Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, S.J. of Argentina emerged from the conclave clad in white. A new pope and he’s a Jesuit, my favorite order and he took the name Francis, a man of peace.
Sounds good so far.
And it sounds like he’s a good mix of the ideological sides that the church usually finds itself mixed up with.
For those who think he’ll be a liberal because of his Jesuit affiliation, that’s not the case, or it least it hasn’t appeared to be.
He’s an ideological conservative, so non of the hot-button issues are going to change, but he’s got a heart for the poor. He took a public bus instead of a limo as Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
He took the name Francis, a name nobody has taken before to indicate that this will not be business as usual. We’re getting a new chief in town and at 76, Pope Francis knows this will not be a long papacy. So look for governance to get a shake up–but not in the form of a Papal smack down, rather this is a return to simplicity, a non-ceremonious Pope that prefers simplicity to pomp and circumstance. We often think of Francis as a man of peace, but he was also the man who stood defiantly naked in the city square renouncing his father’s riches. I see in the new pope a bit of the passion of Francis of Assisi (who Vatican media confirmed that he was honoring Francis of Assissi) who saw a vision telling him “Francis, repair my church!” I also see a bit of Ignatius, who was quite practical and sought lots of advice and put his intellect at the service of his faith.
And the biggest thing of all is he is not a Euro-Centric Pope. He knows what poverty is and is focused on it. He took the bus instead of a limo (for security reasons that will change now). He lived in a simple apartment and did his own cooking (which he was often proud of telling others about). WHile not Euro-Centric in his thought, his father is also Italian, so he’s able to speak the language and knows a bit about Italian culture, which is always good in the Vatican.
He’s a pragmatist and takes lots of advice. When Liberation Theology was rising in the global south, he didn’t just wave their thoughts away and call them the thoughts of a Marxist regime, but rather he smartly, dismissed what he didn’t like about Liberation Theology, while touting that the needs of the poor need to be paid attention to. So he seems to listen and then makes a judgement about what’s important.
Simplicity and good relations…look for a well traveled man, who is able to find people he can trust in the Curia and that we can come to trust as well. Creating a period of openness and transparency will be key for this Papacy and he seems up to the job. He was widely rumored to be the runner up last time out and so the question that predominated the Conclave again is a simple one: Who do we trust? Papa Bergoglio is a man who appeals in some measure to please just about everyone.
So celebrate Jesuits, as the first Jesuit Pope the first Hispanic Pope and the first Pope from South America, was elected today.