Papa Francesco November 10, first visit in Florence
I met Papa Francesco recently in Rome during a press conference: it was thrilling to have him in front of me. In these difficult times, he represents the “voice of the world’s conscience”, he sends precise messages as it has happened at the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 25, when he stated that it is the duty of the world’s leaders to defend the poor and fight against inequality. Will we, mere mortals, politicians, journalists, the church itself, listen to him? What immediately struck me about Papa Francesco was his lifestyle since the beginning of his pontificate aiming to revive the image of a church “for the poor”. He chose to live in a common apartment, that allows him to be closer to the people who move inside the state of the Vatican and his many gestures of simplicity allow a glimpse into the evangelical truthfulness of his way to express and communicate with anyone (recently he has personally went to the optician to change his glasses!) and his appeals to the Roman curia and the cardinals to eliminate any kind of privilege has caused him to be attacked by the most conservative sectors of the curia and defended by the more open ones. His work has been discussed both within and outside of the church in connection with uncomfortable topics such as women, homosexuality, euthanasia, relations with politics, the search for a common dialogue with other religions and so on.