As you all have no doubt heard via the mainline news stations, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina was elected as the 266th pope. His election to the office marks a HUGE shift in the Roman Catholic Church as he is the first pope from the New World. He is also the first Jesuit to be chosen as the pope in the 472 years of the Society of Jesus.
The great thing about Pope Francis is that he is a very humble man who chose to walk the streets of Buenos Aires and not to live in the fancy Archbishop residence therein. This choice to live humbly as already caused some difficulties with the Vatican security forces as they are used to popes riding in their bullet proof cars…
Pope Francis also decided to change the customary plans of the Vatican for the beginning of Easter. Instead of washing the feet of twelve retired priests in St John Lateran, Pope Francis has moved the mass to a juvenile prison in Rome where he will wash the feet of twelve inmates – included a few ladies, which is a statement in and of itself.
I don’t know what is store for the Roman Catholic community across the world – but so far I like this guy. He seems to walking the walk, loving the less-than and side-stepping the trappings of wealth and power.
Oh, one last comment before I end this post – the name of “Pope Francis”. Ever since Pope Lando’s reign in 913 AD, the serving pope has always chosen a name used by one of his predecessors. Instead of following this tradition, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose the name “Pope Francis” in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi who is known for his love of the poor and animals.
The name “Pope Francis” also carries with it undertones of one of the founders of the Jesuit society, Saint Francis Xavier. Saint Xavier was a missionary who spread the love of Jesus into India, Japan, Borneo and Moluccas during the 1500’s. He is famous for using the local languages and dressing according to the culture around him rather than trying to hold onto European customs.