Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habent Papam

That is, they have a pope.

From La Capital
As we were posting that last note about the now-forgotten Otilo Scherer, the white smoke went up over the Piazza San Pietro.  From the online coverage (yeah, okay, we watched EWTN), it was a cold, wet night, but the crowds seemed pretty enthusiastic.  The flags were waving, the seminarians were running, the Swiss Guard marched in with their pikes and pointy helmets.

For a long time, nothing happened.  The commentators droned on meaninglessly, the camera shifted from long to tight focus, and nothing happened.  It was like watching golf.

Then came Cardinal Tauran, to make the brief and historic announcement.  It is Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, 76,  the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.   He will reign as Francis, the first of that name -- even though he is a Jesuit.   Frances has a reputation for doctrinal orthodoxy, and has shown no love for the liberationists.  His approach to social reform is of the "purify your hearts and society will follow" school. He was a contender in the 2005 conclave, but had been largely dismissed by the press this year, on the basis of his age.

He was not, it seems, dismissed by his peers.

Frances is, obviously, the first New World pope, the first Latin American, the first Jesuit.  He is also the first native Spanish speaker to serve as pope since the 15th century.  

He does not appear to have much experience of Curial service; it's hard to know what to make of this.  On one hand, he probably owes few debts.  On the other, it may be hard for him to master a deeply entrenched bureaucracy.

We congratulate our Roman Catholic cousins, and will keep their new pontiff in our prayers.

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