"“Where’s my briefcase?” asked Pope Francis. The papal entourage had arrived at Fiumicino Airport in Rome for the pontiff’s first trip abroad. Jorge Mario Bergoglio had been pope for just four months and was now bound for Rio de Janeiro, where 3.5 million young people from 178 countries were waiting to greet him at World Youth Day in Brazil. And he could not find his briefcase.
“It’s been taken on board the plane,” an aide explained.
“But I want to carry it on,” said the pontiff.
“No need, it’s on already,” the assistant replied.
“You don’t understand,” said Francis. “Go to the plane. Get the bag. And bring it back here please.”
Members of the press, who were already waiting on the plane, soon saw from their windows that Pope Francis was moving purposefully through a crowd of functionaries to the aircraft, carrying a black briefcase in his left hand. This was a story: Popes had never before carried their own luggage."
"It’s a new normal: Francis has presented himself to the world as an icon of simplicity and humility, eschewing papal limousines and the grand Apostolic Palace, and instead being driven in a Ford Focus and living in the Vatican guesthouse. But being simple can be a complex business if you are the leader of one of the world’s largest religious denominations and also a head of state. And Francis’s life story shows that humility is not an innate quality of his, but a calculated religious, and sometimes political, choice."
"By his own admission Bergoglio was a political animal. As a teenager he had been interested in the relationship between faith and communism."
"Another senior Jesuit told me: “He drove people really crazy with his insistence that only he knew the right way to do things. Finally the other Jesuits said: ‘Enough.’”
By the time he was sent into exile, according to one senior Jesuit in Rome, around two-thirds of Argentina’s Jesuits had lost patience with him."
"But as a bishop and archbishop he embraced many of the central doctrines of Liberation Theology—on poverty, inequality, and economic justice—because they fit his changed priorities.
As Francis settled into the early months of his papacy, big gestures like moving to live in two rooms in a Vatican hostel surprised and even shocked people. But it has since become clear that the gestures are not spontaneous or random responses to situations in which he happens to find himself. They are being planned to set out what is in effect the program of his papacy. Some are directed to the world and draw the attention of the media, but others are aimed at the clerical establishment and at the ordinary faithful."
quotes excerpted from: The Atlantic Magazine, Where Pope Francis Learned Humility by Paul Vallely