Pope Francis braved the storm that greeted him while visiting the people in Tacloban City, Philippines in January 17, 2015 after Typhoon Haiyan. (CNN iReport)

Vancouver, B.C. 

“Talk a little, listen a lot, say just enough, and look everyone in the eye,” he says. 

By Ted Alcuitas

The day news broke out that all Chilean bishops have resigned because of the sexual scandal in that country, I saw the movie Pope Francis: A Man of His Word.

It is a powerful and deeply inspiring appeal to our sense of humanity – that we are called to take care of each other and especially the planet that we live in.

While it is about Pope Francis, there is nothing in the movie that exhorts the viewer to become Christians or Catholics nor is it peppered with quotations from the bible. In fact, Francis warns about proselytizing or converting you to his religion. 

Francis, the humble former bishop of Argentina is shown in all its simplicity – from the simple white frock that he prefers to the small popemobile that he rode when he visited the U.S. (dwarfed by the SUVs security vehicles), the Pope remains true to his words.

His genuine love for the poor and the marginalized is amply given prominence in the film. 

When you see him touch and caress the sick, wash and kiss the feet of prisoners, you cannot help but be moved by his spiritual presence as he looked into their eyes.

One scene that touched me to the core is when he visited and African hospital and went around the sick beds talking to the patients and their families.

He stopped by the bed of a young boy who was not moving and lying on his side. Francis, after talking to the mother touched the boy on his forehead. For a moment, I thought of a miracle – that the boy would stand up and be healed.

But of course, Francis is not Jesus and he did not performed miracles. 

But for the people who witnessed it, it was enough that he was there, and that was enough of a miracle.

Pope Francis blesses a prisoner in one of the memorable scenes in the film.

 

The touching scenes of his visits to the poor favelas of Brazil and for me as a Filipino-Canadian, his visit to the typhoon-stricken Tacloban City was most inspiring.

Here is the Pope and the Filipino faithful, drenched in howling wind and rain, clad in flimsy yellow raincoats all clamouring to touch his hand.

He was at a loss for words among the people who lost everything that they owned – only silence. 

Make no mistake.

While this Pope is shown in all his humility and simplicity, he minces no words when addressing the pressing issues he was confronted with.

Asked about his opinion on gays while having a rare press briefing inside the papal plane, he simply says: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?”.

“Talk a little, listen a lot, say just enough, and look everyone in the eye,” he says.

And that’s what the film achieves in which the Pope talks to you from his chair and looks you directly in the eyes.

You’re there with him, listening to his every word.

In the early opening scenes, there is a footage of the Pope addressing the Cardinals with his warnings of succumbing to temptations about spiritual diseases that afflict the clergy: putting hope in wealth, living without regard for mortality, and having a “lugubrious face”,  during which the director rather humorously cuts to the extremely sober-looking group of cardinals.

It is a film for believers and non-believers.

A preacher who does not deliver a sermon but walks  the talk.

Pope Francis is a man of his words indeed.

Go see it!

Cineplex Odeon

Tinseltown, Vancouver

Till Thursday, May 24th