Sunday, 24 March 2013

Is Pope Francis Causing A Headache?

Pope Francis - Palm Sunday 2013
Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Sunday
Photo: Alessandra Tarantino / AP

I couldn’t help but wonder today whether Pope Francis is giving somebody in the Vatican a really big fat unpleasant headache.  I thought about this during Pope Francis’ homily for today, Palm Sunday. 

The homily was great. This post is not about the content of the homily. It's about the chap in the Vatican who may be suffering from a big fat headache because of Pope Francis.

It is my perception, which may of course be entirely wrong, that Pope Francis does not write out his homily in full like his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, used to do.  We can, I am sure, all recall how Pope Benedict XVI would usually read out his homily during Mass. 

I am not suggesting that Pope Francis doesn’t prepare his homily.  Neither am I suggesting that he does not follow prepared guidelines or notes when giving his homily.  It just seems to me that Pope Francis speaks to his audience on key points, rather than by reading out a prepared homily.

Neither style is of course right or wrong.  I think that would be a matter of personal preference.  I personally like Pope Francis' more relaxed manner.  But this post is not about the Pope’s style of delivering his homily either.

There is no doubt somebody in the Vatican who has the task of making sure that the Pope's homily or address is available in text format as soon as possible after the Pope has given the homily or address.  This is so that it can be used by the media and people like myself who want to refer to his exact words.

Working with someone like Pope Benedict XVI would clearly have been fantastic for this person tasked with making available the full text.  The text would clearly have been ready before the Pope gave the homily.  Probably in a beautiful structured format, perfect for publishing, judging by Pope Benedict XVIs style. This means that preparing it for publication and even translating it into various languages could be largely completed before it was actually delivered by the Pope to the intended audience. 

All that this person would need to do, after the Pope gave the homily or address, is make the necessary amendments if the Pope had deviated or added anything to the homily.  Then, voilà, there on the Internet would appear, in a relatively short period of time, the full text of the Pope's homily or address for all of those eagerly awaiting it.

I imagine that Pope Francis’ style has now made this task a lot less streamlined.  I imagine that there may be a great deal more frantic rushing about in order to get the full final text onto paper, translated and published on the Internet.  Yet, despite this, today again, without fail, there was Pope Francis' homily on the Internet for us all to read, without any longer delay it seems.  

So, today I think that we should say a prayer of thanks for those behind the scenes at the Vatican who ensure that the Pope’s homilies and addresses are made available to us in such relative short periods of time.  It must be a nightmare job.  It certainly would give me a headache!!

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