Why the First Latin American Pope Inspires Less Hope Than We Hoped

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VATICAN POOL / ANSA / Landov

Pope John Paul II receives then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aries, at the Vatican on Feb. 21, 2001.

To their discredit, some princes of the church live like princes. But Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, Argentina’s most powerful Roman Catholic prelate, isn’t one of them: he’s a priest who leads a humble lifestyle that reflects his advocacy for the downtrodden. In Latin America, whose social inequality is among the worst of any region in the world, that truly counts for something. It’s refreshing, at a time when so many in the Catholic hierarchy stand accused of covering up clerical sexual abuse in order to protect their ecclesiastical fraternity, to see a prince of the church defending the underdogs of the world.

(MORE: Habemus Papam—Francis, the Western Hemisphere’s first pontiff.)

And yet, in 2010, we found out that Bergoglio’s attitude toward other underdogs can be remarkably cruel. When Argentina legalized gay marriage that summer, the objection of the Catholic hierarchy, which considers homosexuality a sin, wasn’t surprising. But it wasn’t enough for Bergoglio to criticize the law; he felt compelled to demonize homosexuals in the process—calling gay unions “a scheme to destroy God’s plan” and “a dire anthropological throwback.” In that sense he was just echoing the homophobia of his boss, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who in 2008 had asserted that saving humanity from homosexuals was as urgent as saving the rain forests from lumberjacks. But there was something especially hateful, something that moved beyond doctrinal defense into bald bigotry, about the way Bergoglio lashed out.

(PHOTOS: Catholics in Latin America Rejoice)

Which is why Bergoglio’s election on Wednesday, March 13, as the new Pope—Francis—isn’t quite the progressive gesture the conclave of cardinals wants the world to think it is. More than half a millennium after the Iberian conquest of the New World, it’s certainly time we finally had a pontiff from Latin America, where 42% of the world’s Catholics live. But if the majority conservative cardinals believe that crowning the first non-European pope in more than a millennium  in and of itself signals real reform—and if they hope that Bergoglio’s ascent will help stanch the massive exodus of Latin Americans from Catholicism to Protestant denominations—they may be blowing more smoke than the Sistine Chapel’s chimney did.

(PHOTOS: The Rise of Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio)

As a Catholic, let me first follow my religion’s tenets before those of my profession and indulge in some fides, spes et caritas (faith, hope and charity). I want to give Francis, even if he is 76 and set in his dogma, the benefit of the doubt. (This despite questions about whether, when he was leader of Argentina’s Jesuit priests in the 1970s, he ever denounced the sadistic right-wing military junta of that era, which tortured and killed some 30,000 suspected leftists.) I want to believe that his history as an advocate for the poor will bring him to see that today’s church is spending an inordinate amount of time, energy and ultimately moral credibility persecuting homosexuals, feminists and other “heretics” while it’s de-prioritizing, at least in the public’s eye, its core Christian (and human) mission of compassion and redemption.

(MORE: What Pope Francis may mean for Latin America.)

What I and millions of other Catholics hope most is that Francis, once he’s set up on the Tiber instead of the Rio de la Plata, will transcend the Latin American church that formed him. During the Cold War, papal predecessors like John Paul II were spooked by clerical movements in Latin America such as liberation theology, which prodded the church toward a “preferential option for the poor” but often naively embraced Marxism. But the truth is that the Latin American church is one of the world’s most reactionary. Its anti-gay crusade (Argentina’s gay marriage law is a decided exception in the region) in fact feels mild compared to its rigidity on women’s issues. Thanks to the Catholic hierarchy’s hardline political power, no region has as many countries (five) that ban abortion in all cases, even rape, incest and when the mother’s life is at risk. At the same time, few regions have such draconian restrictions on access to birth control.

Little wonder, then, that few regions also see as many unsafe clandestine abortions: more than 4 million a year, according to the New York-based Guttmacher Institute—a quarter of which result in hospitalizations or death from complications. According to Human Rights Watch, 40% of all pregnancies in Argentina end in illegal abortions. Some Latin American countries, especially in Central America, suffer maternal mortality rates 20 times higher than Western Europe’s.

(MORE: A rogue’s gallery of notorious Cardinals.)

That medieval situation has helped drive millions of Latin Americans from the church in recent decades. Even in the 1990s, at the height of John Paul II’s global and particularly Latin American popularity—he visited the region more than any other pope—more than 8,000 baptized Catholics were bolting the faith every day. In 1996, the region was still more than 80% Catholic, but today it’s less than 70%, while the Protestant share has risen to 13% from 4%, according to the Chile-based firm Latinobarómetro. Brazil still holds the world’s largest Catholic population, but the church’s share of the whole there has plunged from almost 100% in the last century to just 63%.

Much of that has to do with the fact that Protestant churches in Latin America, especially Evangelical communities, tend to be more attentive than Catholic parishes are to improving their flocks’ earthly situations as well as their heavenly prospects—the efforts of clerics like Francis notwithstanding. That should be a reminder to the new pope that if the Holy See he now occupies wants to re-evangelize its own worldwide flock, it needs to renew its Christian role and leave behind its cruel rhetoric.

(PHOTOS: Pope and Circumstance: the Road to the Papacy)

271 comments
dan.r
dan.r like.author.displayName 1 Like

This is clear anti-catholicism, I forgive your antagonistic tone toward us and I hope you may forgive the spot of anger I felt reading it. I hope you may one day attempt to discover what the church's true views (such as asking a priest or reading some catholic literature), it might aid this problem you seem to have with my church. I will pray for you conversion.

Piacevole
Piacevole

@dan.r "The Catholic (institutional) true views" were displayed when it repeatedly enabled child-abusing priests, shuffling them around, foisting them on on unsuspecting parishes, attempting to persuade victims and their parents to keep silence, failing to report them to civil authorities, and so forth.  The pedophilia mess has been going on for centuries, and has not been brought to a halt yet.

All of this has been more than adequately documented, and points out the main underlying idea of the Catholic Church: that it must continue, regardless of the cost to others it exacts on its way.  The only appropriate response to all this is anger and profound distaste.  One might as well query a fox about why he frequents henhouses as seek "enlightenment" from this source.


pachelbels
pachelbels

What else could anyone expect?  115  mostly old, mostly white, mostly elevated to their high status (hah!) in the church by the last two popes who, like American Presidents stacking the Supreme Court, named  those to be cardinals who think as they (the popes) do and support the pope's agenda - that these 115 pick from among themselves the next pope. Why anyone would NOT expect more of the same is beyond me.   You want to kill a weed or a growth?  Chop off the head.  This corrupt church perpetuates all that is wrong by its method of choosing a new head (pope).

Piacevole
Piacevole

@pachelbels It's a religion.  It has the "right" to operate itself as it will.  So long as the adherents ratify its operation, it can continue.  The real question is how long will people continue to ratify this method?

FedjkCabce
FedjkCabce like.author.displayName 1 Like

Pope Francis: 

The People's Pope

The Humble's  Pope

The Poor's Pope

God Bless Papa Francisco y lo colme de mucha salud, energia and bendiciones por el bien de nuestra humanicad. Amen

GeraldBuss
GeraldBuss

What the secularist sees and someone like the new Pope, two entirely different worlds; your values, your hopes and dreams, or lack of them, are of a different order, and always will be, incompatible. The letter of James closes the first chapter, "true and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to visit widows and orphans in their affliction, and to keep oneself unsoiled by the world.  It is the latter secularists will never get,  for their whole being is invested here, in the world of change and relativity.

Piacevole
Piacevole

@GeraldBuss Being invested here, I am actually likely to enjoy continued interest.

 Being invested in the hereafter means you  may never get any return on your investment at all.  There are no dispatches from the undiscovered country.


GerardoGMedina
GerardoGMedina like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

What a biased article. The Truth is the Truth, it is always hard to transmit, to come to terms, to defend, to honor, to come to grips, to follow. Pope Francis will walk a rocky road, a Via Crucis, but he will not feign, or negotiate, because it is not his truth it is the Church's Truth, it is Jesus' Truth, and we will follow!

Piacevole
Piacevole

@GerardoGMedina The truth is not at all hard to transmit, so long as it is demonstrable.  When a position cannot be demonstrated, when it is subject to "interpretation" is when things become troublesome.  If any religion could actually demonstrate the validity of its positions, a lot of discussion would simply cease.  The problem is having many religions disputing, and none susceptible to proof.

dan.r
dan.r

@Piacevole @GerardoGMedina herein lies the problem. Have you actually searched these disputing religions to see if turth exists? is you have then you clear need to do more reading and listening. I'll pray for you conversion

Piacevole
Piacevole

@dan.r @Piacevole @GerardoGMedina Where "truth exists," it is not necessary to have a religion to discover it.  It manifests itself.

For example, consider gravity.  There are not several disputing philosophies about its existence, or about coming to terms with it.  We all know about it, its influence, and we operate accordingly.  There has never been an Inquisition in which the orthodox on the subject of gravity took to task those who were not persuaded of its reality.  It's only in situations in which there is doubt, much room for dispute, that people find argument.




thewholetruth
thewholetruth

Those seeking God please cry out to him from you own heart and ask forgiveness of your sin to God alone, forget going through these large organizations . Get a Bible and start reading it on your own, the Spirit will guide you. 

dan.r
dan.r

@thewholetruth what if one doesn't understand what's in the bible? Where does it come from? what was it written for? Why is it trustworthy?  I'm certian you have answers, Where are your answers coming from? they must come from a higher authority, so who is your "large organisation"? where you do dirive this information from?

jefforsythe9
jefforsythe9

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JustinDalbins
JustinDalbins

How can anyone believe in a Church that now currently has a man who never questioned human rights abuses in his own country and was voted in by a Conclave which has known protectors of child sex abusers amongst it's members (Goerge Pell from Australia, the retired cardinal from LA which has just had to fork out another 10 million over their cover ups, the others who have still slipped under the radar and they also nearly had the head of the Scottish Catholic church there to vote also, but he had to resign for sexual advances on members of his fellow priesthood!) 

If I were a Catholic, the first thing I'd expect this man to do to show that he displays some sort of faith in God is he, 1; Accepts he never said Jack about the military junta that ran his country while he was a man of the cloth, 2; Excommunicate every member of the church that has had anything to do with either the sexual abuse or the subsequent covering up of such actions. And, 3: open up the Vatican financial books to Italian authorities to prove they weren't actually laundering money for the Mafia.

Till then they have zero right to tell anyone, even of their own faith how to live their lives when they are bathed in such corruption.

FedjkCabce
FedjkCabce

No matter why do you or what you don't do, the far left or those that just have  nothing positive to contribute to Humanity and this broken world will alway find something negative to hang to.    

kbg88
kbg88 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Being a recovered Catholic raised by a fanatical Catholic alcoholic mother, there is little hope for the Catholic Church to be led into "real" change.  The Catholic Church is a business.  It ranks richer than many large corporations.  That will be the focus, following the money.  I was raised in the day where girls/women couldn't touch the host. Now they can but they can't become priests.  The church is obviously a patriarchal entity.  The lack of tolerance for homosexuals is typical and I pray that all homosexuals and bisexuals just ignore the ignorance and bigotry fostered by the Catholic Church and its label of "sin".  That is how the church controls...through deeming something as a "sin" with damnation as the result.  Fear, fear, fear.  What if there was no heaven?  What if all of it was this life.

The Catholic Church has made "God" into the image and likenss of man rather than a divine entity beyond man's understanding.  The Pope is "infallible".  Geesh.  Another way to "control".The only thing I like about this Pope is his chosen name. He's 76 and that is old to be running such a business.  He's set in his ways.  Same old same old.

dan.r
dan.r

@kbg88 Don't know where you get "the church is rich" from, can you prove that? Do you know of the great female reformers of the church? Mary? You call the church ignorant and bigotry, can you please refer me to the place where you dirive such ideas in humane vitae? I don't see fear in the millions of martyers who have dies for their catholic faith for human rights and dignity, for freedom? do you know what the doctrine of infallibility means? aren't Catholic's free to leave the Church? since when has being old been a hindance to wisdom? 

FedjkCabce
FedjkCabce

We humans and wicked world can not define God Laws, we need to learn to love one another, but we need to live within the boundaries of Gods law.  We do not tell God what he needs to accept or obey by, God is the one that tell us what we need to obey and follow, which is the Law of God.  This world just wants to live live as they please without any limits....

arvay
arvay like.author.displayName 1 Like

The problem is not this pope or that pope -- the problem is the Catholic Church, which is what it its out of its DNA.

It's a profoundly anti-democratic (error has no rights) force that always allies its itself with reactionary political forces. This guy's "opposition" to the Argentinian fascists will be hollow and full of lies, his basic philosophy will remain profoundly anti-humanist, authoritarian and backward. Oppose birth control, abortion, women's rights, gay rights, real social equality.  

This is an enemy of the people, an enemy of humanity. 

Ye who desire progress, abandon all hope if ye enter here.

dan.r
dan.r

@kbg88   Didn't you just say the you hated the catholic church for "control, control, control"? Why do you support birth control?

Piacevole
Piacevole like.author.displayName 1 Like

@arvay Look at it this way: organisms that do not or cannot change with their environment simply die out.  


WillTech
WillTech like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@Piacevole @arvay 

Just a note - if your statement were true, then the Church would have 'died' out long ago. As it is it has been around for 2,000 years+, longer than most counties that we now know, and even democracy itself.  The church is not an organism - it is a 'spiritual' entity with a physical outer expression. 

WillTech
WillTech like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Piacevole @WillTech @arvay

Thanks for your considered reply. I don't actually agree with the way you are positing your arguments and I suspect that you don't likewise with mine. 

Technology is a wonderful thing, and certainly an 'aid' to humanity, but it doesn't replace human/moral decision making. It might help 'speed' the process up to some extent, but we are still as human as we ever were. That doesn't change, so in my opinion anyway, although attractive, it is not the appropriate metaphor to be using here.

There are good actions and bad actions. Relativism has interchanged these. So, if taking a human life was at one point wrong, then under relativism it becomes a 'right' or something to be 'negotiated'! 

Example, the UK's Staffordshire hospital, where 1,400 people died needlessly (& 14 other hops. under investigation). Why? Little respect for life. The vulnerable have become more so under relativism - whether coming into the world or leaving it. That is not 'progress'.   

For believers Christ's teachings don't change and yet non-believers expect the church to change them - to go with whatever is the 'thinking' of the moment? Moments change, ideas & ideologies change, but Christ's teaching does not. If they did, then it would mean that Christ 'got it wrong' - made a mistake, and therefore would not be God. Neither does the church have the authority to change it. No one ever said being a christian was easy. So, even if the world says black is white, it doesn't make it so. 

We could probably go on arguing all day, but I guess we will both have to agree to differ. Have a good day!

Piacevole
Piacevole

@WillTech @Piacevole @arvay It would not necessarily have died out. . . one of the things which is happening is the rate of change: it's accelerating.  For the huge majority of those 2,000 years, things were changing very slowly, and sometimes were effectively static for centuries at a time.  Now, the rate of change has sped up so much that a decade can make a tremendous change in our technology, and our way of evaluating situations.

Think about the computer: fifty years ago, it was a huge, clumky, hard-to-operate, very limited device only used by specialists.  Now it's a small laptop, portable, can be operated by anyone.  The internet has transformed from a limited academic use to a readily searchable repository of information accessed by anyone with a computer.  Communication has morphed into cell phones usable nearly anyplace  We have satellites for communications and weather observation..

Just a few years ago, the question of same-sex marriage was pretty much a non-starter.  Now, it's tipped over to the majority approval.  Long ago, we stopped concerning ourselves with whether a person favored the use of right or left hand: it had been a reall issue at one time, and it has become a non-issue.  Other issues of social behavior have also been considered, and choices made.  Every year, we learn more about the problems which have plagued humanity for centuries:  polio is just about eradicated.  Tuberculosis has become rare in developed countries.  Smallpox is effectively gone.

 The question of whether people will use contraception has been effectively settled: if they can get it, the majority will use it.  It's a done deal.  People have also decided about democracy.  There are some dictatorships left, but functioning monarchies?  Once this was the norm, but no longer.  There are very few.

The dogs bark, but the caravan travels on.  The rate of change will leave a "changeless" entity behind.



suzyroger7
suzyroger7 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

Why would Time print a guy like this?  

The article was a laundry list of tired left wing complaints that had little to do with Pope Fracis and more to do with Padgett's irrational and bigoted hatred for the Catholic church.

 Happily for Padgett and us the solution to his problem is simple: leave the church.

The church will be around forever, Padgett won't, so I hope he makes the correct choice.


andreville
andreville like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

What a dreadful article.  Pope Francis inspires plenty of hope.  We can certainly hope that he will continue to uphold the Gospel of Christ and invite all people to renounce sin and embrace salvation.  Mr. Padgett, on the contrary, prefers to endorse the sin (and thereby lead people to hell).  He apparently would like the pope and the Church to bow to the secularist spirit of the age with all of its immoral and sinful practices.  Should the Church now begin to call sinful acts "good"?  Fortunately, that's not going to happen.  That gay unions are “a scheme to destroy God’s plan” goes without saying.  Any child with a basic knowledge of human anatomy can figure out that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.   Thank God for the Church that always tirelessly calls us to repentance,  conversion, and to Christ, for these are the only way to eternal life.

bpshand
bpshand like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

So, you believe in a god that condemns his children to eternal damnation based on what they believe? Where credulity is greatest and thought is the least is the path to immortality. If I had to spend eternity with brainless creatures like you I'd be in hell.

andreville
andreville like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@bpshand No, as I said, he invites every one of us to repentance from sin and to conversion.  All are invited.  Speaking of the faith of the Church as "credulity" and "thoughtlessness" only demonstrates your own ignorance of the very rich 2,000 year-old Catholic intellectual tradition.  You can worship the spirit of the age and its gurus from Time and CNN if you like, but they will not lead you to peace and eternal life.

bpshand
bpshand

@Woodywoodpecker Everyone is entitled to my opinion.

bpshand
bpshand like.author.displayName 1 Like

Actually many biblical scholars consider that line in Mark 16 a likely later edition. Since John is the only one who clearly mentions belief as necessary to salvation and the John gospel was written much later than the other 3 it is considered an interpolation.

WoodyPfister
WoodyPfister

Dude, no one cares about your theology or philosophy.

Harvard_2012
Harvard_2012

@bpshand Actually, Mark 16 explicitly says that. But then again, you're the self-crowned Bible scholar. 

bpshand
bpshand

What if you don't believe? Are you saying you aren't damned if you don't believe or accept the invite?

bpshand
bpshand like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Dude, I did my time as a Catholic so don't tell me I'm ignorant of the traditions. You are a credulous believer and you think you know about eternal life. You think the church fathers know something about other worlds or a future life? They barely know anything about this one.

You said "these are the only way to eternal life". Even the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke don't claim that. Who's ignorant? I stand by my original post.


Amskeptic
Amskeptic like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

You know, Tim, your general pessimism and downer vibe is showing. Pope Francis hasn't even put down his bag, and HERE you ARE, whaaa whaaaaa whaaaaaa. You have no IDEA what Pope Francis is going to grow into the job as he reaffirms his Catholicism.

Colin

Piacevole
Piacevole

@Amskeptic But we ARE pretty sure that he will "reaffirm his Catholicism."  In other words, nothing changes.

theisenhomes
theisenhomes like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

It is interesting about the "fad" of homosexuality. It has come can gone: Sodom, Lesbos, Sparta, ancient Rome. The fad will fade and return; it will sometimes can legal status, the act will always be intrinsically disordered. (CCC, 2357)

Piacevole
Piacevole

@theisenhomes There have always been people who were left-handed, and it was, for quite a long time, considered to be unacceptable.  I knew children whose teachers went to a great effort to "convert" them.  It didn't work.

 There have always been people who were homosexual.  It has been, for quite a long time, considered to be unacceptable.  What we are seeing now is a greater sense of inclusivity toward both.  The longer our species lives, the more it learns abut our true nature.

ebs
ebs like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

The Wall Street Journal presented a much better reporting of our new Pope Francis:

What a WONDERFUL surprise

Wall Street Journal blog - Declarations

March 15, 2013
By Peggy Noonan

I'll tell you how it looks: like one big unexpected gift for the church and the world.
Everything about Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio's election was a surprise-his age, the name he took, his mien as he was presented to the world. He was plainly dressed, a simple white cassock, no regalia, no finery. He stood there on the balcony like a straight soft pillar and looked out at the crowd. There were no grand gestures, not even, at first, a smile. He looked tentative, even overwhelmed. I thought, as I watched, "My God-he's shy."

Then the telling moment about the prayer. Before he gave a blessing he asked for a blessing: He asked the crowd to pray for him. He bent his head down and the raucous, cheering square suddenly became silent, as everyone prayed. I thought, "My God-he's humble."
I wasn't sure what to make of it and said so to a friend, a member of another faith who wants the best for the church because to him that's like wanting the best for the world. He was already loving what he was seeing. He asked what was giving me pause. I said I don't know, the curia is full of tough fellows, the pope has to be strong.
"That is more than strength," he said of the man on the screen. "This is not cynical humanity. This is showing there is another way to be."
Yes. This is a kind of public leadership we are no longer used to-unassuming, self-effacing. Leaders of the world now are garish and brazen. You can think of half a dozen of their names in less than a minute. They're good at showbiz, they find the light and flash the smile.
But this man wasn't trying to act like anything else.
"He looks like he didn't want to be pope," my friend said. That's exactly what he looked like. He looked like Alec Guinness in the role of a quiet, humble man who late in life becomes pope. I mentioned that to another friend who said, "That would be the story of a hero."
And so, as they're saying in
Europe, Francis the Humble. May he be a living antidote.
***
He is orthodox, traditional, his understanding of the faith in line with the teaching of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. He believes in, stands for, speaks for the culture of life.
He loves the poor and not in an abstract way. He gave the cardinal's palace in
Buenos Aires to a missionary order with no money. He lives in an apartment, cooks his food, rides the bus. He rejects pomposity. He does not feel superior. He is a fellow soul. He had booked a flight back to Argentina when the conclave ended.
But these two traits-his embrace of the church's doctrines and his characterological tenderness toward the poor-are very powerful together, and can create a powerful fusion. He could bridge the gap or close some of the distance between social justice Catholics and traditional, doctrinal Catholics. That would be a relief.
And he has suffered. Somehow you knew this as you looked at him Wednesday night. Much on this subject will come out.
The meaning of the name he chose should not be underestimated. Cardinal Bergoglio is a Jesuit and the Jesuits were founded by St. Ignatius Loyola, who said he wanted to be like St. Francis of
Assisi.
One of the most famous moments in St. Francis's life is the day he was passing by the
church of St. Damiano. It was old and near collapse. From St. Bonaventure's "Life of Francis of Assisi": "Inspired by the Spirit, he went inside to pray. Kneeling before an image of the Crucified, he was filled with great fervor and consolation. . . . While his tear-filled eyes were gazing at the Lord's cross, he heard with his bodily ears a voice coming from the cross, telling him three times: 'Francis, go and repair my house which, as you see, is falling into ruin.'" Francis was amazed "at the sound of this astonishing voice, since he was alone in the church." He set himself to obeying the command.
Go and repair my house, which is falling into ruin. Could the new pope's intentions be any clearer?
The Catholic Church in 2013 is falling into ruin. The church has been damaged by scandal and the scandals arose from arrogance, conceit, clubbiness and an assumption that the special can act in particular ways, that they may make mistakes but it's understandable, and if it causes problems the church will take care of it.
Pope Francis already seems, in small ways rich in symbolism, to be moving the
Vatican away from arrogance. His actions in just his first 24 hours are suggestive.
He picks up his own luggage, pays his own hotel bill, shuns security, refuses a limousine, gets on a minibus with the cardinals. That doesn't sound like a prince, or a pope. He goes to visit a church in a modest car in rush-hour traffic. He pointedly refuses to sit on a throne after his election, it is reported, and meets his fellow cardinals standing, on equal footing. The night he was elected, according to
New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Vatican officials and staffers came forward to meet the new pope. He politely put them off: Not now, the people are waiting. Then he went to the balcony.
The church's grandeur is beautiful, but Francis seems to be saying he himself won't be grand. This will mean something in that old
Vatican. It will mean something to the curia.
***
After the conclave, I'm grateful for two other things. First, after all the strains and scandals they still came running. A pope was being picked. The smoke came out and the crowd was there in
St Peter's Square. They stood in the darkness, cold and damp, and they waited and cheered and the square filled up. As the cameras panned the crowd there was joy on their faces, and the joy felt like renewal.
People come for many reasons. To show love and loyalty, to be part of something, to see history. But maybe we don't fully know why they run, or why we turn when the first reports come of white smoke, and put on the TV or the computer. Maybe it comes down to this: "We want God." Which is what millions of people shouted when John Paul II first went home to
Poland. This is something in the human heart, and no strains or scandals will prevail against it.
I viewed it all initially with hope, doubt and detachment. And then the white smoke, and the bells, and the people came running, and once again as many times before my eyes filled with tears, and my throat tightened. That in the end is how so many Catholics, whatever their level of engagement with the church, feel. "I was more loyal than I meant to be."
Much will unfold now, much will be seen. An ardent, loving 75-year-old cardinal in the middle of an acute church crisis is not going to sit around and do nothing. He's going to move. "Go and repair my house, which you see is falling into ruin."

Chaosfeminist
Chaosfeminist

@ebsHe is humble because he is not the "Pope.." Der Führer Ratzinger is still alive and resides in the Vatican

This has been a dog & pony show to divert attention from the fact that the Church has been systematically covering up sexual abuse of laity for years. Homosexual abuse. From the people against gay marriage. The sweet irony. We all know who the real Father of Lies is, "Pope" Bergoglio.


LuisRamónZerpa
LuisRamónZerpa like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Being "Progressive" does not equate supporting Gay Marriage. Pope Francis has a clear stand on that issue, and should be respected. The new Pope does have writings that give us light as to where he may be headed. He will do more for the poor and fight social injustice. He will clean the Roman Curia by renovating its members with people he trusts. He will fight corruption, pederasts, and make the Church more serviceable. He will adapt it to the new times, and seek to reach out to those in need more than ever. 

I´m would be happy if he accomplishes this during what he has left to live. 

WoodyPfister
WoodyPfister like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

The Episcopsl Chuch is awaiting the author of this column with open arms. Adios

Sticky_Wicky
Sticky_Wicky

What was the real reason behind Pope Benedict's retirement? Was it the homosexual allegations in the Vatican, blackmail or old age? Smells like cover-up! Get the full scoop from the opinionated Sticky & Wicky in their politically-charged comic Voices in the Dark at http://theunisourcegroup.com/voices-in-the-dark

dan.r
dan.r

@Sticky_Wicky maybe he was very old, ill and thought the world, now, needs a strong Pope. One who will live like a true christian and inspire in the year of faith.

not everything is a conspiracy!!

LuisRamónZerpa
LuisRamónZerpa

@Sticky_Wicky Don´t expect anyone other than a few cardinals and the current Pope to know. Pope Francis is just finding out what the details were:

The newspaper said the findings of the nine-month investigation, headed by Spanish cardinal, Julian Herranz , with the assistance of Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, former archbishop of Palermo, and Slovak cardinal Jozef Tomko, was delivered to the pope on Dec. 17, 2012.

"It was on that day, with those papers on his desk, that Benedict XVI took the decision he had mulled over for so long,'' the newspaper said.


http://www.freep.com/article/20130222/NEWS05/130222103/Pope-Benedict-XVI-resignation-Vatican-gay-sex-scandal


Piacevole
Piacevole

@Sticky_Wicky It's hard to tell what the reason was.  It's not like, say, the resignation of Richard Nixon, in which at least some of the reasons were known, although the whole story probably has not come out yet.