Rorate Caeli

"Here's a photo newspapers won't show: An empty St. Peter's Square for Wednesday's General Audience"


Antonio Socci
Feb. 11, 2015

It was taken this morning [February 11, 2015] by a friend of mine during Pope Bergoglio’s general Audience. St. Peter’s Square as you can see is somewhat empty, despite it being February 11th, the Feast of the Blessed Virgin of Lourdes and the day for the sick, with a flux of delegates from Unitalsi [the "National Italian Union for the Transportation of the Sick to Lourdes and other International Shrines"].

The phenomenon of Pope Bergoglio’s increasingly “empty” audiences has been going on for some time now, although the media talks all the time about the (invisible) “crowds” and the Vatican establishment confirms this account. This phenomenon is parallel with the sales of Pope Bergoglio’s books, which are anything but flourishing: try and ask the publishing houses and you will be surprised…

Let’s make a few reflections on this:

1. Being acclaimed by [Repubblica editor and papal interviewer Eugenio] Scalfari and [Radical Party leader Marco] Pannella does not bring the faithful to St. Peter’s Square, and, above all, does not bring converts into the confessionals and churches.

2. If Christianity is turned into an easy product of the mass-media, sooner or later the media-bubble will burst.

3. Jesus in the Gospel had warned his Apostles: “Woe to you when men shall bless you: for according to these things did their fathers to the false prophets.” (Luke 6, 26) The apostles must seek the glory of Christ, not their own: “non nobis Domine…” I say this primarily for myself, but I believe it applies to everyone. Adapting Evangelical truth to what the world wants to hear and to chase one’s own popularity not only goes against Jesus’ mandate, but in the end transforms that which should be the salt of the earth into a salt with no taste, which becomes insignificant.

4. When even the media-bubble persists, due to the favour of the secular mass-media system, bound to the powers of this world, if Jesus Christ is not proclaimed integrally in all His truth which “judges” the darkness of the world, then the work of God is not being done, but something else is…

5. In today’s audience, Pope Bergoglio said that he has been following the news from Lampedusa and expressed his sorrow at the recent death of some of the refugees. Of course, it is also our sorrow. However, I wonder: why doesn’t he also follow up on the news from North Iraq, Nigeria and other countries, where Christians are being persecuted and killed for their faith every single day?

[Source: Personal page, in Italian. Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana]