Pope Francis ‘snubs’ pomp and ceremony of Vatican Beethoven concert

Pope Francis ‘snubs’ pomp and ceremony of Vatican Beethoven concert

Pope Francis failed to show up at a Vatican concert crowded with cardinals at the weekend, an absence seen as the latest example of his dislike for the Holy See’s tradition of pomp and ceremony.

The empty chair of Pope Francis during the Concert for the Year of Faith

The empty chair of Pope Francis during the Concert for the Year of Faith  Photo: EPA

By Tom Kington in Rome

6:34PM BST 23 Jun 2013

Comments17 Comments

Cardinals and Vatican officials reportedly whispered in embarrassment as the Pope’s seat remained empty before the start of Saturday’s Beethoven concert, which was organised to celebrate the Vatican’s Year of Faith.

Addressing the audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Envangelisation, explained the Pope was not coming because of an “urgent commitment that could not be delayed”.

The Pope has been meeting papal nuncios visiting the Vatican from around the world in recent days, suggesting he really was busy with meetings, but his no-show was also interpreted as his latest sidestepping of Vatican high life.

On his appointment in March, the Pope immediately caused a stir by refusing to wear opulent papal clothing and choosing an iron cross instead of gold. He then refused to move into the vast papal apartment occupied by his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI.

He has preferred to live instead in the Vatican’s busy Santa Marta residence, where he dines alongside visiting churchmen and gives a daily mass to Vatican staffers, often extolling the virtues of poverty and a poor church.

At Easter, the Pope washed the feet of female inmates at an Italian prison, including a Muslim.

“His absence from the concert was not meant as a slap to the Curia, that is not his style,” said Maria Antonietta Calabrò, a Vatican expert writing in the Corriere della Sera newspaper. “But the empty chair was a significant image and the message is ‘If you need to work, you need to work’.”

On Sunday, the Pope appeared relaxed at his regular Angelus blessing in St Peter’s Square, telling young people not to be afraid of “going against the current.”

Many of the Vatican officials crowded into the hall for the concert on Saturday will be pondering their future as the Pope prepares a shake-up of the Holy See’s labyrinthine bureaucracy.

He will be assisted by an eight-man commission of cardinals that he has appointed to investigate power struggles and reports of corruption. The task force, which will meet in October, includes just one Vatican-based official.

Earlier this month, the Pope also reportedly talked of a “gay lobby” within the Vatican, confirming suspicions of a network of patronage among powerful gay churchmen within the Vatican.

The Pope must also find a replacement for the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was accused of appointing supporters to key posts and restricting access to Pope Benedict.

The Pope’s decision to avoid the concert was given added significance by the fact that he chose instead to meet nuncios – who represent the Church around the world but have complained about little access in the Vatican’s corridors of power.

In a speech to about 150 nuncios on Friday, the Pope warned them to choose pastors who are “close to the people” when they were considering candidates to become bishops. They must not have, he added, “the psychology of princes”.


About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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4 Responses to Pope Francis ‘snubs’ pomp and ceremony of Vatican Beethoven concert

  1. Once again this frail old man, Pope Francis is proving that he is the recipient of direct strength from the HOLY SPIRIT. No other Pope, so far has had the guts to buck the bureaucratic cronies around him. He is slowly but surely, moving towards the REFORMATION that is required if the true Church of Christ has to do the good work which JESUS died that horrible death for. The death knell is sounding for these princes; AND THEY DO NOT LIKE THE SOUND OF IT. Let us support him with our cries of prayer, that he is successful !!!!!

  2. I support Pope Francis, I am also concerned for his Safety.

  3. John Menezes says:

    He may have had an unexpected visitor from Mumbai with whom he had to discuss matters so urgent that he could not attend the concert.

  4. I only hope he was able to get some grey matter into the “thick Skin”
    Mumbai Archdiocese is like a ship with an ill Captain who’s Chief officer, Chief Engineer,Chief Chef and Chief Navigator are all up in arms against the Captain.
    Christ can only save this sinking ship.
    Hope Pope Francis gets this message.

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