Habemus Papem– We Have a Pope

Whether or not one is a Catholic or not, the naming of a Pope is a big moment for all Christians everywhere. After all, there are 1.196 billion Catholics in the world according to the Pontifical Factbook from last year. And of course the Catholic Church is at a crucial juncture, what with the sexual scandals and financial scandals, and the big concern that there are not enough priests, not least because of the celibacy requirement. The interviews in Vatican square had a theme— we need a Pope who will lead the people forward into the 21rst century and make some reforms. Hopefully that will in happen.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is the first Pope from outside of Europe, and almost half of all Catholics live in Central and South America, and the Hispanic part of the church is the fastest grow part of that church. He has chosen the name of Francis, as in Francis of Assisi, presumably because he has indeed followed the way of poverty and simplicity as a Cardinal. He road the bus, not the limo. He ate and lived simply. Unfortunately, he is also 76 years of age, and the report is he finished second to Cardinal Ratzinger at the last conclave.
Ideologically he would be seen as a moderate, but hopefully an agent of positive change. Almost his first words were to lead all those in Vatican square in the Lord’s prayer. It was a moving moment. Hardly ever does Christianity get this sort of coverage on all networks live. I would urge all of us to pray for this man. Who knows but that the Lord has big plans for his ministry? We shall see.

And now a bit of trivia… my new novel, set in Rome, which was written two years ago involves the Pontiff, the name I picked for the imaginary Pope in my story was Francis. Who knew I was a prophet? This is the first real Pope named Francis.

  • http://growinggrace-full.blogspot.com/ Chris Donato

    Good thoughts here, prophet! That “Francis” follows that of Francis Xavier, father of the Jesuits, with Pope Francis being the first of their order to become pope.

  • Esteban Bowers

    We have labored in South America for 25 years. It was fascinating to see a so called Latin priest become the new Pope. It was indeed moving to hear him pray the Lord’s Prayer but it was saddening to hear the second part of the Ave María. “…Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.”

  • http://www.theolobias.de Tobias Lampert

    It’s “habemus papam”, not “habemus papem”! :)

  • http://www.debatingobama.blogspot.com Greg Metzger

    That’s a great story, Ben! Maybe the new pontiff should be called Francis II.

  • Walker

    Dr. Ben, your use of colloquialisms appears to represent a southern “good ol boys” Methodism that lingers from past centuries. “Whether or not one is a Catholic or not” made me take a second look, Google your writings and worry even more about the future of our denomination.

  • http://growinggrace-full.blogspot.com/ Chris Donato

    I’m seeing everywhere that Assisi is indeed his namesake. But a Vatican spokesmen says Pope Francis has yet to clarify it. Ambiguity is better.

  • http://growinggrace-full.blogspot.com/ Chris Donato

    Ah, nevermind, Dolan mentions here that the pope said to the conclave that it was in honor of Assisi: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/video/8616695-cardinal-dolan-talks-about-the-choice-of-pope-francis/