PopeWatch: Pope and Sufferer

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In a stunning act that recalls Saint Francis and the Leper, Pope Francis demonstrated yesterday why no one should ever doubt the love of Christ that fills him:

Pope and_man_suffering_from_boils_in_Saint_Peters


At the end of the Nov. 6 general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis drew attention by warmly embracing a man who suffers from a rare disease causing neuronal tumors all over his body.

The man was identified as suffering from neurofibromatosis, which causes great pain and can result in impaired vision, learning impairnment, and even cancer, according to non-profit research group Mayo Clinic. Treatment of the condition is very complicated.

People with this disease – which is genetic and not contagious – often face discrimination because of their appearance.

As he carried out his typical greeting of pilgrims at the conclusion of the general audience, Pope Francis paused for several minutes to receive the sick man in his arms.

Moments later, he took the man’s face in his hands, kissed him, and gave him a blessing.

Go here to read the rest at Catholic News Agency.

Then the holy lover of complete humility went to the lepers and lived with them, serving them most diligently for God’s sake; and washing all foulness from them, he wiped away also the corruption of the ulcers, just as he said in his Testament: “When I was in sins, it seemed extremely bitter to me to look at lepers, and the Lord himself led me among them and I practiced mercy with them.” So greatly loathsome was the sight of lepers to him at one time, he used to say, that, in the days of his vanity, he would look at their houses only from a distance of two miles and he would hold his nostrils with his hands. But now, when by the grace and the power of the Most High he was beginning to think of holy and useful things, while he was still clad in secular garments, he met a leper one day and, made stronger than himself, he kissed him.

Thomas of Celano, First Life of Saint Francis


More to explorer

PopeWatch: Uncle Ted

 “Yeah, five years. If we had five years, the Lord working through Bergoglio in five years could make the Church over again.”

Requiescat in Pace: Pat Caddell

  Pat Caddell has passed away at age 68.  He went from being Jimmy Carter’s wunderkind pollster in 1976 to supporting Trump


  1. A week ago I had the priviledge of attending a papal audience. It was scheduled for 10:30; the Holy Father arrived around 10:00 and did multiple weaves through the attendees. He passed our group three times. There was no need for him to do so. Everyone there came away with a deep appreciation of his character.

  2. Brilliant! Don, I am so glad you have finally brought a balanced perspective to PopeWatch.

    (I haven’t been reading, since your serving from the “Rottweiler”, in which you did not allow me to respond, because you blocked me from the thread).

    Pinky, I too have a deep appreciation of his character- but maybe, not like your “appreciation”.

    Pope Francis act of kissing this man who has suffered deeply in his life through sickness and I’m sure, indifference from others, is truly an example that reiterates Christ love for us- no matter what.

    I’ve just finished my chemo treatment, and at times witnessed glimpse into what it feels like to suffer (physically through the treatment process of the cancer), but also from other people’s ignorance- which can make one feel on the outside, unable to keep up with a fast moving and functioning society. It can be a lonely road, but nothing compared to what this man would have to endure. Not even close.

    So Pinky, you should be greatful Pope Francis, did for this man, showed him an acceptance and love, that he must definitely would find difficult to get, rather than feeling resentment the Pope past you three times. Be happy for this man- and for those that the Pope greeted on the day you visited- glass half full right?!

    Bravo Don! Keep up the balance, and people “like me”, (those that appreciate our Pope), may get back on and start reading your blog again….and perhaps be allowed to defend themselves when called illiterate and un-intelligent, as your nemesis did, a few weeks back.

  3. PopeWatch isn’t about balance. It is about collecting data about this Pope. If the data is good for Pope Francis it will be posted, if it is bad for Pope Francis it will also be published. This papacy is a work in progress and a fairly confusing work in progress it is. Hence the creation of PopeWatch.

  4. PopeWatch reveals what you want it to. You are the author. You choose what data is collected and what is published. You pick and choose. You therefore set the tone.

    I could go onto another blog and see a quasi PopeWatch that shines nothing but positive light on this Papacy. No questioning.

    Or another blog that shows the positive and the negative- equally.

    Dissecting, this “work in progress”, may end up making you regret much of what you say in hindsight. Particularly when you dont have the privilege of insight into the intentions of this Pope- you dont know what the “big picture” is of this Papacy. Different eras call for different actions. Be careful you don’t jump the gun, so to speak.

    I hope you understand this about blogging. And I hope you don’t consider yourself impartial and unbiased. That’s all.

    But Bravo on this post, all the same.

  5. “And I hope you don’t consider yourself impartial and unbiased”

    More so than most people. By training and by inclination I examine and weigh evidence before reaching conclusions. PopeWatch is a gathering of evidence in regard to the current pontificate. To understand PopeWatch one must understand that fact.

  6. This is stunning, extraordinary, and unexpected. Oh, I don’t mean what Pope Francis did, but that you actually wrote something positive about him!

  7. Actually PopeWatch has had several posts pointing out positive aspects of the Pope, but I guess you haven’t been reading them faithfully Anon. Oh, by the way we require people who comment to have real e-mail addresses.

  8. “By training”…what training is that? Aren’t you a lawyer? A good lawyer collects and presents “data” to suit their argument.

    Definitely not to show an unopinionated viewpoint. And Not necessarily to present the truth.

    Which means you are in fact more biased than most bloggers. By training.

    But I’ll give you one thing- you don’t like being told anything contrary.

    You are adamant PopeWatch is fair.
    (When multiple commenters have told you otherwise. A sign of a good lawyer Don)

    Sorry, if I pause to laugh….

    Perhaps this stems from the fact that lawyers think they are intellectually superior than most of mankind, and most Pontiffs? Or trained to think so…

    PopeWatch seems out to collect data to “prosecute”, in a sense, our current Pontiff.

    More positive “data collecting” of Pope Francis could rid you of this stigma though. But that’s up to you.

    Did you do PopeWatch for Pope Benedict? If no, Why not?

  9. “A good lawyer collects and presents “data” to suit their argument.”

    Wrong. A good lawyer understands both the strengths and weaknesses of his case and he achieves this by objectively analyzing the evidence. I am disappointed when I leave a hearing if I do not think that I could have made a stronger argument for the opposing side than my opposite counsel did.

    “Which means you are in fact more biased than most bloggers. By training.”

    Clearly you are not a lawyer Ez.

    “Sorry, if I pause to laugh….”

    Only fair Ez considering the amusement your contributions to the comboxes have given me.

    “Perhaps this stems from the fact that lawyers think they are intellectually superior than most of mankind, and most Pontiffs? Or trained to think so…”

    Some lawyers do indeed think that. I am not among their number. I do think that I am usually better informed than most commenters on most subjects I choose to write about, although other commenters, and my co-bloggers, do often produce new insights for which I am grateful.

    “PopeWatch seems out to collect data to “prosecute”, in a sense, our current Pontiff.”

    Then you have not been reading the posts with care Ez if that is your opinion.

    “Did you do PopeWatch for Pope Benedict? If no, Why not?”

    Nope, because I knew where Pope Benedict was coming from and where he was going, based on his voluminous writings and history. I cannot say the same for Pope Francis. Hence PopeWatch.

  10. Such a sad state of a affairs I find at this site of recent. I have enjoyed much and contributed some over the past few years and have liked the economic, political and occasionally the spiritual points …. But the method and madness I find now is way over the top. Your intent may be pure …. Your actions anything but. I’ll spend my limited time elsewhere.

  11. Your choice Dave. I deeply appreciated your comments and prayers after the death of my son. We shall continue calling them like we see ’em, which is what we have done since this blog was founded five years ago.

  12. Maybe if you explained to us non-lawyers why you don’t understand where Pope Francis is coming from, then you won’t get some cynicism from commenters.

    Why do you not “trust” this Pontiff, that you feel you need to “Watch” him- monitor him? What is it about his actions and words that you don’t like?

    Is it his non-intellectual background? That Benedict was able to articulate theology better? And Francis is not his intellectual equal? If it is, that’s absurd, and you need to look past your nose…it’s actually quite narrow minded, and borders on condescending, to other Catholics that prefer to express their Catholicism through actions, because they aren’t able to do it properly through words. Does it make them less Catholic? I hope not!

    This Pontiff is Latin Anwrican- warmer than his predecessor. Less full of etiquette. Is less judgemental in his approach, yet crystal clear about Church teaching.
    But yet, I can say I still was faithful to Bdnedict and didn’t feel suspicious of his leadership. I wish people like you have the humility to lower yourselves down to our level.

    He isn’t fighting communism, like PJPII, but a world that has lost it’s sanity.

    Benedict couldn’t do it. Which is why he stepped aside. And there was a clear mandate from the Cardinals that they wanted a Francis, a Jesuit, from Latin America.

    I’m really interested to know what you need to monitor about him.

    Cause you’re missing his message of love in the process.

    I don’t see it fruitful to have a “PopeWatch” as a faithful Catholic…and it annoys me. It’s not what our faith is about. Watching our leader- monitoring.

  13. Then don’t read the PopeWatch posts Ez, no one is holding a gun to your head. It is not a Catholic position to simply assume that every action of a Pope is wise and every word he speaks comes from the Holy Spirit. History amply refutes such an attitude. The Church has had a very bad last half century. Under John Paul II and Benedict XVI there were clear signs that the Church was beginning a slow recovery. The question now is whether Pope Francis will continue this work or whether he wishes to take the Church in a new tangent. The Pope has not been clear in his utterances. To deny this simple fact is not intellectually honest. PopeWatch is an attempt to discern what the Pope intends to do and why he intends to do it, neither of which is clear at the moment. PopeWatch will continue on and no amount of criticism is going to stop it.

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