It seems that very often when the media reports “Pope Francis blessing” this person or that, the video footage shows him doing nothing of the sort; rather, what I usually see is a gathering of the faithful being given stones instead of bread.
Well, right on queue, the Washington Post (and other outlets) recently published a story on its blog about Pope Francis hopping out of the Humblemobile to greet a child that he saw in the distance shortly after landing on the tarmac in Philadelphia:
The pope emerged, walked up to Michael in his wheelchair, and blessed the boy, who has severe disabilities.
No he didn’t.
You can take a look at the video below and see for yourself. At best, Pope Francis did the same thing his Brother Bishop Tony Palmer presumably used to do when he “blessed” people; i.e., he did the Pentecostal check-your-head-for-a-fever thing.
One cannot help but feel for the child’s parents. Clearly, this was a very special moment for them and understandably so. And yet, for all that this moment may have meant to them, the best he could do is shake their hands and wave?
Notice as well that no words were spoken, presumably due to the pope’s inability to converse in English. One would think that in such a situation making the Sign of the Cross over them – the universally understood gesture of blessing – would have been especially fitting.
It’s flat out odd. No, strike that… it’s flat out telling.
I’m not even certain that this pope makes the Sign of the Cross over the crowds after the Angelus. Look at the video below of his first Angelus. When the time comes to bless the people (at the 13:35 mark) he prays for their blessing, but refrains from making the Sign of the Cross.
I can honestly say that I’ve only seen Pope Francis make the Sign of the Cross in blessing over people outside of Mass once (perhaps he has, but I have only seen it once), and even then it appeared that he did so with mock seriousness; as if there was a joke to be had in the image of Peter blessing the faithful in such a way.
That scene reminds me of the one below where Pope Francis (at the :28 mark) saw fit to make light of an altar boy’s reverence:
What can one say of a pope who harbors a repulsion for pious gestures so deep that he is loathe to make the Sign of the Cross, a sacred action that should come as naturally to the Roman Pontiff as buffoonery obviously does to Cardinal Dolan? (More on him later…)
Look… I’m not saying that Pope Francis is under the control of the Devil, but if ever we do end up with such a pope, as some have said is forewarned in the Third Secret of Fatima, I would imagine that he too will make fun of piety and perhaps even refrain from making the Sign of the Cross as well.