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Pope Francis Gives Up the Sardine Can: ‘I Don’t Have Much to Lose’

Pope Francis Gives Up the Sardine Can: ‘I Don’t Have Much to Lose’
June 16
15:38 2014

As with all pontiffs and priests, I naturally flex my skepticism about their true intentions, but the 266th continues to intrigue:

Pope Francis has announced he will no longer use a bullet-proof Popemobile as the glass ‘sardine can’ keeps him away from the people.

The armoured vehicles were introduced after the 1981 assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II in a bid to prevent further attacks on the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

During the interview with a Spanish newspaper which was reported by Vatican Radio, Pope Francis said: ‘It is true that anything could happen, but let’s face it, at my age I don’t have much to lose.’

Arrival of Pope at White House

Benedictus the Short-Termed, 2008

And to think while the pope was denouncing the means to his own prolonged safety, I was thinking of bullet-proofing my Chevy Impala. Times are getting tougher in Los Angeles, people are growing more desperate, traffic on the freeways is easing as fewer and fewer people have jobs to travel to, and the Mexican gangs are regaining ground they’d lost in the 21st century with terrifying speed.

Yet, the pope won’t ride in his safe sardine can, even though it’s the most aerodynamic and self-important sardine can I’ve ever seen.

This means Francis truly isn’t afraid of death, otherwise he’d never get rid of that altered Mercedes mobile with the bulletproof cage. That’s a bold step. Imagine the cheering people and the blur of faces lined up along both sides of the street. The endless people stretching their arms to you. You’d never see it coming until the shots were fired.

Also, he’s old. He admits it. Many people don’t like to think about how few years they have left. The trend is to grab as much as you can and store it behind lock and key. For some Baby Boomers especially, there might be the subconscious relief that owning a huge houseful of junk and a full bank account will act as a wedge to keep closed the door to Death. Statistically speaking, though, it’s easy to ballpark how long you’ve got left on earth, barring any twisted accident or disease to skew the average time your particular demographic lives.

As the Prophet Muhammad once said, “The world is a carcass, and those who desire it dogs.”

Even though this planet seems quite alive and active from the vantage point of a human, and the opposite of a dead animal, that is not the case for the teeming colonies of bacteria and maggots that set up entire civilizations along the furry landscape or within the cooled bowels of the fallen creature. For them it is a home, loaded with resources by which to thrive and propagate.

But for the enlightened human, the world is temporary and therefore as worthless to pursue as a means of fulfillment as carrion would be for a hungry stomach. Only a madman would spend his time that way, when it is obvious what is gained on earth will stay on earth.

There must be a similar sentiment zipping through the neural pathways in Pope Francis’ brain. For a 77-year old man to hang onto ideas of living or maintaining his place in this world is a fool’s errand. A wise person should have a more profound understanding of why he is here, and how he fits into reality. The dear pope’s action in this situation speaks of his faith and belief in a way that all the whitened garbs and burning incense and holy prayers could not.

[2008 Popemobile photo by Eric Draper]

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