Thursday, March 14, 2013

I'm not Catholic, but...

...boy did the conclave make an interesting choice.

First Latin American pope - although his father was apparently Italian.

First Jesuit pope - this is a particularly intriguing factor. Jesuits have historically not been well-trusted by the rest of the church, given they were in part created by the papacy to spy on the rest of the church. (These days, Jesuits are primarily a teaching order, but they still answer solely and entirely to the Pope and nobody else).

First pope to choose the papal name Francis - although there was a Francis amongst the founders of the Jesuits, it's rather more likely he was thinking of the well known saint Francis of Assissi. St. Francis was a monastic founder but, unlike the others, did not live in a cloister - he was an itinerant preacher and one of the three orders he founded was an order of itinerant preachers. It's an interesting choice. By not using a name previously used he might well be saying he wants to do things differently. His first act as Pope was to ask everyone to pray for him and the world, even before offering the traditional blessing.

Who knows...but I think they made a very intriguing decision. Was it the right one? Time will tell.