Today Cardinal Bertello came for lunch at my seminary. He’s president of Vatican City State and a member of Pope Francis’ special group of 8 cardinals.
At the end of lunch he asked us if we had any questions, and one popped into my head. I stuck my hand up, and asked “Cardinal, you’ve met Pope Francis. Is he the same in private as he is in public?”
Here’s more or less the Cardinal’s answer: I was with Pope Francis on Saturday. When you’re with him, you can perceive his goodness. Francis wants the truth. He’s very kind, but he knows what he wants. Pope John the 23rd wrote that “We have to be very kind with people, but we can’t let them trample on our feet.” I think Francis lives that. He has his program and he knows very clearly what he wants. He’s also very coherent. He lives what he demands of others. You can see it.
Another brother asked him about the conclave and he said: You know, God really guides his Church. That just became so clear to me. As soon as we started the meetings of the Cardinals before the conclave, a tremendous peace descended upon all of us. And this peace carried through the whole conclave. When the day came for choosing the next Pope, it was like the most natural thing in the world.
The last question was about Benedict. The cardinal said that it’s clear that Benedict is very old and his health is failing him, but Benedict’s attitude as he retired and now mainly prays is one of “I have finished the race” like Saint Paul talks about.
Wow! I was really amazed by the answer to the question about the conclave. I think there was that “tremendous peace” because the whole world – and hopefully many who read this – were praying and interceding for the Cardinals. We had them carpeted in prayers.
I also liked his reply to my question. It’s so good to get to know Francis a little more. His decisiveness is a great gift for a Pope to have.
Let’s thank God for our Holy Father and keep him blanketed in prayers!
God bless you,