On March 13th, the world watched as white smoke billowed from the Vatican signaling that a new Pope had been selected. Shortly after, Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina was introduced to us as he took the name of Pope Francis the First. He was to become the newest leader of the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican City State. The crowd was elated that their new leader had finally emerged.
Very little was known about the new Pope at the time he was announced. As time progressed, stories from his peers began to emerge. He was known as a humble man, a man of the people and a man of the less fortunate. When asked by reporters, shortly after he was selected, Pope Francis explained how he came to choose his new name. “Right away, with regard to the poor, I thought of St. Francis of Assisi” … a “poor man, a simple man, as we would like a poor church, for the poor.” St Francis of Assisi was born to a wealthy family. He is known for abandoning his wealth and prestige in order to become a servant to the very destitute of those he served.
Prior to being selected, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio lived a very modest and humble life. He gave up the chauffer service and traveled to work by bus. It is said that he also gave up a lifestyle offered him to live in a palace, for a very small and modest apartment instead. He also chose to cook his own meals.
Since assuming his new role, Pope Francis has chosen once again to lead the same humble lifestyle that he led before. He made the decision to take up residence in the Vatican guesthouse instead of the papal residence that has been used by his predecessors since the year 1903. He asked his followers to pray for him and has refused to stand on the customary platform above the other archbishops. He dresses in a modest fashion as well when compared to his predecessors. He has also been known to pay for his own hotel bills and fly coach while traveling. More recently, Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 juvenile prisoners at the Casa del Marmo Penitentiary Institute for Minors instead of those of the customary fellow priests or laymen. He truly lives by the words that he spreads to his followers.
So what then can the Obama’s learn from Pope Francis? President Obama champions himself as being a man for the poor as well. He has pushed for the redistribution of wealth even going as far as saying “I do think at a certain point you have made enough money.” He has demonized the “evil rich” and has pushed for the American people to look out for each other. He has even reminded us on many occasions to look to the National Day of Service as an opportunity to volunteer and help those in need.
The difference clearly lies in how they live. Pope Francis leads by example, while the Obama’s and Biden send the message.. Do as I say and not as I do.
While American families are struggling to put gas in their cars, food on the table and pay their basic bills, VP Biden has enjoyed 3 vacations in just this year alone. In January, Biden traveled to the Virgin Islands, then to Snowmass in Colorado in February and spent Easter on Kiawah Island near Charleston, SC. That is an average of one a month. The Obama’s fared much better by starting the year in Hawaii in a beautiful and lavish rented estate. (You can see photos of the estate by clicking here.)
During President’s weekend, President Obama traveled to Florida to enjoy a luxury weekend of golf. Michelle and the Obama daughters flew off to Aspen to enjoy a weekend ski vacation. Of course Spring break came upon us and once again, the Obama daughters were whisked off to enjoy a vacation at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island. As if that wasn’t enough, we got wind that upon their return from their vacation in the Bahamas, the Obama girls, including Michelle, were once again enjoying a ski vacation in beautiful Sun Valley Idaho. This does not even compare to the many extravagant vacations that they have all enjoyed in their previous years since Obama became President.
It also seems that vacations aren’t the only luxuries that the Obama’s and Biden enjoy. Recently, VP Biden’s hotel bills surfaced and it appears that a one night stay in London cost the taxpayers a mere $460,000. A one night stay in Paris cost us $585,000. The White House dinners for their guests also give us an indication of how the Obama’s enjoy the lifestyle of the rich and famous. In the year 2010, the Obama’s hosted a dinner for Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon. There was a special appearance by Beyonce and the cost to the taxpayers was estimated at about $1 Million. Similar dinners for other guests including British PM David Cameron, Chinese President Hu, and the PM of India all cost us an estimate of $500,000 each.
Let’s not forget the $540 Lanvin sneakers that Michelle Obama wore to a Food Bank in 2009 when she showed up to serve food to the needy. She was also seen sporting a $6800 jacket at the Olympic reception in Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth II. Some argue that she was meeting the Queen and shouldn’t she be allowed to dress for the occasion? We have also heard the argument that we don’t pay for her wardrobe, so why does it matter? To find the answers to these questions, let’s go back to Pope Francis. He is a man of the people. He is a man of the poor. He leads by example and he lives by his words. He is a humble man…