I feel like a protective mother watching a playground whenever I see Pope Francis making a public appearance. I often wince as he glides around with child-like trust and curiosity, greeting the crowds in St Peter’s Square, hopping in and out of his Popemobile to bless a sick or disabled person.
I’m not the only one. Fears about Pope Francis’s safety are an increasingly dominant topic of conversation among the faithful. Only yesterday a friend of a friend said how much he had enjoyed his visit to Rome. But he added that he felt sorry for the Pope’s security officials as they anxiously tried to keep up with their gregarious charge.
Yet, though these concerns are understandable, Pope Francis is no child. He, more than any of us, has considered the risks attached to his approach and is reconciled to them. Like so many holy men and women, he has a rare prudence and serenity. Only today he hinted at why he has settled on this relaxed approach. “Life is not given to us so that we can keep it jealously for ourselves, but is given to us so that we may donate it,” he said at his general audience in St Peter’s Square.
We can only surmise, then, that Pope Francis has placed his life firmly in God’s hands. Concerned Catholics have no choice but to do the same.