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Habemus Papam

March 13, 2013

We have a pope:   Cardinal Bergoglio of Agentina, a Jesuit, and he will rule as Francesco I (Pope Francis).

Cardinal Bergoglio was, according to rumor at the time, the strong contender against Joseph Ratzinger in 2005, but he attracted little attention this round.

He will not fit easily into the conservative/liberal dichotomy that the secular media (and many Catholic commentators) will want to impose on him.  He is a strong defender of social justice and a harsh critic of the unequal distribution of wealth.  He is conservative on matters of sexual morality and a strong opponent of gay marriage; two years ago he got into a strong dispute with the president of Argentina on adoption by gay couples.  One interesting note:  he launched a blistering attack on priests who refused to baptise children born out of wedlock, calling it hypocritical and clericalist.

He is known for living in a small apartment (eschewing the episcopal palace), taking the bus to work, and urging Argentinians to not go to Rome for his installation as Cardinal, instead asking them to donate the money to the poor.

Before giving the traditional blessing to the Roman crowd, he led them in prayers for Benedict XVI, and asked them to pray for him for God’s blessing.

He will be the first pope named Francsco, though at this point it is not clear if this is a reference to Francis of Assisi or Francis Xavier, or both.  I have been told, but have not been able to confirm as of this point, that it is Francis of Assisi.   That a Pope would embrace the Poverello promises much good for our Church.

May God, in his infinite goodness, bless and protect Papa Francesco, may he smile upon him and turn his face towards him, may he give him peace.   Amen!


  1. March 13, 2013 3:32 pm

    I was quite surprised with the choice. I was expecting Cardinal Scola.

  2. March 13, 2013 3:42 pm

    As for the Poverello, do you really expect him to move into a Roman apartment and take the bus to work?

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink
      March 13, 2013 9:32 pm

      Well, I hope that he will bring this same sense of humility and poverty to the papacy.

      • March 13, 2013 10:06 pm

        There’s a difference between a “sense of” humility, and humility itself.

        I saw a picture of him kissing the feet of AIDS victim children. The only thing I could think was: “Oh yes, because when I meet someone and want to make a genuine gesture of caring that’s not affected or self-conscious or a melodramatic photo-op at all…the first thing I think is ‘I’ll kiss their feet!'”

        • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink
          March 14, 2013 7:24 am

          Your cynicism is showing. The Poverello himself was given to dramatic gestures to demonstrate his own humility, including being led into town by another friar who mocked and castigated him.

          Or is it, based on your comments on another thread, that you find any symbol or symbolic action that conveys the humility and subjugation of the Vicar of Christ (who came not to be served but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many) abhorrent?

      • March 13, 2013 11:07 pm

        Right. There are many ways to exercise these.

        • Brian Martin permalink
          March 14, 2013 8:19 am

          Sinner’s cynicism would be more acceptable were there not all the other signs of humility vs. photo op.

  3. Pinky permalink
    March 13, 2013 3:43 pm

    He’s a Jesuit, so I’d assume Francis Xavier. But either way – hurray! We have a Pope!

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink
      March 14, 2013 7:25 am

      The Jesuits at America Magazine are calling him “a Jesuit Pope with a Franciscan name” so I think it is the Poverello.

      • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink
        March 14, 2013 8:28 am

        And the Vatican is now confirming that it is after Francis of Assisi.

  4. Jordan permalink
    March 13, 2013 5:16 pm

    I pray that I can soon offer my filial obedience to Pope Francis unreservedly.

    However, I am extremely apprehensive that Pope Francis will abrogate or severely restrict Summorum pontificum. Pope Francis is not a friend of traditional piety or Latin worship in either the EF or OF. My “Chrismation Clock” just moved from 11:40 pm to 11:45 pm.

    On the other hand, something tells me that Pope Francis is more concerned with the reformation of the curia and other Vatican governmental organs than snatching the missals out of the hands of mass-hearers.

    I’m trying hard to get past my suspicions and unreservedly trust our new Holy Father. I suspect that I am not the only Catholic, from either side of the ideological aisle, who has qualms.

    There will be an adjustment period for many Catholics, but I am convinced that Pope Francis will surprise us and keep me in the Church.

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink
      March 14, 2013 8:29 am

      “However, I am extremely apprehensive that Pope Francis will abrogate or severely restrict Summorum pontificum.”

      Whence comes this fear? He has only been in office for hours, and nothing in his record as archbishop that I can find says much on this question. Though I have to admit the EF has never been a big deal to me, so generally don’t pay much attention to it.

    • Jordan permalink
      March 14, 2013 8:49 am

      David [March 14, 2013 8:29 am]: His Holiness, as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, refused to implement Summorum pontificum. The EF has been effectively banned in his archdiocese. This is why many traditionalists are going berserk.

      As did I, last night. I deeply regret my post at [March 13, 2013 5:16 pm]. I had an adult temper tantrum. The new Pont. Max. has been in office for barely a day. We traditionalists have written him off even before his first audience.

      I just saw a photograph of the pontiff, as archbishop, wash the feet of a woman with infant child on Maundy Thursday. I might not recognize the beauty of this gesture at this moment, but perhaps I will some day. I have some growing up to do.

      • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink
        March 14, 2013 10:47 am

        Thanks for the additional information. I appreciate your candor on this matter.

      • Thales permalink
        March 14, 2013 8:20 pm

        Are you sure? I’ve been seeing blog comments that say exactly the opposite of what you’re saying: namely, that when he was archbishop, he acted quickly to support Summorum pontificum in his archdiocese.

        • Jordan permalink
          March 15, 2013 1:40 am

          Thales [March 14, 2013 8:20 pm]: Yes, it appears that there is one licit EF Mass in the Buenos Aires archdiocese. It should be noted that there is a large SSPX presence (including seminary) in HH’s former archdiocese, which likely complicated matters for Pope Francis when he was archbishop.

          It’s time for me to stop munching shoe leather and head to the confession booth.

    • Kurt permalink
      March 14, 2013 9:31 am

      …than snatching the missals out of the hands of mass-hearers.


      Hand missals are a modernist innovation that a true traditionalist would shun. They were specificially prohibited by the Holy Church. Sadly, during the Kulturkampf, liberal dissenting Catholics popularized them in Germany where due to the political situation the Church was unable to enforce the ban. And with their publication possible in Germany, they spread to other German speaking lands. As happens all too often, once liberals were successful in spreading their disobedience, the Church caved and lifted the prohibition.

      [Edited for content. Kurt your point above is pertinent, but I do not want this thread to turn into a pissing match between supporters and detractors of the EF.]

  5. Chris Sullivan permalink
    March 13, 2013 5:26 pm

    This is wonderful news !

    God Bless

  6. March 13, 2013 5:42 pm

    I am excited to see what the Holy Father does. Though I hope he continues the strong push for high liturgical standards Benedict had, the comments at Rorate Caeli and Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s blog have been shameful to read.
    May the Lord bless our Bishop of Rome!

    • Brian Martin permalink
      March 14, 2013 8:18 am

      Fr. Z seems to have even been offended by the comments made.
      I had never seen Rorate Caedi before now…and I can honestly say if I never visit the site again, it will be too soon.

      • March 14, 2013 1:04 pm

        Yeah, Fr. Z’s post on his own reaction to the election was very well done, and captured better how I think of it.

  7. March 13, 2013 7:20 pm

    Vivat Papus Franciscus!

  8. March 13, 2013 9:26 pm

    From La Stampa: “His favourite priests are those who work in the ‘villas miserias’, the slums of the Argentinean capital. Instead of driving people away with rigid doctrinal preachings, he tries to look at all possible solutions in an attempt to embrace those who are the furthest from the Christian community. The Church, he insists, must show the merciful side of God. “

  9. March 13, 2013 10:48 pm

    My guess is that, like Benedict before him, the name Francis has a double referent. Assisi and Xavier; poverty and mission. I’d bet Assisi is the primary referent.

  10. March 14, 2013 4:48 am

    Ok. My reaction to Pope Francis.

    First, the media looked long and hard to find something to criticize about him. What they found were accusations of him not being “vocal enough” against the Junta. This is all “Hitler’s Pope” territory to me. It’s easy to second-guess, with hindsight, what people think those in charge of ecclesial authority “should say and do.” The same people who call him a “coward” probably would have done less than they demand of him. And, as with Hitler, not going into martyrdom mode allowed him to save lives. The Church says seeking martyrdom is a sin. So, could he have done better? It’s too hard to know, but I think he did what he thought he could do, and even if he was wrong in his speculative reasoning, it is an understandable prudential decision.

    Now, after the media reaction, my reaction: I like what I have seen and most of what I have read. He seems to have the Latin America spirit of the power and importance of “the people.” This could go a long way in the Vatican, causing less clericalism. It is not that there is a rejection of the hierarchy with this, but the emphasis will be different. I like his interest in simplicity. I like his Marian devotion (he went to St Mary Major’s this morning for his prayer; he only gave 10 min warning before he arrived). I like his interest in poverty issues.

    He seems to be a good choice for the Pope. He is an intellectual, but of a different kind than Benedict. I was hoping for Scola, but that was for personal reasons. Nonetheless, I like what I see of Francis.

  11. March 14, 2013 8:45 am

    What really frightens me now is that the corrupt Roman Curia may have engineered a coup:

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink
      March 14, 2013 10:52 am

      Hmm, this post seems mostly to be sour grapes. The hints of a coup seem very much over-stated. Besides, the curial lesson from the past is to keep on a pope in his dotage, so that his “inner circle” however defined can run things in his name.

  12. Ronald King permalink
    March 14, 2013 11:40 am

    Whatever the outcome of his selection, it is humility which brings us to the revelation and truth of our sins and leads us more clearly to the path of Love. Whatever is not Love must be revealed and I pray that his initial acts of symbolic humility lead him deeper into the mystery of God’s Love as it applies to all of God’s Creation. Holiness is found in fearful, hateful and painful places internally and externally.

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