Gather millions of people from all over the world for a public event, throw in a new pope and what do you have? A security nightmare! Yet Pope Francis appeared to break all the rules for dignitaries in public. He took the glass off the “pope-moblie” and let people mob the vehicle to try to touch him or just get a glimpse of him.
His security strategy? Trust the people.
In today’s world, we often live in fear. And Pope Francis wants us to understand that we need not fear one another. I’ve been writing a series of posts on my personal blog about the George Zimmerman verdict and death of Trayvon Martin, which include reflection on my own fear of growing up in a dangerous neighborhood. I was taught to fear the other in that neighborhood and there is good and bad in that fear. After all, there are madmen and people who do wish to do others harm in the world. However, the pope also sees madness in this fear. Fear separates us and keeps us in armored cars and behind locked doors. Fear stops dialogue and hinders work for peace in the world. Fear keeps rival gangs shooting at one another instead of coming together to solve the problems of poverty and crime in their neighborhoods and working for peace and justice.
Pope Francis has seen that fear and knows the results of it. All those years of visiting people who lived in the slums of Argentina have changed him. The experiences have given the pope a heart for the poor that does not allow the walls of fear to separate him from the people who need him. Those that have no voice need to see that the pope will be their voice. They need to see that the pope will be present to them.