Sunday 2 February 2014

Pope Francis' regret

Something that touched me in Pope Francis' account of his relationship with salesian Father Pozzoli, who played such a decisive role in his vocation:
8. There are two moments in my relationship with Fr Pozzoli that make me sad when I think of them. One was Papa’s death, on 24 September 1961. Fr Pozzoli came to the wake and wanted to take a photo of Papa with his five children.... I was “ashamed” and I arranged for it not to happen. I think that Fr Pozzoli was aware of my attitude, but he didn’t say anything. And to think that in less less than one month he would be dead... The second occasion was his death. A few days before I visited him in the Hospital Italiano. And he was sleeping. I didn’t let them wake him (I really was upset, and I didn’t know what to say to him). I left the room and stayed talking with a Father who was there. A short while after another Father came out of the room and said that Fr Pozzoli had awoken, that he told him about my visit and he had asked that, if I was still there, I come in. I told him to tell him that I’d already left. I don’t know what came over me, if it was shyness or something else.... I was 25 years old and in the first year of philosophy.... But I assure you, Fr Bruno, that if I could “redo ” that moment I would. How many times have I experienced deep pain and regret for my “lie” to Fr Pozzoli when he was about to die. It was one of those moments in life (few, perhaps) that one would like to be able to live over again in order to behave differently. (...) [Pope Francis, "The Story of a Vocation," http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=10419, accessed 2 February 2014]

Why did he do that. Why do we do that. The unwillingness to face the pain, perhaps. The unwillingness to allow the possibility of breaking down, of being at a loss for words. And then the regret.

Thank you Francis for the wonderful honesty which cuts to the heart. 

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