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Update: Pope Francis

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ,Archbishop of Buenos Aires, born in 1936, has taken the papal name Francis; he is the first Jesuit pope.Damian Thompson:

Pope Francis I is a priest of holinesss and tremendous modesty of manner a man who, until now, has taken the bus to work. His challenge is clear. He needs to learn from Benedict XVI's greatest success and his greatest failure. The success was the restoration of reverent, mystical worship to the centre of Catholic life, an achievement that has inspired a dynamic generation of young Catholics. The failure was Benedict's inability to reform the corrupt structures of the Roman curia, which should be recognised as the rotten core of the abuse crisis, and which is likely to have loomed large as an issue in the conclave. The historic decision to choose a Pope from the New World will perhaps make that task easier.

Rocco Palma:

By choosing the name of the founder of his community's traditional rivals, the 266th Roman pontiff the first from the American continent, home to more than half of the 1.2 billion-member church has signaled two things: his desire to be a force of unity in a polarized fold, and his intent to "repair God's house, which has fallen into ruin"... that is,to rebuild the church.

John Allens profile of then-Cardinal Bergoglio, from March 3.

Back in 2005,Bergogliodrew high marks as an accomplished intellectual, having studied theology in Germany. His leading role during the Argentine economic crisis burnished his reputation as a voice of conscience, and made him a potent symbol of the costs globalization can impose on the world's poor.Bergoglio's reputation for personal simplicity also exercised an undeniable appeal a Prince of the Church who chose to live in a simple apartment rather than the archbishop's palace, who gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of taking the bus to work, and who cooked his own meals.

Andrew Sullivan: "Even more than his predecessors, this Pope seems an unlikely fit for Paul Ryan-style Catholics."

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Dominic Preziosi is Commonweal’s digital editor.



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Pope Francis I

Pope Francis?

A Jesuit!

Pope Francis

Francis of Assisi? or Francis Xavier?

White pope, black pope

From far away, I think he chose the patron of Italy

Margaret - Francis George, of course.

Hard to tell the papabile from the popemobile without a program, but do I recall that he has a balance of diocesan and Roman experience?

George! The patron saint of England!!!

No experience in Rome before he became a cardinal. Doctoral work in Germany.

His family were, like many Argentines early in the 20th C., immigrants from Italy, so were he not Jesuit, I am sure we all would assume Francis of Assisi. We shall see.Age 76, which in lightof benedict's rationale for retirement is perhaps a bit troubling. Or perhaps a signal that the Conclave wishes to focus on the current issues and will trust to the Holy Spirit again when neceesary. But I found it surprising, even by such thoughts.Mark

>>Like other Jesuit intellectuals, Bergoglio has focused on social outreach. Catholics are still buzzing over his speech last year accusing fellow church officials of hypocrisy for forgetting that Jesus Christ bathed lepers and ate with prostitutes.>>"In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don't baptize the children of single mothers because they weren't conceived in the sanctity of marriage," Bergoglio told his priests. "These are today's hypocrites. Those who clericalize the Church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it's baptized!">>Bergoglio compared this concept of Catholicism to the Pharisees of Christ's time: people who congratulate themselves while condemning others.>>"Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit," Bergoglio said.<<

What a lovely man. What an auspicious (!) beginning.

Lovely gesture of asking the people's blessing before giving his blessing (not sung).That said, total surprise. 76, and the runner-up in 2005. The way out of a deadlock?Little time in Rome, none in the Curia. SJ provincial in Argentina; named auxiliary bishop in1992, Coadjutor of Buenos Aires in 1997, archbishop since 1998. Named cardinal in 2001.Francis of Assisi and Francis Xavier.Let us bless the Lord! Thanks be to God!

Profile by John Allen in NCR:

I think he read Joe K's post from this morning.

I liked the part in wikipedia that said he gave up the bishop's residence, lives in a simple apartment and takes public transportation. And the fact that his Dad was a railroad worker.

Francis of Assisi? or Francis Xavier?Both!

Guenois, in "Le Figaro," says that he made an impression during the congregations last week. He and Chito Tagle were the only ones who spoke from the heart...

Larry W's 'quotes' by Bergoglio should give hope to all wanting a change of STANCE. And Francis!!!!.. I hope it's after both Saints who went out and got the "new' people to embrace the simplicity of Jesus Christ. . .. answering 'rebuild my Church'

"Make [Francesco] an instrument of your peace!"

There are other quotations we can find, ones that seem less encouraging.But for now, his very moving first appearance briefly reminded me of Pope John's moonlight speech, there was such a simple and direct connection to the people in the square. At one side, a 76-year-old who will need directions to find his apartment he is so unfamiliar with Rome. At the other side, the warmest beginning note since September 1978.We shall see, et Deus providebit.

What a pleasant surprise. Frances of Assisi remember reached out to Muslims in a most poignant way. So the Muslims as well as the poor. The nuances of his words which we now read from various sources. This is a person profoundly aware of what it means to be anointed by the Lord, i. e. to raise up the lowly.

How about it? At last a Jesuit pope from Argentina where the Jesuits Reductions were established.

Le Figaro reports that he's missing a lung.

In listening to commentators and reading these remarks, I'm struck by how much information Catholics extrapolate from the choice of a name and a few wispy anecdotes about a largely unknown cardinal (who was given 25/1 odds this morning on PaddyPower, below both O'Malley and Dolan). So question: To what extent has the Pope's name or his previous reputation been accurate predictors of the tenor of a pontiff's reign?

Also quite moving, the new Pope's asking those present to join him in the three basic prayers that we learned from our parents and, at least in my generation, from the Sisters.

So he's a Jesuit. I wonder how that's going down with the Opus Dei types who seem to be everywhere (infesting? No, I'll be polite)) the Church nowadays?

I hate to be the voice of negativity, but I recall reading years ago that he sided with the right wing dictatorship against activist Jesuit priests ......

The Holy Spirit never ceases to surprise -- a humble Jesuit who chooses the name of the founder of the Franciscans. (My Franciscan-run alma mater must be in full party mode at this time.) He appears to be a man who can unite the more traditionalist Catholics with the more liberal, especially those who see the pursuit of social justice as foundational to the Church's mission. And, he "asked for our blessing." Many blessings, Francis I; you do have our prayers and our loyalty.

Wayne:St. Josephs (Jesuit) University here is Philadelphia is in full party mode too. Action News is interviewing students and they are touting the fact that the Pope Francis will be installed on the feast of St. Joseph. A tweet from the admissions department:#FrancisI studied chemistry before starting seminary. Are you a budding scientist? Study chem. at SJU! @sjuadmissionsAND Gonzaga is the top basketball team.

Crystal:He may have not done enough to prevent the kidnapping of the two Jesuits but It is said that he did a lot behind the scenes to get them released.Maybe had a Romero transformation.

This is a bit troubling about him:"What one did not hear from any senior member of the Argentine hierarchy was any expression of regret for the church's collaboration and in these crimes. The extent of the church's complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina's most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentine navy with the connivance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship's political prisoners. Bergoglio was hiding them in nothing less than his holiday home in an island called El Silencio in the River Plate. The most shaming thing for the church is that in such circumstances Bergoglio's name was allowed to go forward in the ballot to chose the successor of John Paul II. What scandal would not have ensued if the first pope ever to be elected from the continent of America had been revealed as an accessory to murder and false imprisonment."I know nothing about the author of this piece and could not find any refutation of his charges.

Pope Francis has my prayers and may have my loyalty once he has built my trust. I am hopeful.

Gene Palumbo: you reside in Latin America. Can you shed any further light on Hugh O'Shaughnessy''s accusations?

I'm amazed by the number of amazed people on here. The new pope is an aged, white, ethnic Italian who is completely orthodox in his views about homosexuality, birth control, abortion, artificial insemination, and a celibate priesthood.Where is the surprise factor?What am I missing?

The Guardian asked me (and a couple others) for a quick reaction on the new pope and the American church; here it is:

George Weigel just was on Chris Matthew's show and described Francis as a "JPII guy."What a horrible thing to say about the man!

Jim Mc,More on the Catholic Church and Argentina's "dirty war" from Wikipedia ...

Damian Thompson - bad journalism....his comments have to do with Damian's hobbyhorse; nothing to do with today's events.Rocco Palmo - really, he stretches to some centuries old competition? How shallow.Weigel on Chris Mathews - same as the two above - he mentions his own hobbyhorses; not who this man really is.El Silencio - don't think that you will see these allegations supported with any substance.Jean - your list appears correct on the surface. But, you leave out his living example of simple lifestyle in solidarity with the poor; his taking on the Argentinian government and business community in terms of capitalism, globalization, etc. In one sense, he has toed the line on sexual issues but, OTOH, he has made pastoral decisiions around AIDS/HIV, baptism of children outside of marriage that the *cultural war US bishops* would be amazed at. (and really, ethnic Italian and I am ethnically german/dutch; etc, etc. your point? He is not so much white as latino - significant difference. He is older but younger than Ratzinger at his election and hopefully he will continue to precedence set by Ratzinger so this death do us part routine will die - papacy is a servant office; a ministry - not an ontological change.Would suggest that we need to watch and learn - his pastoral sense supported by his intellectual honesty will confront these issues.

Mr. Boudway - yes, one lung was removed as an adolescent because of a serious infection. And this means what? You sound like Palmo, Thompson, and Weigel - in search of something that has little meaning.

Bill, I feared after I hit "submit" that my comment would be construed as snarky, and it really wasn't meant to be. I appreciate your insights. Perhaps I, too, will soon be amazed.

I'm trying to withhold judgment on this new pope. I felt underwhelmed when B16 announced plans to retire. I felt underwhelmed at today's announcement. For me, it's "wait and see". To be truthful, I'm not particularly optimistic, but I'm trying to withhold my lurking pessimism.

Jim McCrea:In response to your question: No, I can't. I see that the Guardian has posted this:A note of caution about a claim in Hugh O'Shaughnessy's comment piece extracted below. We have not been able to ask Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky about the allegation that Bergoglio was implicated in helping the Argentine navy hide political prisoners in what O'Shaughnessy described as "his holiday home in an island called El Silencio". One of our reporters is examining the claims made by Verbitsky in his book. It appears that the island was owned by a senior Buenos Aires Catholic official, not Bergoglio, and visited by priests in the diocese. The Guardian has not seen any evidence linking Bergoglio to the hiding of prisoners on the island. We will publish a more detailed report as soon as possible.

It seems that Amnesty International did not think that Bergoglio was culpably involved in this affair. We really have to be careful especially when Amnesty International has nothing negative to say. This apparently came up in the last Conclave when Ratzinger was elected and John Allen is reported to have made a call to a Amnesty International offical who said there was not any reprehensibe action involved by Bergoglio. As Bill D points out above there are many impressive facts about the new pope.

About Bergoglio and the two Jesuits who were tortured, someone on CNN (I didn't get his name) said that Amnesty International looked into the matter and concluded there was no evidence supporting the accusations.Rick Santorum was interviewed, and he said he was "ecstatic" about Pope Francis. He even said that we should show more concern for the less fortunate. So maybe the kind Francis is having a positive effect already.About the name "Francis". If the Pope had wanted mainly to honor his Jesuit heritage, it seems to me he would have called himself "Ignatius". So I bet it's for Francis of Assisi. Also remember, Francis of Assisi was not a priest. Maybe the Pope is trying to tell us something there too -- that priests aren't the only ones worth emulating.)I was in a Chinese restaurant having lunch while watching and waiting for the announcement. Others around me were also glued to the TV, but not my Chinese waitress. She dismissed it all with a wave of her hand. But when I told her he was for the poor people and that he takes the bus to work she got excited and went off to tell the other waitresses, "He takes the bus to work! He takes the bus to work!" Ah, nothing like humility.My main concern is whether his compassion will extend to the dissidents who sincerely think that some official teachings are wrong and are doing immense damage to the Church. And is he humble enough to even consider the possibility that he might have been wrong about some things. But maybe that's too much to ask. He's old, so I don't expect he'll be pope very long.On CNN Raymond Arroyo of EWTN said that his sources said that Pope Francis is "a butt-kicker", which doesn't sound consistent with some of the other reports. Maybe they meant that he's not a patsy. Let's hope so, if he's going to reform the Curia.

P, S. Somebody has also noted that that bird on the chimney might have been a hint from Sr. Francis about what was coming. Augury is not dead!

"On CNN Raymond Arroyo of EWTN said that his sources said that Pope Francis is a butt-kicker... .What a stupid comment to make!

I am not referring to your comments, Ann. It is the EWTN attention getting commentator. is the most detailed description of accusations I've found so far. Mostly ambiguous. The Argentine bishops did issue an apology in2012 for their actions during the dirty wars, collectively not personally assuming blame. Troubling, but perhaps this is a needed step toward healing for Argentina.On management, remember that the other Argentine cardinal is Sandri, one time sostuto with extensive knowledge of the Vatican's working.He has already taught forcefully on the most important topic prayer, not with words but action. Silent. The prayers everyone knows, including the one Jesus taught us. And that everyone is authorized to pray these, and to ask the Lord to bless him. If he continues to teach that message about the relationship between God and the people of the church, all amazement will be justified.

The CBS story covers the most I've seen on the "dirty war.""Bergoglio twice invoked his right under Argentine law to refuse to appear in open court, and when he eventually did testify in 2010, his answers were evasive, human rights attorney Myriam Bregman said.At least two cases directly involved Bergoglio. One examined the torture of two of his Jesuit priests Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics who were kidnapped in 1976 from the slums where they advocated liberation theology. Yorio accused Bergoglio of effectively handing them over to the death squads by declining to tell the regime that he endorsed their work. Jalics refused to discuss it after moving into seclusion in a German monastery.Both men were freed after Bergoglio took extraordinary, behind-the-scenes action to save them including persuading dictator Jorge Videla's family priest to call in sick so that he could say Mass in the junta leader's home, where he privately appealed for mercy. His intervention likely saved their lives, but Bergoglio never shared the details until Rubin interviewed him for the 2010 biography.Bergoglio who ran Argentina's Jesuit order during the dictatorship told Rubin that he regularly hid people on church property during the dictatorship, and once gave his identity papers to a man with similar features, enabling him to escape across the border. But all this was done in secret, at a time when church leaders publicly endorsed the junta and called on Catholics to restore their "love for country" despite the terror in the streets.Rubin said failing to challenge the dictators was simply pragmatic at a time when so many people were getting killed, and attributed Bergoglio's later reluctance to share his side of the story as a reflection of his humility.But Bregman (the human rights attorney) said Bergoglio's own statements proved church officials knew from early on that the junta was torturing and killing its citizens, and yet publicly endorsed the dictators. "The dictatorship could not have operated this way without this key support," she said.Bergoglio also was accused of turning his back on a family that lost five relatives to state terror, including a young woman who was 5-months' pregnant before she was kidnapped and killed in 1977. The De la Cuadra family appealed to the leader of the Jesuits in Rome, who urged Bergoglio to help them; Bergoglio then assigned a monsignor to the case. Months passed before the monsignor came back with a written note from a colonel: It revealed that the woman had given birth in captivity to a girl who was given to a family "too important" for the adoption to be reversed.Despite this written evidence in a case he was personally involved with, Bergoglio testified in 2010 that he didn't know about any stolen babies until well after the dictatorship was over. (this is troubling and unambiguous)"Bergoglio has a very cowardly attitude when it comes to something so terrible as the theft of babies. He says he didn't know anything about it until 1985," said the baby's aunt, Estela de la Cuadra, whose mother Alicia co-founded the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in 1977 in hopes of identifying these babies." Nothing is simple here, and much is unknown. I just need to believe in his integrity and goodness. There is probably more complexity than we will ever learn.

I see Eduardo Pealver has started a thread on Popes and Dirty Wars.March 13, 2013, 10:09 pm

Nate Silver makes several interesting observations about the ages at which popes are elected. See "For Cardinals, Advantages in Choosing an Older Pope".

Let's hope "the truth will out", regardless where it leads.

Helen: maybe you have never listed to Arroyo on EWTN if you think that statement of his is stupid. It is typical Arroyo.But, then, maybe I need to say: ergo ......

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