I am in love with Pope Francis

Courtesy of Martin Schultz, Flickr

Courtesy of Martin Schultz, Flickr

To quote Donald Trump (and I never thought I would do that), “Look at that face!” but I mean it in a good way. Pope Francis’s goodness just glows from his gently smiling face. I know it is not okay to be ‘in love’ with Pope Francis but I feel a bit like a dizzy teenage fan of a film star. Before he chose Francis as his Papal name – excellent choice, by the way, as St. Francis is my favorite animal loving saint – his name was Jorge and he loved to tango. I don’t know about other ladies but that’s enough for me… Handsome, too. No wonder those nuns adore him.

On a more serious note, I love what he does and says. Telling Congress what they should do was a pretty ballsy move, too (somehow that feels like I just used the wrong word). I think I have mentioned before that I am an Ethnic Catholic to borrow a phrase from Anne Rice, the vampire author. It is so deeply ingrained in my upbringing that, although I angrily left the church as a teenager because I felt it was corrupt and hypocritical, I still feel like a Roman Catholic. I am not sure that I believe in a higher power but in times of sadness I am drawn to prayer. My Mum’s favorite saint was St Jude who is the patron saint of Hopeless Cases – perfect for her and me. I miss the ritual of a mass and the smell of incense but I also miss the Arabic call to prayer so perhaps I am just a spiritual person.

Pope Francis personifies, to me, what a Pope should be. Compassionate, forthright and joyful. It is as though he sprinkles Catholic fairy dust wherever he goes. A colleague said to me today, “He is almost enough to make you become Catholic” which is high praise indeed. I certainly don’t agree with everything he believes in but given his age and the status of the church he is a wonderful breath of fresh air. His message that resonates most with me is that we should not be so greedy. Greed is not good, no matter what Gordon Gekko says. Sharing is beautiful and as the Scots say, “There are no pockets in a shroud”.

Postcards from Austin – Part II

state capitol 3

This is our beautiful State Capitol in Austin, Texas. Our last trip to Austin was a wash-out, literally, but you can see that this was a perfect winter’s day in Texas; bright blue skies and a cool wonderful light for photographs. It is many years since we visited the downtown area of Austin and when we did I remember being delighted that there was an intellectual, political and artistic center to Texas. My politics are left of center and sometimes I feel a bit isolated in our community but Austin reminds me that there is a strong democratic core to Texas that belies the media perception of our state. From 1848 until 1972, with one exception, Texas voted Democrat and maybe one day the red tide will turn. Before you criticize me, remember that free speech is one of the tenets of our democracy and you have the choice to vote for whom you wish. Many countries around the world are dying for this opportunity. On a much lighter note, this trip to Austin fulfilled all my expectations. We went to dirty 6th Street where I was reminded how old I am – “she will get a bladder infection with those shorts on a cold night”. Sandra Bullock’s restaurant exceeded our expectations and I had a hangover from Margaritas. Austin remains as weird as the residents wish it to be and we had a wonderful weekend. Click on the link to see some wonderful photographs and the usual funny anecdotes. POSTCARD FROM AUSTIN PART II – click here