HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM
— Pontifex (@Pontifex) March 13, 2013
Amongst the first words the world heard from the mouth of our new Pope were these: “Now I want to give a blessing. But I ask favor. Please ask God to bless me.” And with that Pope Francis bowed before the people of God.
Personally, I could not have asked for a moment more full of the humble presence of the Holy Spirit.
He is the first Jesuit to be named Pope in the history of the Society of Jesus (which makes us 1 for 266 in Papal elections…), and he’s also the first South American to lead the Church.
But what more do we know of him? The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is a 76 year old Argentinian Jesuit. He has served as provincial, i.e., head of the Society of Jesus, in Argentina, and is renowned for his personal simplicity (taking public transit, cooking for himself, living in a simple apartment) – indeed his episcopal motto has been “miserando atque eligendo”, which translates as “lowly, and yet chosen” (source: @prayingtheMass). Even more, Rocco Palmo has tweeted the following, thoroughly edifying, fact:
On his elevation as card. in 2001, new Pope Francis urged Argentinians not to come, but donate the money they’d spend to the poor.
— Rocco Palmo (@roccopalmo) March 13, 2013
John Allen, in his profile of the former Cardinal Bergoglio in the National Catholic Reporter, described him as “someone who personally straddles the divide between the Jesuits and the ciellini, and more broadly, between liberals and conservatives in the church,” and that Bergoglio “has supported the social justice ethos of Latin American Catholicism, including a robust defense of the poor.” At the same time “he has generally tended to accent growth in personal holiness over efforts for structural reform.”
In that same NCR piece, John Allen quotes a 2007 statement by our new Pope himself:
“We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least… The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.”
Perhaps we ought to be a bit wary of our rush to use the facts of this man’s life to predict his future choices. We know some things, we do not know others.
One of the things that remains uncertain is how God will act through Pope Francis.
One of the things that is clear is that Pope Francis is a humble man, a man of prayer. After bowing before the people of God, asking us for our blessing, he led us in prayers we all know – the Our Father, the Hail Mary.
In addition to the coverage here at The Jesuit Post, more information on Pope Francis can be found at:
- Matt Malone, editor of America magazine, gives a video report from Rome
- First Things will be updating regularly
- The Tablet has the entire text of Pope Francis’ first address
- National Catholic Reporter’s coverage
- Washington Post piece “New pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, rode the bus because he gave up his limo”
- Rocco Palmo’s blog, “Whispers in the Loggia” will no doubt continue to have excellent information.
- Forbes opines “If you have a tough job to do, hire a Jesuit.“
- The New York Times’ piece can be found here
- The Pew Research Center has put together an infographic on Pope Francis and the Church in Latin America.