Over the past two weeks, with one act of humility after another, Pope Francis has proven he’s willing to break with tradition.
Just after being named the new pontiff, he asked the faithful to pray for him, rather than the other way around. He’s refused to stand on the customary platform above other archbishops and dressed himself in simpler vestments than his predecessors. He’s made a practice of shunning the rich trappings of the position, from paying his own hotel bill to opting out of the palatial apartment popes have lived in for a century in favor of simpler digs.
Many of these acts send a signal about who Jorge Mario Bergoglio is and what reforms he thinks the Catholic Church’s leadership needs to make. He’s making a point of continuing the humble lifestyle he lived in Argentina (where he was known to take the subway and fly coach) and showing how the Church’s bureaucracy has become too wrapped in clerical privilege.