Pope Francis celebrates his birthday today as he turns 77 years old. He began by celebrating in the morning with four homeless people, who live on the streets near the Vatican and were invited to celebrate with him after mass.
Pope Francis, who was recently named Times ‘Person of the Year’ seems to be informal and modest, a ‘down-to-earth pope’ if you will. He lives in a guest house unlike his predecessor’s larger apartments.
This morning he had breakfast after mass with these persons in the dining room. Later, it is expected that an Argentinian from his favorite soccer team will arrive, Tuesday or Wednesday in Rome, to greet the Pope for his birthday celebration.
A leading gay magazine named, The Advocate, bestowed Pope Francis with an honor; it gave the 77-year-old its ‘Person of the Year’ award. The honor was given because he has shown a change in language towards gay people, in contrast to his predecessors. Even though Pope Francis is against a homosexual marriage; he decided he is not the judge and let them seek God like any Christian.
The Vatican expressed that the Pope does not change teachings of the Catholic Church. The gay community and heterosexuals belonging to the Catholic Church welcome this shift towards compassion and not condemnation.
The Pope who is celebrating his 77th birthday today has already caused some controversy by answering questions differently than his predecessors. He continues to show his compassion towards all kinds of people.
“Who am I to judge?” These words spoken to a reporter this past summer about gay priests and homosexuality, by Pope Francis, have wrung out among Catholics and the world. This quote of a question seems to now not be isolated, rather through a series of speeches and interviews he has quieted and calmed the division of the Catholic Church and its leaders, the Vatican. He argues and states the church and its purpose is to show God’s love for everyone and not to condemn those who sin. He has now said and shown through words and action, what he believes the Catholic Church should be doing.
Pope Francis responded to criticisms recently about his social and economic ideologies. Some have said his ideas hold Communism or Marxists ideals. He says they are good people also, but states the ideology is wrong.
One of the Pope’s critics is Rush Limbaugh, who is not Catholic. Limbaugh thinks the Pope is being political and other conservatives have criticized him, too. Pope Francis notes that salaries and bonuses, which are disparately huge, are showcasing a greedy economy. A world committee of cardinals will give him a formal recommendation in the new year, about changes for the Vatican and its structure.
Pope Francis will go to the Holy Lands in celebration of a 50th Anniversary next year and also visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority in May. But today, Pope Francis, celebrates his 77th birthday.
By Kim Troike