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Thursday, March 14, 2013

A closer look at Pope Francis

Vatican Insider 
takes a closer look at the man 
who has just been elected to the Papal Throne.

A not-so-hidden candidate was there. This is the only way to explain the (speed) at which the Conclave was concluded yesterday, with the new Pope being elected almost within the same time frame as Ratzinger was in the 2005 Conclave, only this time he was not present.

 He was the one who gave the shortest speech out of all his fellow cardinals during last week’s General Congregations, keeping within the allotted five minutes. He gave a heartfelt speech about a Church capable of mirroring God's merciful side.

Pope Francis

The election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the first Jesuit and Latin American Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, the first Pope to take the name of Francis, came as a surprise to many. It had seemed that the Cardinals were seeking a young Pope and yet they elected a 76-year-old one. It had seemed they were going to choose a “governor” for the Roman Curia but they chose one of the cardinals who is most removed from the careerism, games and networking of the Roman Curia.

 The election of Francis marks a turning point. It had never happened in the recent history of the Church that there was the election of the second-placed at the previous conclave, nor that a Pontiff, appearing for the first time at the balcony of Saint Peter's Basilica, before blessing the faithful, asked the faithful for a prayer and a blessing for him.

 In recent years, Bergoglio has always acknowledged the risk for the Church of becoming self-referential: "If the Church stays wrapped up in itself, it will age. And if I had to choose between a wounded Church that goes out onto the streets and a sick withdrawn Church, I would definitely choose the first one."

 Of course, his election is in line with the direction cardinals indicated they wanted the Church to go in, in the recent General Congregations: reform of the Curia, greater collegiality, preventing the recent scandals from recurring. But, although it is easy to predict steps in this direction, the priority for all voters was to elect a man of God, a witness most of all. His choice of appearing at the balcony accompanied by the Vicar of Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, and the insistence, with which he emphasized the bond of the Bishop with the Diocese of the eternal city, is an important sign; the sign of a pontificate that, above all, underlines the link with the local church, the bond of the pastor with his people.

 It is not easy to make predictions about the future choices of the new Pope, about whom he will choose to bring to the Secretariat of State, about how he intends to address the issue of financial transparency and the problems of the IOR, on which decisions he will take after reading the Vatileaks dossier pages with sorrow. But starting from the name and the humble style with which he presented himself to the faithful, to the Church and to the world yesterday evening, it is possible to understand that this institution with 2,000 years of history on his shoulders has once again been able to renew itself and amaze.

 A Jesuit who chooses a Franciscan name, who chooses to name himself after the great Italian Saint, the great reformer of the radical side of the Gospel, is a sign of hope and a call for change for the whole Church.

Source: Vatican Insider

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