Wednesday, December 10, 2014

POPE FRANCIS: SUPREME PONTIFF OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH, SOVEREIGN OF THE VATICAN CITY STATE



The Church is universal. She is found established – praying, teaching, serving – in big or small groupings of people all over the world, among individuals of all races, colors and languages. So is it that with all these particulars, the Church is universal with billions of members, among whom are millions of Sisters, Priests, Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals. But there is but one and only Pontiff who is supreme. So it is that the Church is one and universal – here and all-over, there and everywhere. And so it is that Pope Francis is the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church.

And this one and universal Church now has a Supreme Pontiff who is not only pro-God but also pro-people, who has at heart and in mind not only the bliss in heaven but also the misery on earth, who is preoccupied with not only the spiritual good but also the corporal welfare of the people; who proclaims and promotes not only the theological teachings but also the social doctrine of the Church. In other words, he affirms and promotes not only the vertical relation of man to God but also man's horizontal relation with his fellowmen – neither one or the other but both that he precisely makes the composite of the Holy cross.

And exactly the same Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church is also the Sovereign of the Vatican City State. In other words: Pope Francis is not only an ecclesial Leader but also a diplomatic Figure. Among other things, this means that 1. He is a Head of State. 2. He has a diplomatic status. 3. He sends his ambassadors to Countries with diplomatic relations with the Vatican. 4. His ambassadors are called “Nuncio”. 5. The Nuncios by virtue of the Geneva Convention are automatically the Heads of the Diplomatic Corps of the countries they are sent to.

As a matter of course wherefore, Pope Francis: 1. Has a diplomatic status and pursuant diplomatic immunity. 2. Rides a standard plane which usually adopts the temporary title of “Shepherd One” for identification by all the airports concerned. 3. Meets with the Head of State he goes to as a matter of diplomatic courtesy. 4. Acknowledges the danger of his exposure to the general public posed by individuals with evil agenda. 5. Accepts the security provided by the Country he visits.

This brings to mind the on-the-ground reality about what Pope Francis is in conjunction with his security. It is not unknown that he is a populist Pope, i.e. someone who loves to meet, to go to, to mingle with people. In a special way, he loves children and individuals with disability. All these brings to fore one conclusion: His security will not have an easy time “securing” him. But then, his best security is still the Good Lord – plus people with good will who are not few.

WELCOME, POPE FRANCIS!