The histrionic reaction to the Pope missing the concert is unfair

I seem to be in a very lonely position as someone who is not criticising Papa Francesco for missing the concert on Saturday night, June 22nd. Some more conservative Catholics are up in arms that Francis suddenly scarpered before a performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony.  

In a blog for The Catholic Herald, I sympathise with the musicians who prepared for the honour of performing for the Pope, but were disappointed.

 But I also argue that passing up an evening of sublime music, and fulfilling his 'urgent' commitments is in line with Pope Francis' character and his life choices.  As a bishop in Argentina, he could have gone to glittering parties, but chose to visit AIDS victims and keep them company, or help in a soup kitchen.

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