Pope Paul VI

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“I saw his photo ... (but it's a newspaper photo, they're generally very bad: you can't have any contact, you only see this much [gesture on the surface]). The thing that struck me most is a sort of insincerity. A benevolent and ecclesiastical insincerity — if you know what I mean?

Very well.

There was also the photo of the cardinal of India (the first and only cardinal in India), a straightforward man and a wholehearted believer — he must be a fanatical Catholic, but with a sincerity, a fervor. The other fellow is very intelligent — oh, he has a mouth I cannot look at, dreadful.
         Anyway, we'll see what happens.
         It seems Kennedy is Catholic. That is a serious matter.
         They say he was the first person the Pope saw after his ... what's the word for Popes?


I don't know. When he first appears in public: “Here is the Pope!”
         Anyhow, after the ceremony of investiture, he saw Mr. Kennedy: the first person.”[1]

“I don't know, when I saw the photo of the new Pope, I got a strong impression of a very shrewd man, a politician.

(Mother nods approvingly)

Someone very, very shrewd. I didn't feel anything spiritual.

Oh, but the last one didn't have anything spiritual either!

But he seemed good.

He was a good man.

This one gave me an impression of someone very shrewd and dangerous. A politician.

(Mother nods her head) Sri Aurobindo used something like these words: It is all that can be done in the present circumstances.

Which means it seemed to be the man of his choice, because he certainly went to the conclave and saw the situation, that's how he worked — he influenced the vote. Among all those people ([laughing] there are eighty of them, mon petit!), among all those people, this one was probably the one the most likely to do what we want him to.
         He may do it for unavowed reasons, but anyway ... It generally happens that way in the present state of the earth: people's motives for doing things should not be taken too seriously — what's important is what they do. And if you look at things from a certain height (where everything is DECIDED, you understand), people and things are COMPELLED to act in a certain way, but the conscious human motives that determine their actions are irrelevant — ‘irrelevant’ in the sense that they're not always ... to put it more clearly: you VERY rarely do things from the TRUE motive.”[2]

See also