… the point is that there’s something about this pope that can’t be adequately accounted for in terms of purely human calculations, something that requires a supernatural or mystical point of reference in order to be properly understood.

In a nutshell, the enigma is this: What accounts for the sharp contrast between Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Argentina and Pope Francis today?

For sure, that contrast is not absolute. During his 15 years as the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio was committed to the poor, strove to re-light the Church’s missionary fires, and lived a life of gospel simplicity. All are traits he’s carried into the papacy.

Yet there clearly is a difference in style and personality, because the Bergoglio of Argentina was nobody’s idea of a pop culture sensation.

The cardinal rarely appeared in public and almost never gave formal interviews. When he did have to take the public stage, friends would call him “shy” and critics “boring.” Nobody came away saying he turned the world on with his smile. In fact, it’s hard to find a photo of a beaming Bergoglio taken before his election two years ago.

Neither was he the spontaneous, shoot-from-the-hip sound bite machine the world sees today. He came off as more controlled, more circumspect, always preferring to operate quietly behind the scenes rather than in public view.

When I asked her in April 2013 what she made of the change, Maria Elena Bergoglio, the pope’s only surviving sibling, said jokingly: “I don’t recognize this guy!”

Allen skriver også om en kardinal som har snakket med pave Frans, og som har en forklaring på denne dramtatiske personlighetsforandringen:

“Over Christmas 2013, a veteran Latin American cardinal who has known Bergoglio for decades made an appointment to see his old friend in the Santa Marta, the hotel on Vatican grounds where the pope has chosen to reside. (He lives in Room 201, a slightly larger room than the one he stayed in during the conclave that elected him, giving the pontiff enough space to receive guests comfortably).

“The cardinal, who didn’t wish to be named, said he looked at Francis and, referring to the exuberance and spontaneity that are now hallmarks of his public image, said to him point-blank: ‘You are not the same man I knew in Buenos Aires. What’s happened to you’?

“According to the cardinal, this was Francis’ answer:

“ ‘On the night of my election, I had an experience of the closeness of God that gave me a great sense of interior freedom and peace,’ the cardinal quoted the pope as saying, ‘and that sense has never left me.’ ”

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