I had finished my reading and had some time before class started so, as is done now, I pulled out my phone and checked twitter. White smoke was scene and a new Pope has been chosen. I plugged in my headphones and tuned in Minnesota Public Radio on their app. When the biggest reveal of a world leader was finished, Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, asked for a moment of silent prayer for himself. I did hold that moment of silence in hope for a good shift in the Vatican.
My personal relationship growing up and to this day with the Catholic Church is complicated and is a story for another time. Let’s say I come at this from the angle of an agnostic Episcopalian who believes it is more important to do good work than whom and how you worship.
This Pope comes in at a time of great scandal and revealed corruption within the Vatican. The Catholic Church is behind, as it always is, on changes in science and society. In the United States the Church establishment has been at odds even with its own nuns.
Now Pope Francis the first. A man who took a taxi instead of the available private car to the Vatican to participate in the conclave that made him the infallible voice of over 1 billion people. As cardinal, he refrained from living the luxurious mansion and instead lived in a one bedroom apartment and took public transportation.
He lost a lung when he was young, graduated a technical school as a chemical technician, and was a teacher. But what I have learned about him and his history is he is a humble man. That is why I chose this meme for the article. Without the grand colored robes and a friendly wave he presented himself to the world. He didn’t come out as the new voice of God. He came out honored with the trust that had been thrust upon him.
Yes he is against homosexuality and contraception, he is a Catholic Pope. If you were hoping for anything less on those views you are not familiar with the Catholic Church. What I had hoped for was a man from outside the Vatican who is more interested in helping people than holding any position much less the papacy.
“[w]e live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least … [t]he unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers”
– Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio 2007 source
These words would have fit coming out of the mouth of Martin Luther King Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi or from someone at an Occupy event. But they were the words of the new Pope. I cannot ask for more. I hope he spreads his preordination life and views into the Vatican. It could do with a little more heart.