January 26, 2021

Pope Francis…and your thoughts

Habemus Papem

Habemus Papam Franciscum


We’re open blogging today on the subject of the new Pope. We invite you to share your thoughts, opinions, hopes, prayers, and concerns.

Here are a few links for further reading:

Vatican Website

Catholic News Service

BBC News Coverage

Christianity Today


  1. My initial reaction is that, while I don’t yet know a lot about him, I was deeply moved by his first public appearance as Pope… Bowing and asking for the crowd’s blessing was a gesture that I think we are all hoping is a sign of things to come from this Fisherman…

  2. A JPII appointment. Hope that means something.

    • Donalbain says

      Yes, it does. It means he is a reactionary bigot, who supported and colluded with a right wing military junta. Meet the new boss…

      • *sigh*

        Loathe Catholics in general, or are you merely under-informed about this Pontiff? This is a bit like saying John Paul II was a Nazi~~a GROSS mischaracterization.

        And this Pope struggled AGAINST liberation theology during the Junta, if you care to read a bit more.


        • Hi, Pattie, just to clear it up a bit, Liberation Theology usually aligns with the left and often appears Marxist, so a right-wing junta would also try to stamp it out. See comments by Martha and HUG, below.

          Not trying to agree with Donalbain, however, and I’m already bored and tired about some of the stuff showing up on facebook. It wouldn’t matter whom they chose, the attacks would be there.

          I’m very hopeful about Francis and excited about a South American pope. I’ve been praying for a renewal within the Catholic Church in Latin America, which is still around 85 to 90% Catholic. The evangelical effort that began around 1960 may have plateaued, and Francis could be a very good influence.

          • Yes, Ted, I understand the political situation—I was in a Catholic college at the time that was very feminist and socialist under the skin. I still believe that the new Prelate is being targeted by those who prefer to see him as the enemy of the people instead of a defender of faith. I cannot question his integrity.

            Having said that, I think that he will re-engerize the Latin American Catholics and the Church in general.

      • Ah, here we go! Donalbain, I presume you are talking about the two Jesuits who were kidnapped by the Argentinian Navy? Later, one of them accused Cardinal Bergoglio of not protecting them by refusing to say he approved of their work? And later again, this was spun into a book by an Argentinian journalist saying that he basically told the military to pick these guys up?

        And the accusation that he colluded with the junta by permitting them to hide political prisoners on his summer house versus him saying that he let people hide out there from the authorities? Well, it can be interpreted either way, unless someone who was wanted by the military speaks out and tells us what really happened.

        What it comes down to is his disassociation from Liberation Theology as it developed, from being the “preferential option for the poor” to being a version of “Christianity and —” (as C.S. Lewis describes using religion as a pretext to boost your pet cause).

        In this case, Christianity and Marxism. And please note, I’m not American, so I don’t immediately call anything that might be socialist or even opposed to capitalism “Communism” and also please note that there genuinely is in South America movements dedicated to Marxist principles. Moving from justice on earth as part of the Kingdom of God to advocating revolution and political action as the only and sole means of bringing about the Kingdom, which is viewed as depending upon human action on earth and to be achievable only on earth, and to regarding sin as a system of oppression by a privileged class (rather than the responsibility of each individual, regardless of whether they’re rich, poor, the rulers, the ruled, etc.) is moving away from the Gospel and into ‘religion as social work, and let’s drop the religion part while we’re at it’.

        The Shining Path organisation in Peru (which is where the originator of Liberation Theology comes from , Fr.Gustavo Gutiérrez) shows that there is a genuine Marxist movement out there, not simply the bogeyman of repressive regimes looking for U.S.A. aid to prop up their dictatorships.

        I’m also not happy with Margaret Thatcher’s protection of General Pinochet, or the School of the Americas.

        To wind up this screed, it may amuse you to know, Donalbain, that as you are unhappy that a conservative running-dog ally of reactionary repression has been elected pope, so there are others equally unhappy that a liberal deconstructivist of theology and practice who will undo all the reforms of the liturgy under Benedict and who has already shown his contempt for orthodoxy by “having to be lassoed with the stole by Msgr. Marini” and “couldn’t wait to shrug off the stole after the blessing” has been elected.

        I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle.


        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          I can confirm from Martha that Liberation Theology (and Social Justice Movement) in the Eighties were Marxism-Leninism with Rosaries. I was involved with the local Newman Center when it was the fad (before JP2 shut it down HARD). Fidel Castro was a Saint when he wasn’t part of the New Trinity along with Marx & Lenin. All who disagreed (like the one Cuban refugee in the group) were denounced as Capitalist Oppressors (primarily by Yuppie Puppies from gated exclusive communities in Irvine, carrying on the 200-year-old tradition of British Jacobins) or patted-on-the-head with a condescending “Poor dear, she doesn’t UNDERSTAND…”

          • As an aside, our national television and radio broadcaster, RTÉ, had a soap opera named “Glenroe” and when they decided to axe it during the late 90s, one of the characters (the posh Anglo-Irish landowner) was killed off by going out to the Peruvian jungle to observe condors, where he was kidnapped and then executed by Shining Path guerrillas.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            If I remember right, Shining Path invented the “Child Suicide Bomber”, with said child-bomb not knowing what was in the backpack until it was remotely detonated, justified by “Fifty Billion Years of Matter In Motion Leading Inexorably to the Society of Perfect Harmony.”

        • That Other Jean says

          Thank you, Martha, for that cogent analysis of the major rumors swirling around Pope Francis in the US media. I would greatly prefer a “liberal deconstructivist of theology and practice” to a “conservative running-dog ally of reactionary repression,” but it will be interesting to see what the new Pope actually does while in office.

          • As a side note, Argentina allows any and all sorts of spurious and even outright false accustions into the legal system, with the thought that the lawyers, courts, and juries can sort them ALL out.

            But so many people seem amazed that the new Pope supports Catholic teaching…..what the heck WERE they expecting….Papap calls for free love, condoms, and abortion on demnad???

        • Dan Crawford says


          I’m sure you not suggesting that Fr. Gutierrez came from The Shining Path – The Shining Path organisation in Peru (which is where the originator of Liberation Theology comes from , Fr.Gustavo Gutiérrez) – are you? When I read his book twenty years ago, I learned that most of those critical of Gutierrez hadn’t bothered to read his book.. I think he is now teaching at one of the pontifical universities in Rome.

          • NO, Dan!

            I was trying to point out that the same environment which produced the school of Liberation Theology also produced the tendency for some to embrace Marxist ideology, and that this was a real force and not just a convenient scapegoat for the real oppressive regimes (e.g. asking the U.S for aid or else The Communists will overthrow us and you wouldn’t like a Soviet base on your doorstep, would you?)

            Unfortunately, some (not everyone) took elements of Liberation Theology, mixed them with political philosophy, and went down the route of “the dialectic of history teaches us that the kingdom will only be achieved by class struggle and sin is oppression by the privileged classes and we must raise the consciousness of the poor so they will arise and overthrow their oppressors’, rather than “seek ye first the Kingdom of God”.

  3. Seems to be a very humble man and I like the name! I just hope he does something substantial about the sex abuse scandal and, dare I say it, make celibacy optional for the priesthood and allow women into the clergy, but I doubt any of that will happen.

    • +1 When the camera pulled back to show all the “grandeur” of the moment and I saw the new Pope surrounded by all the clergy on the main balcony and then on each side of that were little altar boys I thought I was going to be sick. I just don’t think they will ever truly change this system.

      • Adrienne, if you are saying that boys should not be altar servers, then you are saying that – for instance – the boy choristers in the Sistine Choir should be immediately dismissed, No altar server girls, either, just in case. In fact, no children under the age of eighteen to attend Mass or any other occasion where they might meet or be in contact with a priest, bishop or other cleric.

        The abuse scandal is hideous, but if you really do think that these boys are at risk of being abused by being acolytes in St. Peter’s, then get onto the authorities. Or please believe that we are reforming and rooting out what happened.

      • Josh in FW says

        The Sandusky scandal in Pennsylvannia and the guest post about SGM by The Wartburg Watch (https://internetmonk.com/archive/39341) made it clear to me that child sex abuse is no more rapant in the Catholic Church than it is in other organizations. It is clearly a terrible tragedy wherever and whenever it occurs, but we should not fool ourselves into thinking it is a problem of ‘others’ and can not just as easily happen in an organization that we participate in. The lesson is that we must be vigilant in all the organizations that we participate in.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          If you’ve been following the various spiritual abuse blogs such as Wartburg Watch, Calvary Chapel Abuse, and Spiritual Sounding Board, pedophiles and cover-ups in the Name of God are also really really popular among Truly Reformed and Megachurches.

          • Josh in FW says

            Well, I’m sure it happens in tiny little rural Wesleyan congregations too. Unfortunately, I don’t think a scandal in a town or less than 10,000 would get any legs in the press. It makes better headlines when everyone recognizes the offender.

          • That is kind of painting with a broad brush, is it not?

            Your comment makes it sound like most “Truly Reformed and Megachurches” support such behavior. I don’t think you mean it that way (at least I hope not).

          • In response to Josh in FW, scandals in towns of less than 10,000 only get legs when Anonymous decides they need legs (e.g. Steubenville, OH).

        • Agreed.

    • ….the latter will not, but he is already on record with being ruthless about the sex scandel and making sure that mess is not only located but eliminated.

  4. I don’t understand what Dick Cheney and Rupert Murdoch are doing with him on the balcony.

  5. I was thrilled with this entire conclave process for many reasons. Not only because of Benedict’s extraordinary resignation (and a precedent that perhaps should, in some cases, be followed), but because the dialog was thought-provoking and intense, not only from the talking heads on TV, but from the people everywhere. There was a real sense that this could bring about good and necessary change, and the cardinals indicated with their choice that they are open to that change. It is wonderful that the Pope comes from an area where growth is occurring, that his election signals an embracing of the church’s diversity. But the thing that thrilled me the most were his attitudes and actions. How rare is it that an Archbishop lives simply, without fanfare, and champions the poor and disenfranchised?

    I have read in several places that he broke protocol by asking for prayers from the faithful, and yet what a better thing for a Pope than to acknowledge that he is also in need of God’s help and guidance, just as we are? His simplicity and modesty speak volumes about where his papacy could go and what he could accomplish. Though I do not follow Catholic Christianity, I will pray along with all Christians that this man be guided and comforted in the difficult task to which he has been elected. Viva il Papa!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      How rare is it that an Archbishop lives simply, without fanfare, and champions the poor and disenfranchised?

      Archbishop Clavel of Panama did (including disappearing from his Episcopal Palace to surface living in one of Panama City’s shantytown slums) until old Pineapple Face ran him out of the country at gunpoint. Clavel died in exile here in SoCal.

  6. Paul Davis says

    Impressed, very impressed and moved by his opening speech and asking for prayer. He is a pope of many firsts and that says something, a very devout man who came from humble beginnings, and one who understands the people.

    I’m no longer Catholic (I’m EO now) but even still I think he’s the right man for the right time, I like Benedict very much, and I thought his push for liturgical reform was a good move, but right now the church needs someone to get it past the current problems.

    Favorite sight of the day was a young Catholic Woman schooling Anderson Cooper on the church’s treatment of women, when he inevitably made the comment about the cardinals being all men. Sheesh…

    My prayer is that he can both bring unity in the Christian community, and make some of the hard decisions that need to be made.


    • Josh in FW says

      I’ll ‘echo’ that prayer. 🙂

    • If you go to the online washingtonpost and do a search on “Are women already running the Catholic Church ” you will find an interesting two page article. On page two, one thing it says is, “The Vatican, whose workforce is approximately 40 percent female, has a very progressive maternity leave policy, allowing women paid leave beginning two months before their due date and allowing them a year of paid leave after birth.” Wow, I don’t think there is any business in the USA that would be that “family friendly.”

      • Oh NOES…can’t be true, the Catholic Church HATES women!!! (*sarcasm font*)

      • Joanie, on a related note: I heard an interview with Alex Trebek a long time ago and he was saying that most of the Jeopardy questions have their answers built in. Example:

        —Country with the lowest birth rate.
        —Answer (or question, in Jeopardyspeak): What is the Vatican?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Favorite sight of the day was a young Catholic Woman schooling Anderson Cooper on the church’s treatment of women, when he inevitably made the comment about the cardinals being all men. Sheesh…

      Ah, yes. Affirmative Action Uber Alles, where the Racial/Ethnic/Gender/Height/Obesity/Sexual Orientation/Whatever they call Handicapped this week composition of any and every group of people must match some quota in the Name of Diversity (TM). No matter what.

      And all those quotas and Diversity breakdowns do nothing to prevent groupthink or error in ideas or morality or ethics. Academia and Activism and Media are full of Quota-Diverse Affirmative Action Groupings all marching in lockstep doubleplusduckspeaking doubleplusgoodgroupthink word-for-word.

      • Well, they ARE all men. This is not a trivial matter. I figure that Catholic women should band together and elect a Mope (female pope). That wouldn’t break any rules, would it?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          You know, whenever some activist gets vocal about how “The Church NEEDS to get with the times”, it’s always one of four things:
          1) Perform same-sex marriages.
          2) Ordain priestesses (that is the proper English feminine form of “priest”, not “Woman Priest”).
          3) Married priests (and priestesees).
          4) All of the above.
          It’s like Conspiracy Theories — can’t any of them come up with something unique?

          • Says the man who repeats all his jokes.

            You misunderstand me. I’m not talking about women priests, I’m talking about an entirely separate but parallel hierarchy for Catholic women, with its own terminology. (Just as priesthood is reserved for men, so might….wiesthood? be reserved for women.) It wouldn’t even have to claim to head the Church, or anything so grandiose–just elect Mopes, make public statements, etc. Why wouldn’t Catholics support such a thing? Would it violate some rule?

          • Gerald, it’s interesting that you are writing about an “entirely separate but parallel hierarchy for Catholic women” because just this week my husband (who is not Catholic) was proposing the very same thing. I get that woman are very powerful in the Catholic church even though they cannot become priests. When you read the history of the US Presidents, you realize how much power their wives weilded in how the presidents came to decisions. Yes, the women didn’t get the honor, glory and positions. Some of them would not have wanted those things. Some women WOULD want those things.

            I think that if there was a separate but parellel hierarchy for Catholic women, we would still have the situation where the men were “calling the shots” in terms of how that would get set up, and in terms of what the various orders of women religious could do. I know Sister Joan Chittiser has been writing lately about the lack of power that women have within the Church in spite of being so involved with the Church. We would need someone like her to actually be in charge of how something like that would get set up.

            People also say that since women ARE so involved with the church, if they could become priests, eventually even those positions would be occupied by more women than men and we would see men not stepping up to be leaders. BUT, I think we can look toward the Episcopalian branch of Christianity and see that in spite of having women priests, the men are still priests. Yes, I know, some of the folks that are unhappy to have female priests have moved into a more conservative branch.

            I don’t know the answers.

        • Cedric Klein says

          Mome, not Mope.

  7. Well, *I* didn’t vote for him.

  8. I like what I see very much, but I’m tired already of the twisty minds of the media speculating on things they can know nothing about.

    • I’m tired of them speculating on things the really ought to know more about. Their ignorance/agenda in dealing with religious matters is so glaringly obvious in the coverage of this.

      • As usual, spot on Miguel. Side note, I’m thinking of asking Chaplain Mike, if there is any way to make it so that every time you comment Miguel, there will be an automatic response from me with “+1”. 🙂

      • Richard Hershberger says

        In fairness, on what subjects does the mainstream media reliably, or even occasionally, show insight and deep understanding? They can be relied upon to get sports scores right. Their audience wouldn’t tolerate inaccuracy there. But even within the realm of sports, once they get beyond the objective numbers and try to analyze what is happening, they are notoriously inane. So it isn’t as if religion is given especially bad treatment.

        • Indeed, the media routinely mangles scientific news beyond recognition, even those media organizations specifically devoted to science news. Journalism is a mere shadow of its former self.

  9. From what I am reading so far, I am hopeful that he is the “best man for the job.” I like his choice of Francis for his name and I hope he is able to keep his humble attitude. Question: I know he was born in Argentina of Italian immigrants. Does that make him a Latino or not? Being from South America of Italian immigrants kind of brings the Americas and Europe together in one man. Cool!

    • Exactly….and he studied in Germany, so he is a humble and brilliant man of the world with a heart for the poor…..but the uber-feminists, homosexuals, and pro-abortion folks will find no support here whatsoever.

      • What amused me was a snippet of a news report referring to him as “an austere Jesuit intellectual”.

        Granted, he’s a Jesuit. Granted, they’re known for being educated. Granted, he got a Masters in Chemistry before entering the order, got a qualification in philosophy after that, and taught literature and philosophy. But does he really look like “an austere intellectual”, or is that just scrabbling for a convenient label to attach to him?

        • When I heard Pope Francis was a Jesuit the thought you described above crossed my mind – intellectual, a bit progressive, etc. But from what I have been reading and hearing his blessing, I don’t believe I have any concerns. He does seem to be a humble man, from the information I have seen. I am just curious if the name Francis he has chosen is Francis of Assisi, Francis Xavier, or Francis DeSales. That would also tell me a bit about him though I suspect that Francis of Assisi (a great renewer of the Church) is what he had in mind.

          I already heard a story this morning that he ducked security to be among the people in a local church in Rome. He’ll be one to watch….

          • Radagast said, “I already heard a story this morning that he ducked security to be among the people in a local church in Rome. He’ll be one to watch….”

            I hope he will be allowed some autonomy to come and go as he wishes. I was hearing quotations from other Cardinals about becoming the Pope and they said it would be a “nightmare” to become Pope. Think about it…most of them are living around their friends and have quite a bit of freedom and are not so closely under the microscope of the world press. And if they were a younger Cardinal, thinking about being a Pope for life would likely be mind-boggling. But with a Pope resigning the seat (so to speak) maybe more Cardinals would not see it as quite so.,..difficult?…as it could have been.

            I watched Downton Abbey and the young man who was expected to be the heir to this rich property came from fairly “regular” life surroundings. He was uncomfortable having a valet tend to his every need until he came to understand that he was providing employment to this valet and to many other people who wanted the work. Maybe that is how a Pope will have to come to grips with all the folks around him wanting him to do this or that, wear this or that, etc. All those people rely on the Pope being Pope-ish. Still, I would like Pope Francis to be able to take a bus if he wants, walk to the store if he wants, etc. Time will tell. Probably many Catholics around the world WANT him to be surrounded with all the pomp, I know he is now not just “any Catholic.” He is the leader of the huge Roman Catholic Church. He has my prayers!

    • And also keeps alive the prophecy of St. Malachy!

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Naah. If he’d chosen the name “Peter”, though… I’d be stocking up on blessed wax candles, soaking grapes in holy water, and checking with Martha of Ireland every day to see if Ireland was still above water.

        • Some of the conspiracy sites have been trying to stretch Jorge / Francisco of Piedmont / Buenos Aires into Peter of Rome, but more have focused on the Jesuit angle.

          But if Pope Frankie ever leaves Rome walking over the corpses of his priests, then I’d count that as a win for St. Malachi.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            But if Pope Frankie ever leaves Rome walking over the corpses of his priests…

            In my attempts at writing SF, I have used that image in the back history of the future setting. Usually set as happening during a future World War, with the Swiss Guards getting the Pope out of there and fighting and dying a rear-guard action to cover his escape.

            And I don’t think that was St Malachy. I think that was a vision or dream Pius XII claimed to have had when he nodded off for a moment at a Papal audience. Either way, the vivid imagery was too good to pass up.

    • Not uncommon for an Argentine to be of European descent, especially Italian and Spanish, considering the millions who migrated there in the late 19th and early 20th century… I should know! 🙂

      But, still, what do people understand when the term ‘Latino’ is used? Does it represent somebody born in Latin America? Somebody of southern European, Mediterranean descent? Because if it’s any of those two definitions, then Francis I would fit perfectly.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Not uncommon for an Argentine to be of European descent, especially Italian and Spanish…

        Or German, considering there was heavy German immigration into Argentina around a century ago. (The trope of Nazi War Criminals living in Argentina came about because a lot of them did skip to there to blend in and hide within the large Argentine German ethnic community.)

        I understand “Latino” is definded by the Feds as “ancestry from a Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking country.” One of our local radio talk-shows got some mileage out of that years ago; the morning drive-time host was a Brazilian Jew named Handel and he rebranded himself (using the official definition) as their New Affirmative Action LATINO Talk Show host.

        However, in SoCal “Latino” is just the latest Newspeak for Hispanic, and Hispanic was Newspeak for Chicano and all of them just mean “Mexican” out here (due to Mexicans being the largest Hispanic ethnic bloc). Which is a real kicker when you realize Argentines are basically transplanted European Spanish — years ago, some journalist commenting on American ethnicities said an Argentine friend of his would be “white” until the moment he opened his mouth to speak, after which he’d be “Latino”.

        • I was reading about “Latino” on wikipedia after I asked my question and part of what that said was, “Hispanic is a narrower term which only refers to persons of Spanish-speaking origin or ancestry, while “Latino” is more frequently used to refer more generally to anyone of Latin American origin or ancestry, including Brazilians.” Then, if you read about Latin America on wikipedia, it is defined in various ways, but one of the ways is, ” all of the Americas south of the United States” so that would make Pope Francis a Latino of Italian heritage. That’s my take on it, anyway!

          • All the media speculation about a possible American pope – well, we’ve got an American pope now.

            Just not North American (and that includes Canada as well as the U.S.A.)


          • The term is not used consistently. It is basically a U.S. concept. The U.S. census, but no one else, thinks that being “Hispanic” is a separate issue from racial classification, or what language one speaks at home. Most United Statesians consider Hispanics to be a distinct race, the idea being that they are a bit too swarthy to be considered white. Blond(e) Latina/os confuse them, as do Spaniards and Portuguese, and Alberto Fujimori. The U.S. census, meanwhile, defies popular sentiment by lumping all Middle Easterners together with the whites.

            “Chicano” by rights ought to be reserved for Chicagoans, but is sometimes used as a general synonym for “Hispanic.”

          • Gerald, I have a coworker with the last name of Martinez. We were having some training on race and ethnic issues and he was surprised to hear that he is considered to be “white.” Hispanic, like you said, is not considered a race. You can be white and Hispanic, black and Hispanic, etc.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Down here in the Southwest USA, the ethnic dividing line has historically had to do with language more than with color.
            “Anglo” = English-speaker;
            “Hispanic” = Spanish-speaker. (Of which ethnic Mexicans are the majority in my area.)
            And with the language comes various cultural attributes and attitudes.

    • Both Argentina and Brazil had waves and waves of Italian immigrants during the 20th century.

      I’m sure he’s an Argentine, albeit one strong Italian roots.

  10. Doesn’t he look like Gandhi?


  11. I do not know much about Cardinal Bergoglio, but I love his selection of a name. Pope Francis!

    • Right, and after some 800 years after Francis, he is the first to take that name. It says volumes about him, the Church, and where his shepherding may lead it.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        John Paul I in 1979 was the first to take a new regnal name in around 800 years. It seems after those 800 years, he set a pattern.

        Just as John XXIII was the first Pope to set foot outside the Vatican in 400 years (to the point of actually having soled shoes instead of ceremonial slippers) and John Paul II was the first non-Italian in a similar length of time. I think Popes since John23 have been doing what they can to crack ossified tradition for the sake of tradition. Not in matters of Faith and Morals, but a lot of the nickel-and-dime stuff that accreted around the office — how many recent Popes have been crowned with the old Triple Tiara? Or carried around on a giant portable throne like a thirty-man sedan chair?

  12. Jennifer E. says

    I am not Catholic, but I was inspired watching him on TV yesterday. From the little I saw, I sensed humility and deep care for those in his flock. He smells like he’s been with Jesus. Precious few of us give off that aroma. I’m excited to see what God will do in His Church through Pope Francis.

  13. Matt Purdum says

    Best wishes to the man, but it’s all entirely irrelevant to me. I don’t need any mediator or hierarchy — apart from Christ — and I believe in the priesthood of all believers.

    • Then you may be interested to know that he has been outspoken against the clericalization of the church.

    • Matt, take this in the jovial tone it is meant, but lately you are sounding a lot like the Onion’s “Area Man Constantly Mentioning He Doesn’t Own A Television” article. 😉

    • LOL Matt…..I love how you always have to comment to just about every post on this site by saying how totally irrelevant it is to you. Lots of irony there.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I don’t need any mediator or hierarchy — apart from Christ — and I believe in the priesthood of all believers.

      The Protestants’ Protestant. And very American Individualist. But it does get mighty lonely in the long run with “Jesus & Me and Nobody Else.”

    • The script continues: “But does he have a personal relationship with Jesus? Or does he rely on works-righteousness?”

  14. There was a lot of talk about Timothy Dolan, but come on, an American pope? Not sure if anyone knows this or not, but despite our love for ourselves Americans are not too popular in much of the world. (The cabbies in Italy were all pulling for an American, but that’s because all they know about Americans is that our tourists in Rome tip well.)

    It was a long shot, but many thought is was time for a South American or even an African pope. Congrats to the College of Cardinals for thinking outside of the European box, but on the other hand Pope Francis is 76 years old. So is it any big surprise the next pope is another old white guy?

    • I spelled my own name wrong, it’s going to be that kind of day.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      There was a lot of talk about Timothy Dolan, but come on, an American pope?

      Especially when America has so much military power all over the globe, as well as a cultural and former economic domination. These days the Church does not want to be seen as in cahoots with Empire or Superpower, and an American Pope would appear to the rest of the world as a conflict of interest.

  15. One More Mike says

    Until Martha chimes in, I won’t know what to think.

    • +1

      • I must use this great power responsibly and only for good!


        (Buy… real butter. Buy… potatoes. Buy… lots of proper beer for St. Patrick’s Day, not that green stuff.)

        Ahem. Ignore the subliminal messaging.

        (Buy… proper bacon and good green cabbage, and don’t overcook the cabbage until it’s all watery. Enjoy… the patronal feast of the Church in America).

        • Buy… lots of proper beer for St. Patrick’s Day, not that green stuff.

          I gave up alcohol for Lent though… 🙁

          Or can I say it doesn’t count because it’s a feast day? (pretty pretty please?)

          • Lenten rigours are relaxed for feast days that fall during Lent (a,k.a. the “corned beef indult”).

            The Irish on March 17th and the Italians on March 19th can therefore legitimately celebrate their patronal saints, and as we all know, “Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day” 🙂

          • Depends on if your Diocese – like Boston – grants a dispensation. Or, you could be Polish-American in Buffalo and get one for Dyngus Day.

          • Beer is made of corn, just like corned beef. Right?

            (Dyngus Day? Good God, any pope who chooses THAT name will be laughed at every time he goes on parade.)

          • Gerald, beer is a totally vegetarian drink, so you are not consuming any animal products, so you are not breaking your Lenten fast.


            The Logical Vegetarian by G,K. Chesterton

            YOU will find me drinking rum,
            Like a sailor in a slum,
            You will find me drinking beer like a Bavarian.
            You will find me drinking gin
            In the lowest kind of inn,
            Because I am a rigid Vegetarian.

            So I cleared the inn of wine,
            And I tried to climb the sign,
            And I tried to hail the constable as “Marion.”
            But he said I couldn’t speak,
            And he bowled me to the Beak
            Because I was a Happy Vegetarian.

            (omitted third verse because it is frankly offensive in its attitude nowadays)

            I am silent in the Club,
            I am silent in the pub,
            I am silent on a bally peak in Darien;
            For I stuff away for life
            Shoving peas in with a knife,
            Because I am at heart a Vegetarian.

            No more the milk of cows
            Shall pollute my private house
            Than the milk of the wild mares of the Barbarian;
            I will stick to port and sherry,
            For they are so very, very
            So very, very, very Vegetarian

        • Oooh, I can do all this, Martha, and all those things will have been grown or created right here in the great state o’ Maine. We have some excellent potatoes, butter, beer. Cabbage…eh, I can take it or leave it. I don’t like the smell of cooked cabbage, but I like it fresh just fine in coleslaw. BACON…give me a nice thick, lean bacon. Well, I guess I like ham! 🙂

          • Christiane says

            anyone got a good recipe for Irish Soda Bread?
            The local stuff they sell is loaded with sugar for some reason.

        • Ah – some of us don’t even need those subliminal food and drink messages, ’cause we’re with you on that!

  16. Josh in FW says

    I like this:

    But in addition to the official reports, Greg Venables, former Anglican Archbishop of the Southern Cone and based in Argentina, offers a look at what Bergoglio “is really like.” He writes:
    [Bergoglio] is much more of a Christian, Christ centered and Spirit filled, than a mere churchman. He believes the Bible as it is written.
    I have been with him on many occasions and he always makes me sit next to him and invariably makes me take part and often do what he as Cardinal should have done. He is consistently humble and wise, outstandingly gifted yet a common man. He is no fool and speaks out very quietly yet clearly when necessary.
    He called me to have breakfast with him one morning and told me very clearly that the Ordinariate [creating by the Catholic Church to accommodate alienated Anglicans] was quite unnecessary and that the church needs us as Anglicans.
    I consider this to be an inspired appointment not because he is a close and personal friend but because of who he is In Christ. Pray for him.

    I first read the above quote on Fr. Ernesto’s blog, but the above text was lifted from the linked Christianity Today article.

    It seems to this Evangelical that the Roman Catholics are continuing a very positive trend in their leadership. It is exciting for me to see them pursuing Christ and it is upsetting to see so many nasty comments on articles and blogs across the internet, but it is human nature to tear apart.

  17. James the Mad says

    I found this on a piece on Yahoo:

    “Bergoglio often rode the bus to work, cooked his own meals and regularly visited the slums that ring Argentina’s capital. He considers social outreach, rather than doctrinal battles, to be the essential business of the church.

    “He accused fellow church leaders of hypocrisy and forgetting that Jesus Christ bathed lepers and ate with prostitutes.”

    Not that he’s afraid of doctrinal battles – he definitely stood against moves in Argentina to normalize homosexuality and to make birth control more readily available. But unlike the culture wars uber alles mindset we see so often here in the states that’s not his primary focus.

    I definitely like what I’ve seen so far.

  18. Pope Francis! Somewhere PeeWee Herman is locking up his bike real good.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Morning drive-time radio is using a PeeWee Herman sound bite of “FRAAAAANCIS!” to preface news items about the new Pope.

      It’s an improvement; for Pope Benedict they used “Deutschland Uber Alles”.

  19. He is old, of European heritage, and very conservative on Church tradition, and social issues; it doesn’t appear much has really changed.

    • I don’t see being old as a negative. Although it’s not popular in our let’s stay young forever culture.

      • The problem with wisdom is, you have to get old to get it. But this pope seems to have that even rarer commodity of discernment gained from a lifetime of seeking the guidance of the Spirit.

    • If the social issues you are referring to are abortion and same-sex marriage, then you are right: there’s little change. If you look at his positions on economic issues, the poor, war, etc. he is more strident than Pope Benedict, but Benedict was far more liberal than most Americans realize.

  20. Well, his first Mass as Pope will be broadcast live on here at 5 p.m. Roman time, which is 4 p.m. Irish time – it’s already 3.40 p.m. here, so that gives you all 20 minutes to get ready 🙂

    Decide for yourselves what he’s going to be like from how he celebrates this first Mass.

    • Thanks, Martha. I just read his first homily as Pope. I liked it. Later on when I am at home and not at work, I will see if I can actually see a video of the Mass.

  21. Opinion of new Pope: He is a sinner in desperate need of Jesus like the rest of us.

    May God use his life to show the transcendent Grace, Life, Truth and Love of Jesus in a world in desperate need of Him.

  22. “When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord.” – Pope Francis

  23. Christiane says

    I loved his first sermon . . . and it was given without notes

  24. So suppose he wants to say something infallible. How does that work? I realize that he can’t just say whatever, and have that be accepted, but what are the rules? Does he have to write an encyclical in Latin? Can it be something completely heretical and/or stupid, or do the cardinals have to sign off on it or something?

    • I don’t think it works that way. As Chesterton stated in his “Orthodoxy”, the church is the democracy of the dead. The Pope can’t just make up new teachings. I think there are only two case when a Pope spoke ex-cathedra. The press probably doesn’t get this, thinking the Pope can just reverse 2,000 years of church teaching. This is also very different than evangelicalism, where any pastor is free to interject opinion or make up teachings out of whole cloth and call it “biblical”.

    • In order for something to be taught infallibly, the Pope must be teaching something that can be traced back through previous Popes, teachings, and the Church Fathers. It really cannot be a “new insight”. It’s an “old insight” that was at times accepted and maybe contested at times, but still had an ancient, orthodox pedigree.

      • Benedict 16th argued for a “hermeneutic of continuity” in interpreting Vatican II, specifically. In other words, the church can’t teach something new that violates established traditions, interpretation, etc. The concept is rooted in a doctrine of the church that understands that the Holy Spirit isn’t going to contradict well-established doctrines for the sake of novelty.

        So don’t expect the RC church to say, overturn the Real Presence in the Eucharist, for example.

  25. I hope things change for the better. I think its a wise move to reach to South America (or Africa for that manner). What I have read has impressed me and I think he knows a lot about humility instead of some other fundagelicals. I just want him to do well. My alma matter in Milwaukee is Jesuit so they are probably thrilled.

    Martha…several times I have asked you for your thoughts and explanation on Jananism. Can you please explain that in detail and what you think of it?

  26. Wednesday, I was fortunate enough to be subbing grades 8-10 or so at the local Catholic school. I had the live feed of the Sistine Chimney up on the computer on the desk all morning. The seagull was an amusing diversion, I tell you! I kept challenging the kids to tell me how to say “We have a seagull” in Latin. One of the kids came by later and told me their Latin textbook didn’t have the word for seagull in it. At least he tried. Then during lunch we glanced at it the feed, the bird was gone and my first impression was “black smoke” but one of the girls took a closer look and said “WHITE SMOKE! IT’S WHITE SMOKE!”

    The entire school, all grades, went crazy with excitement. We put the feed up on the big screen, and then spent an hour or so waiting for the announcement of who it was. Lots of chatter, lots of excitement. The principal looked up the list of the 10 most likely candidates on the board and had the kids pick a name, the winner to receive a candy bar.

    After a long wait, the announcement was finally made. And the overall reaction was, “who?” The winners of the candy bar were two kids smart enough to chose the box marked “other”.

    And then another longer wait for the new Pope to appear. When he did, it was to cheers and applause. And then, in what was one of the most moving moments, we joined the new Pope and however many hundreds of millions of others in praying the Lord’s Prayer and (gasp!) the Hail Mary together; and then in silence joined in asking the Lord’s blessing on Pope Francis. Communion of Saints, indeed.

  27. http://ncronline.org/blogs/where-i-stand/who-are-people-who-were-waiting-pope-francis
    Sister Joan Chittiser…waiting, weary, a little bit hopeful.

    My response to her article is: I know there are a lot of Catholics who say we stay strong by not changing, by being the same Church we have always been. BUT…we are not the church of St. Augustine’s time; we are not the church of the time of the Crusades; we are not the Church of the Spanish inquisitions. We are not even of the Church of 1940. So, let’s change…let’s make more sense in terms of how the Church is organized and supported. Let’s not hold back the Holy Spirit. I hope Pope Francis will listen closely to Sister Joan and others like her.

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