…5,6,7,8 Pope Francis starts with a clean slate

2013-03-14 by . 2 comments

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Habemus Papam!

and welcome back to a fairly exciting day for Catholics, news junkies and chimney sweeps.

I, like hundreds of millions of Catholics and billions of other awesome people, had never heard of Jorge Mario Bergoglio; he didn’t appear to be one of the elite front runners the Vatican pundits had put forth.  I remember calling it in 2005, telling my English professor that I “Hoped it would be Ratzinger”.  Thought I was pretty smart stuff, so this time I told everyone that I “Hoped it would be Burke” just to see if luck would bring us a pontiff from the Sconnie Nation, no such luck…

But in the last few hours, I’ve heard hundreds of opinions of him.  Time Magainze has a list of fun facts that start out light and end up making him sound like the heir of Toruemada not Peter.  But it would seem that he’s a man of contradiction:

  1.  He’s a Jesuit priest who takes the name of Francis (maybe St. Francis Xavier, but probably St. Francis of Assisi)
  2. He allegedly had something to do with kidnapping of Jesuits during the Dirty War when he, himself, was superior of the order in Argentina.
  3. His name, Francis, is the first wholly new papal in a really long time
  4. Also, considering Papal nomenclature, Francis means “The Frenchman” which neither he is nor St. Francis was.
  5. and lastly, “The Frenchman” means “The Freeman” whereas, as accepting the papcy, he made himself the least free slave of Jesus on the face of the Earth.

Beyond that, he appears to be a man of great interior unity and simplicity:

  1. He appears to live a devout life while being “of the people” by taking some sort of public transportation,  I’ve seen it reported as “The Subway” and “The Bus” (but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a sidewalk).
  2. He’s written a few books, some of which are on spirituality (and there’s another, interview book I found that you can go add to wikipedia and be a hero).

    Pope Francis’ first book
    typeset by Abbe Everly*

  3. His mother was a stay-at-home mom and his father was an Italian Immigrant.  One shouldn’t assume this means anything even though it seems to be enough humility to qualify someone to run for President of the United States. But, knowing that he has humble roots should still mean something.

So, that’s my take on the Pope. If you have any questions about what a new Pope can or can’t mean for the Catholic Church or the whole Christian world, might I suggest christianity.stackexchange.com?

*I was going to say E.E. Cummings but I’ll give the guy a break, it’s his first day on the job!

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  • Jonathan says:

    What about Pope John Paul I in 1978?

    • Peter Turner says:

      His name wasn’t quite as original as Lando or Francis. I think the point of carrying an existing papal name is continuity, honor and some distinction.

      That’s why the holy father rarely chooses the name of their immediate predecessor. But Pope John Paul I was really honoring the popes of the 2nd Vatican council with his name. Pope Francis is drawing attention to St. Francis of Assisi for the most part, but also St. Francis Xavier, St. Francis de Sales and Francis Borigia (according to Fr. Joseph Fessio S.J. of Ignatius Press)

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