Watching the Pope disembark from his flight today at Joint Base Andrews, it was as though God Himself was walking down the steps. At least to Catholics who believe that he is God’s emissary on earth. Dressed in white, Pope Francis seemed translucent, although he appeared like a man who enjoys good food. He seemed untouchable, although he’s a man who enjoys being touched.
What a dilemma for Pope Francis. While waiting for the chauffeur to drive away, the Pope looked as though he were about to bolt from his seat. The cries of the people behind the fence tempting him to do what he loves doing…walking among them…touching them and having them touch him.
Celebrity? At what cost?
The tabloids are filled with stories of entertainers trying to escape the clutches of their adoring fans. Those who jostle their idol for some tangible proof that they were up close and personal.
Michael Jackson tried to give his fans what they wanted…access to him. Sadly, there were opportunists who took advantage of Jackson’s desire to be loved. He paid dearly. One could say…with his life.
Elvis Presley enjoyed his celebrity. It provided unimaginable wealth which he could never have dreamed of…growing up like White trash on the wrong side of the tracks. He, like Jackson, allowed fans access. Whether it was a wise decision, is something you can judge for yourself. Numerous books have been penned about Elvis by those who had access to the icon.
If I were to meet Pope Francis, I would automatically reach out to hug him. That’s just my natural inclination, unless I feel the recipient would prefer I not. I think the Pope would reciprocate my hug, but I’m not sure his security detail would even let me. Those charged with protecting the Pontiff are on high alert to protect him from all harm. And no one can blame them.
The Pope realizes that allowing his followers access might cost him his life. He is willing to take that risk. He has said…”I feel the Lord has placed me here for a short time.”
Yes, Pope Francis is a celebrity…the state of being famous or celebrated (according to Webster’s Dictionary). However it’s unlikely that the pope considers himself a celebrity. He is what he has always been…
…a man among his people…
…a pastor shepherding his flock.