When a cardinal has been selected by the college of cardinals to be pope, he is taken into a private chapel and asked two questions: Do you want the job? and By what name will you administer the church?”
When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen and asked those questions, he answers were obviously “yes” and “Francis I.”
It is a surprise in many ways that Cardinal Bergoglio was chosen. First, he is the first pope chosen from the western side of the Atlantic Ocean. He is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Second, he is a Jesuit. This is astonishing because of the antipathy that many Catholic orders feel towards the Society of Jesus.
I once asked my Jesuit friend, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J., if there would ever be a Jesuit pope and he snorted and said, “No cardinal would ever vote for one us.”
It is interesting to hear the commentators talk about Bergoglio’s choice of the name “Francis I.” A new name for what may be a new focus for the papacy. So far, each one I have heard has said with glistening eyes that it is wonderful that the pope would choose to honor “Blessed St. Francis of Assisi” in this way. Obviously this pope would follow the simple life of St. Francis and establish a humbler model of the papacy. While those sentiments may be true and I hope they are, they are forgetting the new pope’s Jesuit background.
Standing on behalf of the ignored is what we may hope to see in Pope Francis I. The ignored are no longer just people in foreign lands who have not “heard the Gospel;” they are the poor and humiliated who have been ignored by their governments and by the wealthy. In that way, both Francises are honored.
Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical “Rerum Novarum” may still have something to say to this papacy about the world of labor and wealth, communism and unrestricted capitalism. It remains a book worth reading over a hundred years after its writing.
I know that Pope Francis I has read it. I hope that he has heeded it.
This site and the material contained herein is protected by copyright and trademark laws under U.S. and International law. No part may be copied without written permission of the author.
© copyright 2011-2013. Travis Rogers, Jr. All rights reserved.