What exactly is an ascetic?
The Guardian makes reference to his " frugal lifestyle"( I am quoting from paragraph 3)
This is the connection I find.
In this context it means that he’s a priest who embraces poverty as a way of life, lives a life of prayer and penance, backs away from the traditional “pomp and circumstance” that goes with being an archbishop. For example, Archbishop Parolini is known to wear only a clerical shirt and jacket. He owns one black cassock and one purple one for ceremony. He does not like to stand out in a crowd He has a reputation for being an advocate for the poor and a great defender of immigrants. When he was in Mexico, he did a great deal to involve the clergy and religious in working to improve the lives of the people they served so that they would not be forced to migrate illegally to the USA. Unfortunately, the Mexican government is still highly anti-clerical and offered no financial support. The progress is very slow.
That’s the kind of man who will be the #2 at the Vatican. He will be Papabili. He is well liked by those outside the Vatican as was Cardinal Bergoglio and for the same reasons, for his austere way of life. He’s a good diplomat. From what I have read about him in Mexico, he was treated well by the government, which is rare in that country. They referred to him as a “simple priest”.
I have never met the man. I know religious and clergy from Mexico who have and they say that he is like the Holy Father. Very pious, very approachable, and very much a man of the poor. He doesn’t just speak about the poor. He is one of them by choice. He’s not a religious. He doesn’t have a vow of poverty. As a nuncio he probably has a fair income.
My sense is that Pope Francis is on his way to making that dream of a poor Church for the poor a reality. Among the men on the commission that he has created to help him govern, we know that at least five of them are committed to the poor. They own absolutely nothing. Cardinal O’Malley of Boston doesn’t even own a car or a home. The same is true for several others on that team.
All of these men have something else in common and this Secretary of State fits right in. They are all scholars. They are all PhDs who are out in the trenches, not in an office all their lives. They have brains, experience and are detached from material concerns. These are good signs.
Br.JR, thank you for enlightening me. It’s an exciting time to be Catholic.