|Pope John Paul I needed a better tailor on his first appearance.|
|Pope Francis I has a better tailor but looks a lot like his predecessor.|
We have a new Pope, Francis I, previously known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. He has very little Vatican experience, comes from Argentina, and lives very very simply. He was runner up to EPBXVI in the last conclave, but not this time--in spite of his age. No vaticanista pundit gave him much of a chance, and Paddypower had odds on him at 35-1 late this afternoon. Very few Kentucky Derby winners have won with those odds. I am really curious to know what happened to the candidacies of Cardinal Scola and Cardinal Sherer the favorites. After all, this election only took 5 rounds so either the Vatican watchers were engaged in a huge amount of wishful thinking, or something happened inside the Conclave.
Last night I'm laying in bed meditating on the Conclave and ask this question. Who will be the next pope? I get Francis I. So I'm like no, who takes the name Francis I? I get dead silence so I give it up. This afternoon I was up at the main Center with a client who had a psychiatric appointment and I'm really hoping this is a short session because I want to get back to my residential facility and find out if the evenings vote in Rome resulted in black or white smoke. I walk into the living room just as white smoke starts poring out of the Sistine Chapel. I couldn't help but stick around and find out who was going to be Francis I. Ahem. Anyway, it was Cardinal Bergoglio and he really did take the name Francis I. I about fell over.
There is a lot of potential in this man in spite of his very solid credentials as a social conservative. He could not have come out of this Conclave without solid credentials as a social conservative. I can't say I'm shocked or disappointed about that aspect. To be honest, given that the next Pope was going to be a social conservative if only by the make up of the Cardinals, I really wanted a man who would set an entirely different agenda in the realm of humility and clerical lifestyle. I wanted a man who would have a chance to stop the maneuvering of Opus Dei and other like minded groups who fancy themselves as elite Catholics and have big money behind them. Pope Francis is a Jesuit. Oh my OD. Yes he has ties with Communion and Liberation, but his first ties are Jesuit and he doesn't live as if he's been living on 'donations' from wealthy laity. It's hard to imagine Pope Francis in a cappa magna.
I also found his first remarks intriguing. He consistently referred to himself as the Bishop of Rome. That may have implications for how he will act in the areas of collegiality and ecumenism and perhaps how he sees the purview of the Holy See. Maybe our nuncios will be more involved in spiritual matters pertaining to the Church and not political matters pertaining to secular governments. I await his selection for the Secretary of State position with as much interest as I did his own selection.
So I have initial hope. Pope Francis struck me very much like JPI did in that there is a definite sense of humility and openness and he has a shy but sincere smile. If I have one real wish, it's that he put the pelvic issues on the back burner and the corruption and social justice issues on the front burner---and bring some women into the picture because that would indeed indicate to me that the Holy Spirit was there on top the Sistine Chapel in his alternative form of the Sea Gull.