Cardinal Pell: “The Pope does not want the Vatican to be seen as a Renaissance court”

Details from Vatican Insider:

The cardinal archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, in Rome for various meetings in the Vatican, granted me this interview on June 24, in which he shared his impressions on Pope Francis’s first 100 days in office and discussed the reform of the Roman Curia.

“We’ve got a different type of Pope” who is “doing very well”, he said. But he also expressed some concern for the pope’s health because of “the cracking pace” at which he has begun his work.

Pell, one of the Pope’s eight cardinal advisors said he envisages “a major re-configuration” of the Roman Curia and hopes a better way can be set up to select people for positions at all levels in it.

Francis has been pope for 100 days. What are the two or three things that stand out in your mind from this period?

I think his recent encounter with the Harley Davidson riders was emblematic. Thousands of them came on these enormous motorbikes on Sunday morning to get a blessing from Francis. By all accounts, the Pope was perfectly at home with them, and blessed them. They gave him two big motorbikes which he’s going to sell off and give the proceeds to the poor.

I think that’s emblematic that we’ve got a different type of a pope.  He’s a pope who very much understands the importance of symbols, and he’s inclined to talk through stories and parables…

What do you make of his decision to stay at Santa Marta?

I think it’s obviously the action of a man who likes company. It’s very much the action of a Pope who does not want to be isolated and, if I could venture an hypothesis, I suspect it’s the action of a man who doesn’t want to be controlled.  I’m all in favor of popes being popes….

As you know he’s staying in Rome for the holidays, and not going to Castel Gandolfo.

Pope Benedict is going to Castel Gandolfo, so that might be one of the reasons why Francis has decided not to go there.Castel Gandolfo is a beautiful place and I’d very much like to see the Pope taking his holidays out there, but the Holy Father is an old style Jesuit, he’s taken a vow of poverty and he takes it seriously.  Most of the rest of us haven’t taken a vow of poverty but he has, and I think it is immensely to his credit that he lives it.

By his commitment to a simple life, marked by poverty, Pope Francis is setting a style of how to be a priest, how to be a bishop, how to be a pope. Do you think many bishops and priests will review their own style of life in the light of his example?

There’s no doubt about it, the style of papacy, the content of the teaching, the way the Pope lives, all this influences the life of the whole Church. I think the general direction which the Holy Father is going in is very good. He certainly doesn’t want the Vatican to be seen as a Renaissance court or even an 18th century court, but rather as a place where people are serious about serving Christ and serving the people. He’s certainly not into pomp and circumstance. So to answer your question, yes, I think his example and style of life will have an effect.

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