Mary Birdsong


Thank you CNN and Ben Wedeman for running the story you ran tonight on AC360 about Pope Francis and Vinicio Riva. For once, it’s not hormones that are making me cry.  I haven’t been so moved by something in I can’t even remember when.  I don’t consider myself a Catholic, or a member of ANY church.  Yet I found myself on my knees.  Embarrassed to be doing so.  (What if my hipster neighbors see me through the sliding glass door?) But frankly, G-d, I don’t give a shit.  Because it felt GOOD to be humbled by something.  I don’t really care if there is (or is NOT) such  a thing as “G-d.” I don’t care what you call it.  If I were to worship anything, it would be that behavior.  That act. That connection.  The Pope has done more in that one single gesture- that one simple act of compassion, mercy and humility than any sermon could ever hope to do. It makes ANY words the clergy could utter seem like dust.

You know… It’s a shame, in a way, that the leader of the Catholic church actually treating someone how we’ve been taught (for two millennia now) by the Christian faith that we are SUPPOSED to treat a fellow human being is NEWS.  It shouldn’t be news.  It should be as common as a cold.  It should be no more remarkable than littering.  And yet Pope Francis and Vinicio Riva have managed to create shock and awe.  I can’t think of ANYTHING MORE PUNK ROCK THAN POPE FRANCIS and his new buddy Vinny.

Watch the video by clicking the link below.

Meet the disfigured man whose embrace with Pope Francis went viral –

On a personal note, I used to have horrible recurring nightmares that my skin looked like the skin of the man pictured to the left.  It wasn’t so much the gruesome skin growths that were the worst part of the dream.  It was that no one else would acknowledge it.  No one else could see the growths but me.   I don’t have those awful dreams anymore, thank goodness.  (And my skin looks pretty great if I DO say so myself.)  But many years later I still remember the feeling state in those dreams.

Luckily I had the good fortune to end that feeling state by waking up.  It was easy– alarm goes off, and they’d go “poof.”  The nightmares expressed something I think a lot of people have suffered from at one time or another– the feeling that although you may look okay on the outside, (unless you’re in Hollywood, in which case you probably look freakin fantastic) the “real you” is  covered in lesions, growths, and sores.  The nightmare was always that I could see the real me, but nobody else could.  Seeing this story on the news tonight made me wonder, “What if this man is beautiful on the inside, and he can see that, but no one else can?  Maybe it’s even possible that his nightmares are the opposite of mine– that he walks out into a public place and he can see quite clearly how beautiful he is.  He’s “George Clooney handsome,” but no one else can see that.

Oh, right… I forgot.  That’s not this man’s nightmare.  It’s his life.    But for once, someone saw his insides.

he's got way more punk rock chutzpah than some trust-fund brat wearing a poser mohawk

he’s got way more punk rock chutzpah than some trust-fund brat wearing a poser mohawk



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