Thursday, March 14, 2013
Habemus Papam! We have a Pope!
You probably heard the news earlier than what I did (I was asleep when it happened), but at the Vatican just after 7p.m. local time, on the evening of March 13, the smoke bellowed white from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel and the bells started ringing echoing through St. Peter's Square.
"Habemus Papam!" We have a pope!
Pope Francis, as he is to be called, is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Here's a little bit about him (source: http://www.taylormarshall.com/2013/03/10-facts-about-pope-francis.html):
Pope Francis, Jorge Bergoglio, was born in Buenos Aires, one of the five children of an Italian railway worker and his wife. He's a Jesuit. The first Jesuit Pope ever.
Pope Francis is known for his humility, doctrinal conservatism, defender of the Church's moral theology, and a commitment to social justice. He has been critical of liberation theology. He is close to Comunione e Liberazione. He has opposed legislation introduced in 2010 by the Argentine Government to allow same-sex marriage.
In Argentina, he has been accused by anti-clericalists as being "medieval" (another good sign).
Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal in 2001. He has served on the Congregation of Clergy, Congregation of Divine Worship and Sacraments, Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life, the Congregation of Societies of Apostolic Life, and the Commission on Latin American and the Family Council. He was concurrently named ordinary for Eastern Catholics in Argentina, who lacked their own prelate. So he can, presumably, celebrate the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.
The choice of the name Francis is an interesting choice. It is of course taken from the esteemed saint, St. Francis of Assisi, and there is a story of a young St. Francis entering an abandoned chapel in a neighbouring town to pray. There he had a vision of Christ whom said to him, "Francis, rebuild my Church". How profound. St. Francis was also a man who lived a life of deep spirituality, meditation, and simplicity, something that I'm sure Pope Francis will certainly try to emulate.
The task set before Pope Francis is massive, there is no question about that. We confidently pray that our new pope, Pope Francis, has the strength and resolve to lead the Church into a new era of faith and prosperity.