Getting to know the new Holy Father…

I want to start by saying that I think I’ve already fallen in love with our dear Holy Father Pope Francis. I must confess that, having purposely not followed in too greater detail who all the front runners were etc, and knowing vaguely that there were mainly Italians and Latin Americans under serious consideration, with the occasional wild card here or there – all of whom I didn’t really know – I was secretly hoping for Dolan or O’Malley, if only cause they were English speakers that I knew – I know, I know, both were long shots, and I see that Dolan’s mother is glad to have her boy on his way home. Of course, I knew whoever got the job would be the choice of the Holy Spirit…but we all had our favourite picks (see the Fantasy Conclave initiative!)

So my heart sank ever so slightly when I saw the unfamiliar name on Thursday morning. But it didn’t take long, once I read the coverage and started to get to know dear Francis, and, as I figure is the case when the Holy Spirit gifts someone to the world for a special purpose, I can’t help but feel a great affection and love for him already. I can’t wait to get to know him more, as the person who stands to be the sign of unity for the Church, in the place of Christ. I don’t expect of him perfection, but I have great hope of the way in which he will lead the Church and be an example to us in how to imitate Christ. I don’t expect him to be Benedict or JPII or John XXIII or like any other Pope – but to be Pope Francis, the first.

It got me thinking because one of the things that the secular media has perhaps struggled to do in this whole affair is to value the two for who they are, instead of trying to rank one against the other. Seems like the Holy Father Francis is going to get a reasonably ‘popular vote’ from the secular world – all the anecdotes about his simple life strike a chord, and so they should, and the break with tradition (not Tradition) in terms of his geography, his religious order etc – but I think the secular world would be mistaken to think that it signals a ‘break from the past’ (and they’re probably quite disappointed to find that he’s still orthodox…”Darnit, when are they going to get with the times??!!”) but that he is different to every previous Pope in the same way that every previous Pope is different to every other and every other Pope to come will be different in some way. Each has a charism, has a defining character, has a role to play, and they bring out a different side of the same prism – the person of Jesus Christ who is the Word, the source of all meaning, reason and purpose, and the source of our salvation.

Hurrah! Habemus Papam!!!

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