US Catholic Faith in Real Life

We have a Pope Francis, SJ

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

An Argentine, a Jesuit, and a pope who picks the name Francis. Now that's a collection of firsts.

First No.1, the shift to the South: Actually, Bergoglio is a bridge between old and new--a child of an Italian, with an Italian last name, and he can speak Italian.

First No. 2, a Jesuit: Considering that Jesuits have to take a vow to the pope, this could be interesting. I wonder if there's really anything to this--or if it's really just a coincidence.

First No. 3, a Francis: This is interesting in that it signals this pope's identification with the poor man of Assisi. Does he hope to turn the church more in the direction of the poor? The choice of name is a first signal for the direction a pope wants to go with his ministry, and while I don't expect him to go selling of the collections of the Vatican Museums, it may indicate a desire to simplify--and maybe rebuild?--the church.

Now we wait and see.

Funny that Bergoglio wasn't really on anyone's short list this time--he is widely thought to have been the runner-up in the 2005 conclave. I suspect that's because of his age and health (he had a lung removed as a child). While the choice may be a bit of surprise, he's definitely a known quantity.

Flickr photo cc by Catholic Church (England and Wales)