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Pope Concert Snub Surprises Vatican But Signals an Embrace of Simplicity

Pope Francis stunned cardinals when he didn’t show up to an opulent classic music concert being held in his honor. Instead, an elaborate white chair designated for him sat empty. Moments before the concert was about to start, the crowd was informed that the pope had an “urgent commitment that cannot be postponed,” but according to Reuters the message was clear: “With the Church in crisis, he—and perhaps they—had too much pastoral work to do to attend social events.” The picture of the empty white chair ran in several Italian newspapers with stories explaining how Pope Francis was sending a signal that he had no desire to attend glamorous social events. The day before the concert, Pope Francis told bishops that they should not have “the mentality of a prince” but instead be “close to the people” …

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