By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Francis' Papal Simplicity Is Profoundly Roman

A relatively few odd birds in our vast Church were initially taken aback by the refreshing simplicity of style of Pope Francis.

Well, that simplicity is a very old Roman virtue (and it certainly is a Christian one):

[Augustus] displayed the quality admired by the Romans under the name of civilitas, absence of unnecessary pomp. Genuinely preferring simplicity to luxury, he at first lived in an unpretentious part of Rome near the Forum, and then moved to a modest though tastefully decorated house on the Palatine . . . where for forty years he slept in the same bedroom. A later ruler, Marcus Aurelius, said he had been taught by his unostentatious predecessor Antoninus Pius that an emperor could almost live like a private gentleman. The founder of the principate [Augustus] had already been imbued with the same idea.

Michael Grant, The Twelve Caesars (N.Y.: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1975), p. 67.

(Image of Augustus in public domain)