Pope Francis’ black eye tells us a lot about the church today

(CNS photo/Paul Haring)

What a shiner! Jake LaMotta himself might have been proud of the black eye Pope Francis was sporting at the end of his visit to Colombia in early September. The pope had banged his head on the popemobile’s plexiglass shielding when his driver stopped short. “I got bashed,” Francis told reporters, but he proceeded with his normal schedule, bloodstained cassock and all. It made for quite a visual in the following days. It also provided a powerful metaphor for Pope Francis’ ecclesial and personal style.

The pope and his retinue made no attempt to cover up the accident or its evidence, in sharp contrast to the secrecy of some previous pontificates, when even life-threatening illnesses were covered up for years. Francis has demanded greater transparency on questions beyond health. The 2014-15 Synods on the Family showed an extraordinary degree of openness compared to its predecessors; so, too, did Francis open the 2015 consistory of 150 Catholic cardinals to discuss reform of the Vatican bureaucracy by asking for “absolute transparency that builds authentic synodality and collegiality.”

Pope Francis' black eye provided a powerful metaphor for his ecclesial and personal style.

It’s safe to say that transparency has not always been a hallmark of Vatican operations, and no doubt reforms in this area are halting and slow. But they are happening, even at the cost of exposing the flaws of the institution to the world.

This seems to be the church Francis wants—a little bruised, a little bloodied, and the better for both.

Bruce Snowden
6 days 10 hours ago

I wonder if Jesus got a black eye when that soldier slapped him in the face? I think we can be sure it wasn't a gentle smack, something that a coarse soldier trying to impress Pilate wouldn't do, a slap that may have made Jesus see stars and hear the ring of bells as his head responded to the soldier's venom! I was slapped hard by a teacher once, and it made me see stars and hear the ring of bells! It must have hurt Jesus a lot, providing the one and only time during his Passion that Jesus reacted defensively, saying sharply it seems to me, "If I speak the truth, why do you slap me!?"

I think it did happen as suggested and so Holy Father Francis banging his face on the Pope Mobile gave himself a black eye, which he didn't try to hide. This makes me realize how much like Jesus Francis is, an imitator of Christ in so many ways, God bless good Pope Francis!

Mark Mac Donald
5 days 22 hours ago

you christians can convince yourself of ANYTHING!!

Bruce Snowden
5 days 22 hours ago

Mr. Mac Donald, what does the term, "you Christians" mean? With a name like "Mac Donald" you too must be Christian? I presume your comment applies to my post, only a meditative Passion probability, no Christian (Church) teaching. Are you joking? It's good to know my post was compelling enough to Illicit your comment, even if you disagree, perfectly O.K, as this site offers opportunity for a free exchange of ideas and opinions. But I really would like to know what you mean by "You Christians." Thanks for bothering to comment

Christopher Lochner
5 days 18 hours ago

Perhaps he meant that being a follower of Christ is not the same as a good public relations campaign. Yeah, bless the p.r. machine of Francis.

Bruce Snowden
5 days 14 hours ago

Christopher, I'm not sure that "being a follower of Christ is not the same as a good public relations campaign." The Public Life of Jesus was, in my opinion, a great public relations campaign, the Gospels (Scripture) telling a lot about it and evangelism a very effective way to keep it going unto Life Everlasting. Yes, truly blessed is the "p.r. machine" (Christianity) more precisely (the Catholic Church) under Pope Francis's managerial skills, gong from Gospel to life and from life back to the Gospel. Thanks for your comment.

Nancy Walton-House
2 days 13 hours ago

Bruce, I appreciate your comment "This makes me realize how much like Jesus Francis is, an imitator of Christ in so many ways, God bless good Pope Francis!' I agree.

Thank you for your mature and dignified response to the mean-spirited critics below. I am appalled by some of the commentators on Catholic websites when they disagree in such personally attacking ways. As a former high school and college debater, I respect differences of opinion when they are presented civilly and with supporting evidence - be it factual or human interest. I do not listen to or respect arguments that violate civil discourse ground rules.

Bruce Snowden
1 day 17 hours ago

Hi Nancy, Just read your post telling of your approval of not just what I said, but how I said it. The responses I spoke of in my post were shocking to say the least! To you I send a heartfelt THANKS!

Bruce Snowden
4 days 14 hours ago

Mr. Gillis, I don’t know from whom or from where your venom against Pope Francis and the Catholic Church originates, the same may be said of your “soul brother” Mr. Eppink, see above your postings. If it is of Saul who became Paul following his well-intended, but erroneous persecution of the early Christians, leading to his Damascus experience, full conversion to Christ and a profoundly successful Christian evangelizer, praise God if it leads to your Damascus experience too, leading to true conversion to Christ! But if your venom is kin to Satan’s hatred of all that is good, all I can do for both is to pray, asking that you all, as did Paul after conversion turned venom into virtue for Christ. I can say no more.

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