Stanley Hauerwas says that the choice of a Jesuit to be the new Bishop of Rome tells us a lot about where the Roman Catholic Church is headed in the near future. That Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose the name Francis tells us perhaps even more. Saint Francis – born into wealth – divested himself of everything not simply to minister to the poor, but to become poor himself. I hope that Hauerwas is right. Everything I’ve read so far about Bergoglio’s bio seems to indicate that he lives in real solidarity with the poor. I don’t think that’s something one can simply shut off when power is suddenly thrust upon him. This makes me hopeful.
I’ve heard some progressives lament that Francis I is extremely conservative. But true compassion always seems to trump those kinds of distinctions. The more I read about this choice, the more excited I become. I think he will be a leader much more in the vein of John Paul II. He was conservative, but his leadership was good news for the poor.
Here’s a clip from Hauerwas: