I’m not Roman Catholic, but I’m not ignorant to neglect something that unites 1.2 billion people on this planet, either.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, seems like my kind of guy from stories I’ve heard so far. He’s never lived in a mansion. He took public transit instead of being drive. He cooks his own meals. He’s led a simple and humble life, basically.
He is not an insider to the Vatican, which is the last trait they need in a Pope right now. He broke with tradition immediately, in asking people to pray for him first before he prayed for them, among other small gestures in his few minutes on the stage. He also picked a never before used name for a Pope, which surprised me nobody had ever taken Francis considering there are two very popular saints in Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Francis Xavier. Actions do speak louder than words, but he’s shot sharp words to call Catholic clergy hypocrites for not baptising children of single Mothers. He’s got balls, in other words, and seems to use them for good rather than bad that some Catholic leaders have recently!
He’s also an underdog with just 28 of the 115 voting cardinals being from Latin America.
It is important he came from outside of Europe as there is a lot of potential there, and the majority of Catholics in the world. 585 million Roman Catholics of the 1200 million are Latin American, and there is potential for a lot more if only the Church were more accepting. But it’s not where Pope Francis is from that will be most important. It’s where he’ll be going… and taken the 1.2 and possibly more Roman Catholics with him, that will be most important.
And where will he be going? Hard to say. I hear he has some conservative views, but that might be liberal if put in the context of the current Church. I’m not expecting him to accept homosexuality, ordain women, and make big radical changes, but I hope I will be surprised. However, in becoming Pope, a cardinal changes his name because he becomes a new person in becoming enlightened to take on such a spiritual and visionary role. Will that mean Pope Francis will lose his humility, conservatism, a little bit of both?
Who knows, but let’s pray for the best, to Whomever you pray.