Benedict & Francis: 2 ways to be powerful – Fr. Paul Tighe

The approaching anniversary of Benedict XVI’s announcement of his resignation as pope calls to mind reflections on exercise of power shared by Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, when he closed the Catholic Social Media Version 2 Summit (CSMS2) in Manila last November.

The Sunday Gospel for the closing Mass of the Nov. 23-24 summit was Luke’s story of Christ, the King. [LK 23:35 – 43]

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Monsignor Tighe took more than 400 people inside San Juan de Letran’s stadium back to “key Church events” of 2013; the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in February, and the election of Pope Francis in a conclave the following month.

These back-to-back events brought before our eyes what Monsignor Tighe called “two very powerful examples” of “a different way to be powerful.”

Pope Francis addressed the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization speaking publicly in English for the first time in a video message screened at the end of the closing Mass Oct. 18, 2013 at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila. NJ Viehland Photo

Pope Francis addressed the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization speaking publicly in English for the first time in a video message screened at the end of the closing Mass Oct. 18, 2013 at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila. NJ Viehland Photo

Monsignor Tighe said:

We’ve seen Pope Benedict…a man of enormous power and prestige…somebody who had a very unique and special office to be pope, and he decided to let all that go. He relinquished the power.”

“He wasn’t sure he had the strength to continue any longer to do what was required….” It wasn’t about himself… It was about building up the church. And when he couldn’t build up the church if he wanted to with his own strength and powers he said it’s moment for me to step aside and let somebody come in.

That very rarely happens in our world. People rarely give up power, very rarely give up office, but he did it because he saw his power and his office as being all about service.

Do you have friends, relatives or anyone you know personally who has given up power because he or she judged it would be the best move for people one is  serving?

Pope Benedict’s resignation led to the election of Pope Francis. There would be no Pope Francis if it weren’t for Pope Benedict stepping aside, Monsignor Tighe reminded summit participants.

In his view:

Pope Francis then has defined for us a way of being pope, a way of being a leader, a way of having power which is there in his example of his simplicity… He showed us it’s about reaching out in the style of Jesus to the sick, it’s about going to those who had been set aside…it’s about washing the feet of the Muslim…it’s about doing all these things that symbolize that as Christians, we are about service.

What does power mean for you?

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(for official full text of Monsignor Tighe’s homily, contact the summit organizer,Youth Pinoy)

– All NJ Viehland photos

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