An interesting profile of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires by the Italian website L’Espresso Online.
Hundreds of Argentinians had begun fundraising efforts to fly to Rome to pay homage to the new man with the red hat. But Bergoglio stopped them. He ordered them to remain in Argentina and distribute the money they had raised to the poor. In Rome, he celebrated his new honor nearly alone—and with Lenten austerity.
He has always lived this way. Since he was made archbishop of the Argentinian capital, the luxurious residence next to the cathedral has remained empty. He lives in a nearby apartment, together with another bishop, old and sickly. In the evening, he himself cooks for both of them. He rarely drives, getting around most of the time by bus, wearing the cassock of an ordinary priest.
What a contrast to many of the bishops we have seen who seem to start out with humility but grow accustomed to nice homes, big cars, and moving in the circles of the wealthy and powerful. He reminds me of Archbishop Chaput who, when he was appointed to Denver from Sioux City, was said to have loaded all his possessions into his old Datsun and drove himself to the city. Even now, when he is given gifts he gives all but the most personal away for charity.
Whatever else a bishop is, if he eschews the trappings of power and worldly wealth he rises a notch in my eyes. There must be awful temptation for most of them when they receive their bishoprics to lose themselves in their new positions.