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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."


Commenting Guidelines

"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 ......