Pope Francis once owned a white Lamborghini Huracán
When I told a group of young catechists that Pope Francis once owned (past tense) a Harley-Davidson super motorbike and a matching Harley-Davidson motorcycle leather jacket, altogether they said: “Awesome!”
Then I told them that His Holiness auctioned his Harley-Davidson super motorbike for $327,000 (P17,000,000), and donated the money to start a soup kitchen in Rome for the homeless. I saw some of them scratching their heads.
When I told them that, in November 2017, the Holy Father became the new owner of a dazzling white Lamborghini Huracán ($250,000), a gift from the Lamborghini board of directors, I heard everyone saying: “Wow!”
On that same day, I added, the Vicar of Christ made an announcement: “This one of a kind white Lamborghini will be auctioned.” And auctioned it was at Sotheby’s in London, and the proceeds of $800,000 (P41,000,000) went to charitable causes as willed by His Holiness, including the assistance to victims of human trafficking and for missionary works in Africa and Iraq. The youth were flabbergasted.
A pilot of a jumbo jet in a super stormy night. Francis of Rome refused to wear the regal papal mozzetta made of red velvet trimmed with ermine. He kept the same old pectoral cross and chose silver instead of gold for his “ring of the fisherman.”
He seems to dislike the elevated platform reserved for the Vicar of Christ. Rather than be gloriously enthroned on the elevated Chair of Peter on Day One, the Holy Father stepped down to greet the cardinals, stumbled a bit, stood straight and chatted with them, joked with them, as primus inter pares, enjoying their company like best friends.
Sine glossa. Without frills! Pope Francis suspended the “Prince of the Church” title of the cardinals temporarily or “until further notice.”
How can we forget the Summus Pontifex Ecclesiae Universalis, the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, washing the feet of a Muslim girl and caring with compassion for countless non-Christian migrants and refugees.
He is the first Jesuit Pontifex Maximus, the “great bridge builder,” the first pope from the Americas (North, Central, and South); yet he chooses to be the Parish Priest of the World.
A pontiff of action. The world sees in Pope Francis a leader who’s so forthright and direct, so candid and outspoken, and yet so free, normal, truthful, kindhearted, and fearless — “like Jesus.”
In 2019, the Bishop of Rome acted appropriately after a Prince of the Church acted inappropriately. After due diligence and due canonical process, Pope Francis defrocked a cardinal.
The world is witnessing one heck of a leadership by example. Leadership is neither a title nor a position. Leadership is the good combination of apostolic zeal and good example.
It is ACTION without falling into the temptation of relying too much on oneself. It is PRAXIS that is intimately united with Jesus, always keeping His words in mind: “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Jose Mario Bautista Maximiano ([email protected]) is the author of Pope Francis, the Catholic Bishop, and the Priest (Claretian, 2014), “2015 Best Book in Theology” by the Cardinal Sin Catholic Book Awards and the Catholic Mass Media Awards.