(FRONT PAGE MAG) – The radical handwriting was on the wall the moment Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected to the papacy in 2013.
At his first address to the crowds in St. Peter’s Square as Francis I, he had refused to wear the papal mozzetta. This seemingly insignificant break with tradition was the first red flag signaling that the new Bishop of Rome was a modernist. The second red flag occurred during Francis’ inaugural Mass. At that Mass, Francis’ vestments were noticeably plain. Not just plain, but ostentatiously plain. His white miter, decorated with a simple red cross, matched the miter he wore when officiating at puppet and Tango Masses in Argentina. Kneeling among Armenian rite bishops in their bejeweled tall miters during a prayer service before the crypt of St. Peter, Francis seemed to be making a show of his preference for “simplicity.”
The new pope very quickly won the world’s admiration when it was reported that he paid his own hotel bill after the conclusion of the papal conclave. Non-Catholics who never noticed a pope before were now paying strict attention. Many saw Francis’ emphasis on simplicity as a saintly attribute, especially when he chose not to live in the papal palace but in the Vatican apartments. He was very quickly dubbed the “People’s Pope.”
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