I grew up Catholic, the youngest of six kids. I went to 17 years of catholic school, and faced my varied share of disciplines from a series of holy orders. I did pretty much everything a lay person could do in church and at mass over the years. Even though I’ve moved to an Evangelical bent lately, I still look to the Catholic Church for direction in many ways.
So I’m excited about the events around the announcement of Pope Francis I. I especially like Francis, and I’ll wait to see the explanation of the name, but St. Francis of Assisi was a large influence in my life, and the order of choice for the High School I attended. His humble approach to God is one that I still attempt to mirror in my daily life.
I’ll note that the blogs are on this much faster than the news sites (which is an observation in itself), so to Ed Morrissey:
Update: The new Pope is a South American, the first non-European in centuries — but not one anyone saw coming. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina has become Pope Francis I. This name has a lot of meaning for Catholics — Francis of Assisi was credited with reforming the Catholic Church in the 13th century through humility, simplicity, and works of charity. However, Bergoglio is 76 years old, an interesting choice.
Update: More background on Pope Francis from the Vatican biography. He was born in Buenos Aires in December 1936, which makes him 75 at the moment, ordained as a Jesuit, and was made Bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992. He was elevated to Cardinal by John Paul II in 2001. He has been considered a theological conservative, probably not a surprise considering John Paul II’s intervention.
Update: Bergoglio is also the son of Italian immigrants to Argentina, so Italy has a connection to the new Pope.
I’m already anticipating the “Italian immigrants to South America” comments from somewhere. Whatever.
The Catholic church represents over 1.1 Billion people in the world, sometimes imperfectly (from the people’s views). However, it has stayed true to tradition for thousands of years, and focuses back to the teachings of Christ at every level. Having a conservative Pope from the New World indicates a desire by the church to address concerns that Europe still dominates even as growth happens overseas. I don’t expect wholesale changes, nor do I hope for any in the church. The faith evidenced by true Catholics is clearly one that is humble before the Lord.
I join in prayer with the rest of the world for the new pope, the church, and the faith of people everywhere.