Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Hermeneutic of Humility

Immediately after his Election, the Press, fed by commentators, latched onto the notion that Pope Francis was "humble". Everything he has done since that time has been consistently attributed to his humility. For those who have not been as enthusiastic about Pope Francis, much that he does is an example of his "false humility".

But there is one very significant problem with all of this.  Pope Francis has never described himself as HUMBLE, nor cited HUMILITY for his particular way of going about things. Perhaps he has done and I have missed it, in which case, the entire point of this post is mistaken.

Pope Francis does not like ostentatious dress; but that is not necessarily about humility. He dislikes formality; but that isn't indicative of humility, either.  He has an easy rapport with people of all walks of life and doesn't seem interested in "personages"; but that really is not humility. The list could go on.

One might describe Pope Francis as resolute, kindly, direct in his speaking, perhaps impetuous, apostolic in his outlook, unassuming in his presentation. But "humble" is not one of the words that readily springs to mind when describing his temperament. That is not intended to be a criticism.

It would be good to move past this "humble" business: it's irritating and misleading.

It was Pope Benedict who, after his Election, described himself as "a humble worker in the Vineyard".