First non-European (with the exception of Peter and some other very early Popes). First Latin American. First Jesuit. First Francis. Nobody saw this coming. Marvelous!

I don’t know anything about him, but what I saw I liked very much. The Global South is starting to make its impact felt on the consciousness of us self-absorbed first worlders. Thanks be to God!

God bless him to do his work through Christ our Lord.

I wonder which, if any, Francis he has in mind? I suspect he has several rolled up in the name, most prominently Francis of Assisi and Francis Xavier.

Oooh. This is gonna be good! World Youth Day in Rio is gonna be one major Partay!!!

I love, love, love that he asked for the prayers of the Church before blessing us. I loved the glory of a billion people praying the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be along with him all over the world. I loved receiving a papal blessing through my computer, along with everybody else. Wonderful!

Update: When I want to know what’s going on in Rome, I always turn to John Allen Jr., the best writer in English on things Vaticany. Here’s his take on then-Cardinal Bergoglio.

Francis' Baffling Chilean Appointment
Francis inspires rising tide of exorcists and exorcisms
Elizabeth Stoker-Bruenig has a Smart Look at Pope Francis
Pope Lauds Iran Nuke Deal
  • John

    This is the Papal equivalent of Joe Torre after Buck Showalter, as Yankees manager in 1996. Francis has a soft touch…definitely a Man of God, and a Man of the People. The choice of the name says it all to me.

  • JeffCq

    I love the fact that he made his first appearance in the plain white soutane (eschewing the rochet and mozetta). While I love the pomp of traditional Catholicism, that one gesture spoke volumes of his personal simplicity (Francis was a very apt choice of names indeed).

    • Molly

      I wondered what the significance of this was. Thanks for clarifying.

  • Kate
  • Chris

    It’s good to be Catholic. The Holy Spirit, IMHO, has spoken.

  • Dante Aligheri

    Habemus Papam!

    God Bless the Church Universal and may St. Francis of Assisi, my confirmation patron, pray for us!

  • Rock

    He’s socially conservative *AND* cares about the poor??? But we can’t put that on the political ideology spectrum! If only we had a word for that ideology!

    • John

      ‘Catholic’ doesn’t cut it?

    • midwestlady

      Be careful. It’s not 1968 anymore and the paradigms of the past no longer apply. Post-Reformation prescriptive Catholicism is now officially dead. That’s not a bad thing. It’ll just take some getting used to. Now we need to preach the Gospel day and night. The mission of Christ is our mission.

  • CK

    From the Allen article I think this says Assisi: “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.”

    • midwestlady

      Be careful what you read into that. The question you’d ought to be asking is how does he pray? How well does he know the Gospels and what part does it play in his life? Those are the real questions.

      • Jeremy Dobbs

        This is true, but these are subjective qualities which we have no business judging in others. We can only judge his record and his character.

        • midwestlady

          That’s actually not true. Reading scripture is the work of us all and so is prayer. So is evangelism. There’s nothing subjective about that. Matthew 28:18-20:

          “18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.””

  • Angela

    “I love, love, love that he asked for the prayers of the Church before blessing us. I loved the glory of a billion people praying the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be along with him all over the world. I loved receiving a papal blessing through my computer, along with everybody else. Wonderful!”

    My favorite parts as well!!! He just kind of stood there peacefully and took everything in. He seemed so tranquil, calm, humble and confident. I think this will be a great pontificate!! Vive il Papa!!!

  • Anthony

    First Pope from the Southern Hemisphere, wooh!
    He’s actually ethnically italian as his parents were poor immigrants to Argentina, although he is born there. He’s apparently named after St Francis Xavier who cofounded the Jesuits.

  • Maggie

    SO AWESOME!!!! I thought it was touching when he asked the people to pray that the Lord bless him before he gave the blessing.

    St. Francis Borgia was another Jesuit saint, indeed, the third General of the Jesuit order. So the name has multiple ties with Jesuit saints… but as others have said, I’m sure that it was St. Francis Xavier he had in mind.

    • KML

      I was in tears during that part. He strikes me as a very kind and humble man.

  • KML

    Very, very cool! I had fun watching it with my four year old (her middle name is Francesca). When I pointed out it was time for us to be blessed by our new Pope, she said incredulously, “He’s going to bless ALL of us? Even though we’re not in the TV??”.

    It is indeed a good day to be Catholic.

  • Will

    Did he follow the example of John Paul II and add a plenary indulgence?

    • Carol Weinstock

      I believe he did, but the translator made it hard to hear what was being said. I did hear the word indulgence at one point when he came out to greet everyone.

    • Irenist

      He did add a plenary indulgence, according to the EWTN/Guadalupe Radio affiliate here in West Texas.

  • Garth

    Will: He did. I’m no Latinist but I heard that part clearly.

    I was very impressed with Pope Francis’ humility and presence.

  • Kirt Higdon

    Congratulations and God bless Pope Francis I. And it must be a great day to be an Argentine. Argentina struck me as the most Catholic country of those I have visited.

  • CK

    And it’s a good day to be a Francis, Francesco, Francisco!

  • Carol Weinstock

    On a side note! On the adopt a cardinal site Mark posted a couple weeks ago, I was assigned to pray for Cardinal Bergoglio during the conclave.

  • Dustin

    The trads at Rorate Caeli are gnashing their teeth already. It’s simultaneously depressing and amusing. The things that horrify them are . . . curious. It seems to disturb them that he asked the throng to pray for him. Seriously–they’re upset that the Pope said, “Pray for me.” That he seems to have refused the mozetta, and only briefly wore the stole, has also set them off. Trads are so obsessed with papal couture and pomp that humility and simplicity openly offend them. What curious people.

    But a Jesuit pope. That’ll certainly be interesting.

    • TMLutas

      I don’t generally drop in on Rorate Caeli but I did on the basis of your comment. I think that it’s a bit more accurate to say that perhaps a third, perhaps 40% are gnashing their teeth, the rest calling for prayers for the pope from various positions on the fear/hope axis. Today is a day to be thankful for God’s guidance and to embrace each other as brothers and sisters. There’s time enough to get back to the fighting later.

    • midwestlady

      There’s some very nice teeth-gnashing going on in the comboxes at NCR too. They don’t like Pope Francis’ obedience to the Church on moral issues, it seems.

  • Tom R

    Yes, when one thinks of all the alternative outcomes of the conclave that would have led even professional Catholic bloggers to shake their heads and conclude sorrowfully “This cannot be the work of an infallible church founded by Jesus”… Instead, what actually happened demonstrates clearly and perspecuously – at least to anyone not blinded by their theological commitments – that God is guiding the Catholic Church.

    • Brandon

      I can’t tell if you’re serious or if this is really good satire.

  • Irenist

    Report from the Wikipedia trenches: it took about twenty minutes before they moved the article from the incorrect “Pope Francis I” to “Pope Francis” and got rid of the ignorant suggestion that Francis is the “first non-European pope.” I can understand never having heard of the African and Syrian popes of ancient and medieval times, but c’mon–don’t they know that Peter was from Galilee, which is in southwest Asia? “First non-European pope” my foot.

    • midwestlady

      I know, Irenist. It’s just pure ignorance on the part of the media, I think. They don’t apparently realize how many non-Europeans have been pope. They’d probably freak out if they realized that we’ve had black popes. And St. Augustine was a big handsome black man from North Africa.

      • Dustin

        Augustine was probably a Berber. But yes, certainly no gringo, he.

      • Arnold

        Those African popes in the early church were from Roman North Africa, likely a mix of European and Berber as was Augustine.

  • Dustin

    Also a lot of stereotyping from the trads, who assume that, because he’s from Latin America, he must be enamored of liberation theology. Accusations that the conclave was being “PC,” as if no non-white cardinal could possibly have been selected on his own merits. Again, what strange people.

    This is a significant milestone in several other ways: he’s the first pope to have been ordained after the council, nineteen days after the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum took effect. Meaning that his priestly life has been oriented entirely around the reformed Roman Rite, and seems unlikely to have ever celebrated the old Mass. This is as stark a generational transition as the church has seen in a long time. I’m impressed and moved by his apparent distaste for the lingering monarchical pretensions of the papacy. Maybe we’ll see the tiara struck from the Vatican flag. One may hope.

    • Dustin

      Correction: Bergoglio’s father was an Italian immigrant, so he’s of European extraction. I can’t find much on his mother. I’m learning about him as quickly as the rest of you are. Still, the assumptions about him are rather offensive. “PC.” Crikey.

    • midwestlady

      We’ve got strangeness all over today. Americans are the most prejudiced dorks on the planet, I swear. We go out of our way to look as non-prejudicial as we humanly can by being as prejudiced as possible. ROFLOL. It’s insanely stupid.

  • Harry Piper

    And as Andrew Sullivan simultaneously accuses the new Pope of complicity in murder and kidnapping AND hopes that his election will lead to a shift in doctrine over gay people Rorate Caeli throws a wobbly over the Pope’s insufficient love of the Latin Mass. Ah, well – pray for them both.
    In the mean time, let’s celebrate the fact that we have a new Pope!

    • Susan

      A shift in doctrine over gay people? Sullivan needs to step away from the bong. Just one example: as Cardinal, Pope Francis said that allowing homosexual adoption was “child abuse.”!

    • midwestlady

      Oh well, everyone who complains constantly about the Church now has someone entirely new to complain about! It’s all good.

  • Scott W.

    Before the wiki entry editing war began, everything about his views seemed doctrinally sound as a pound.

  • James White

    Thanks Mark. Yes, I did pray the Our Father and the Hail Mary as I watched the scene unfold on my phone as I walked to the bus in the still dark morning. It seemed a personal moment at the time, but I guess I was doing it with millions of others around the world, what a fantastic thing.

  • Rosemarie


    I was in the car when I found out. Wow. Speechless. This is great. Viva il Papa!

    • midwestlady

      Did you run over anything? I was sitting down. As surprised as I was, it’s probably a good thing.

      • Rosemarie


        I was in the process of parallel parking when the DJ mentioned the white smoke. I was surprised they had chosen one so quickly. I then switched to the all-news station and continued backing into the space, which was a little harder now because of the excitement. Somehow I managed to do it. It was a little surreal.

  • TheEpic95

    Inlove the simplicity of the prayers he chose to kick every thing off. It didnt matter that it was in Italian, we all grew up praying the Our father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be and could join in.

  • kmk

    Maybe St Frances of Rome, whose feast day was recently, as well!