Pope ‘snub’ of concert stuns cardinals, sends signal
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY | Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:41pm BST
(Reuters) – A last-minute no-show by Pope Francis at a concert where he was to have been the guest of honour has sent another clear signal that he is going to do things his way and does not like the Vatican high life.
The gala classical concert on Saturday was scheduled before his election in March. But the white papal armchair set up in the presumption that he would be there remained empty.
Minutes before the concert was due to start, an archbishop told the crowd of cardinals and Italian dignitaries that an “urgent commitment that cannot be postponed” would prevent Francis from attending.
The prelates, assured that health was not the reason for the no-show, looked disoriented, realising that the message he wanted to send was that, with the Church in crisis, he – and perhaps they – had too much pastoral work to do to attend social events.
“It took us by surprise,” said one Vatican source on Monday. “We are still in a period of growing pains. He is still learning how to be pope and we are still learning how he wants to do it.”
The picture of the empty chair was used in many Italian papers, with Monday’s Corriere della Sera newspaper calling his decision “a show of force” to illustrate the simple style he wants Church officials to embrace.
Read the rest at Reuters.