Before you rule him out, as some may do, consider all the bad options that could have resulted from this papal election. Consider, as well the signs after the ex-pope resigned: the lightening strike; the earthquake. And ponder the delightful image of the seagull perching on the Vatican chimney, just prior to the election of a pope, who has chosen the name of Francis. You can say these are just coincidences. But really, nothing is merely coincidental.
Given those, from among whom a choice was made, we have a pretty good result: A humble man, a man who lives very simply, a man concerned about the poor and the disaffected. It also speaks well of the conclave that they sought someone unassuming, whose bearing seems to breathe a life of quiet prayer.
Let's give this man a chance, the benefit of the doubt, our fervent prayers. For none of us is perfect. And no one could possibly provide, as pope, all that everyone is hoping for. For me, a person's worth can be seen in his body language, his manner of speech, whether he seems full of himself or full of love for his brothers and sisters. In that regard Pope Francis wins me over - his bearing, his humility, all these suggest hopefulness to me.
I will admit I was moved to tears - again and again - during his first appearance. And folks, I have never been moved to tears by a pope!
This charming recollection by the new Pope's former spokesman:
An anecdote from his former spokesman Guillermo Marcó when Bergoglio was the archbishop of Buenos Aires. On February 21, 2001, Bergoglio was in Rome to be anointed cardinal. As they got ready to leave the house for priests where they were staying, Marcó asked how they should travel to the Vatican.
"Walking, of course," said Bergolgio. Marcó protested that Bergoglio was wearing his red robe. "Don't worry," Bergoglio said. "In Rome you could walk with a banana on your head an nobody would say anything."
When they arrived to the Holy see on foot, the Vatican guard was astounded. "The majority of cardinals arrived with large retinues," Marcó said. "Bergoglio arrived with just myself and a couple of relatives." [The Guardian]
The bottom line:
Here, to my mind, is the key to the Papacy of Francis, Bishop of Rome, whose choice of a name (and emphasis of a title) underscore his theological understanding of his role and calling at this moment in the catholic church, akin to that of St. Francis in his own time:
St. Francis was moved when praying by a voice from the altar, which spoke these words: “Go, Francis, and repair my house, which as you see is falling into ruin.”I have posted a reflection on the scriptural underpinnings of these words which St. Francis passed along to us, and which undoubtedly would be well known to this new Pope - who has chosen to follow (and lead us along) the path of his forebear. (You can find it here.)