What a week it has been! It might only be time for Spring Training, but it is clear that the Holy Spirit’s curveball is in mid-season form. I think it is safe to say that no one saw the election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio as Pope Francis coming. Despite being the rumored “runner-up” in 2005, Bergoglio was a relative unknown to most, especially in the English speaking world. Even top Vatican insider John Allen, Jr., who some are saying predicted this, admits that all he had done was profile the Cardinal along with 21 others.
There were so many articles covering the news this week that it was nearly impossible to decide which ones to clip, but here are a few links for your weekend enjoyment.
In case you missed the whole thing, here is the video from the Vatican’s YouTube page.
So, now we start to get to know this humble and soft-spoken man who will lead the Catholic Church into this next stage of Her history. It’s already clear that in a world that likes to use political measurements, Pope Francis is pretty hard to categorize as John Haldane explains for First Things.
[Pope Francis] is an interesting figure and hard to place within the favored framework of “conservatives versus liberals.” That is in any case an ill-conceived opposition since it imports political or cultural categories into a religious context where they really do not fit. It also is especially ill-suited to Bergoglio, for seen from one perspective he appears to conform to the “progressive” profile, being a strong advocate of economic justice and compassion for the poor; but viewed from another he appears a stout defender of traditional Catholic teachings on sexual ethics and beginning- and end-of-life issues, opposing same-sex marriage and adoption, and abortion and euthanasia.
Even if you have seen or heard them over and over, the references to his humility bear repeating. Kathy Schiffer looks at how this humble, bus-riding archbishop slipped under our radars, perhaps as he has always intended on doing.
…from the moment he asked for our prayer before he blessed us, then bowed to accept our tender offerings, I loved him. As I’ve read more and heard more today, I feel more and more at home in the quiet presence of this humble servant of God.
As Rocco Palmo explains, if the first 24 hours are an indication, Pope Francis’s pontificate might look a lot different than those of his predecessors.
Even before Election Night ended, the stories of a starkly different style for the 266th pontiff started streaming out: Papa Bergoglio’s decision in the Sistine Chapel to shirk the elevated papal throne and stand at ground level to receive the traditional “obedience” of the cardinals, then ditch the Pope’s motorcade and ride back to the Domus as he came – with the cardinals on the bus…
One of the first things Pope Francis did on the day after his election was visit the Major Basilica of St. Mary in Rome, but why? Fr. Dwight Longenecker explains a possible reason.
The very first thing Francis does is go to St Mary Major to pray at the tomb of Pius V.
So who was Pope St Pius V? He was a reforming pope who reigned from 1566- 1572. He cleaned up the curia, excommunicated heretical bishops, cleaned up the immorality in the church and swept the church clean– paving the way for the great surge in the church we call the Counter Reformation. He also excommunicated the tyrant Elizabeth I of England and formed the Holy League–a confederation of Catholic armies which eventually defeated the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto. Pius V also instituted the Feast of Our Lady of Victories (nor the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary).
Finally, if you like The Onion, you will like this report, or at least I did.