Suite 201 in St. Martha’s House — also known as Casa Santa Marta and Domus Sanctae Martae — in Vatican City is Pope Francis’ residence.
After his 2013 election as pope, Francis famously declined to live in the papal apartment in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace in favor of the guest house facility the Vatican opened in 1996 for visiting cardinals, bishops and clergy.
The pope said he’d rather live amid the community of people at the Casa Santa Marta, and the communal dining there fulfills his preference not to be isolated.
Recently, Vatican Insider, the online site of an Italian daily, La Stampa, ran a photo of the door of the pope’s room that has a sign that reads “VIETATO LAMENTARSI.” That translates as “complaints forbidden,” in other words, “no whining.”
This 11th commandment on the pope’s door includes a small print addendum, which Vatican Insider translates as: “Transgressors are subject to
a syndrome of victimization and the ensuing reduction of a sense of humor and capacity to resolve problems. Sanctions are doubled when the violation is committed in the presence of children.”
It’s said the sign on the door was a gift from an Italian motivational speaker, Salvo Noé. Obviously, it tickled Francis’ funny bone.
It also makes one wonder, how often each day Pope Francis hears complaints after he steps out of the sanctum of his room.
But it’s not surprising the pope, whose first apostolic exhortation in 2013 was “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”) finds humor and truth in the warning against whining. In that exhortation he advised Catholics not to be “sourpusses” but to reflect the joy they find in God’s love and graces.
That joy of the Gospel was also the theme of the U.S. bishops’ convened meeting for some 3,500 people in Orlando this month, “Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America.”
Take a look at Msgr. Steven P. Hurley’s article about the convocation on pages 3 and 4 in this issue. It shows our diverse Catholic community in the diocese and throughout the United States has a lot to be joyful about, as well as a lot of challenges to meet with the joy of the Gospel in our hearts.
So, message received, no whining in the pope’s room, or in our hearts and souls that are loved and redeemed by God. Also, turn your joy in the Gospel into an enthusiastic missionary spirit that contagiously invites others to discover the gifts of our faith.
Ryan is editor/general manager of The Dialog.