First thoughts about Pope Francis

First thoughts about Pope Francis


  Pope Francis greets the crowd in St. Peter's Square

Wow.

The first Jesuit pope. The first Latin American pope. The first pope to choose the name Francis.

And already there are signs that he will find a new way of being pope. Asking for the people's prayers for God's blessing before delivering your own, for example, was a pretty eloquent act of humility.

Within minutes, the Vatican had announced that Pope Francis' first major audience will be on Saturday, when he meets the more than 5,000 journalists covering his election.

I was part of the live ABC News panel this evening watching it all unfold, perched above St. Peter's Square. Diane Sawyer anchored, with fellow commentators Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, Terry Moran and Cokie Roberts. 

When we heard the name "Bergoglio" in the "Habemus Papam" announcement, we all did a double-take. As I wrote here two days ago, I had heard Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio's name increasingly mentioned by some well-informed people, so he was high on my short list. But his election on the second day of the conclave surprised me. It meant he was not a compromise candidate the cardinals turned to after voting stalled on front-runners, but the first choice of many going into the conclave.

His simple lifestyle as archbishop in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is well-known -- he doesn't live in a mansion but in a simple apartment, he doesn't have a driver but takes the bus, he even cooks his own meals.

As a communicator, he's no superstar speech-giver, and we saw that in his low-key appearance on the balcony tonight. Look for him to communicate through gestures, prayers and decisions. Simplicity will be key. Some of his first decisions will be the most interesting: who he chooses as his top officials at the Vatican, and whether he moves toward some of the reforms called for by cardinals over the last few weeks.

He'll also outline some of his plans, including travel plans, we assume. If he goes to Brazil for World Youth Day next July, don't be surprised to see him add a stop in Argentina.



24 comments (Add your own)

1. taad wrote:
We are little affraid this could be a bad thing. Mary help us! The liturgy is going out the window. Why Benedict? Why?

Wed, March 13, 2013 @ 5:16 PM

2. Yae wrote:
I agree with your initial analysis. I like him very much already and will pray for him in earnest, so that he will guide us towards Christ and conversion in a radical way as did his predecessors. God bless Papa Francis I!

Wed, March 13, 2013 @ 5:16 PM

3. Oana Peţa wrote:
I like him very much. God bless him with the strenght to do good to this world and may he fulfill God`s will.

Wed, March 13, 2013 @ 6:22 PM

4. Maggie wrote:
I say WOW too. I don't know why, but I cried when they announced him pope and again later when he asked for prayer. He is going to be a special pope.

Wed, March 13, 2013 @ 6:48 PM

5. Bridget wrote:
I think this man may well have walked down the Hall of Humility you wrote about the other day. That can only be a good thing.

Wed, March 13, 2013 @ 6:56 PM

6. Jerome Sweeney wrote:
The first thing I thought of when I heard that the the Holy father had chosen the name Francis was the words of Our Lord to St. Francis....." Fracis...repair my Church "!

Wed, March 13, 2013 @ 7:01 PM

7. Vicki wrote:
I am following this from Latin-America (thank you for a very informative and interesting blog), and I would like to ask you what your take is on the new pope's past as head of the Jesuit Order in Argentina during the period of military dictatorship. Accusations about complicit silence at the least, and active backing of the junta at the worst, have started to resurface. I know that an official apology have been given by the Catholic Church in Argentina - for not standing up to a brutal regime. The new pope's role in this seems to be a subject of controversy. What is your view on this: does the new pope start out with a history that is bound to divide the world's catholics (and public opinion), or might this be the chance for him and the Catholic Church to turn a new page - for real?

Wed, March 13, 2013 @ 8:55 PM

8. Samuel wrote:
This Is good for the Church. He is orthodox.

Wed, March 13, 2013 @ 9:00 PM

9. Ema wrote:
I like him too, even though I don't know too much about him. He fits the descriptioin for pope though. My R.E teacher likes him as well.

Wed, March 13, 2013 @ 10:21 PM

10. Ken wrote:
The Holy Spirit can surprise us from time to time. Look at the last two Popes. My prayers are with
Pope Francis.

Wed, March 13, 2013 @ 10:21 PM

11. Augustine wrote:
It is wonderful. God bless our Pope FRANCIS. VAZHKA PAPARASAR.

Wed, March 13, 2013 @ 10:42 PM

12. midwestlady wrote:
He is an evangelist. It will be all right. He's not so different from Benedict XVI in some ways, on the things that count the most. And he will clean up some messes.

Wed, March 13, 2013 @ 11:21 PM

13. Michael Jaffray King wrote:
Wow!!!!!!! Thank you Jesus and Mary..False prophets seem to be totally exposed!!!
The you know who did not seem to get their man in. A stunning goal for God against the devil.

Thu, March 14, 2013 @ 12:25 AM

14. vanessa SA wrote:
Amen I feel a huge change coming I simply Love Him already Praise an Glory.

Thu, March 14, 2013 @ 1:29 AM

15. vanessa SA wrote:
Amen big changes I predict. New vibe. Can't wait. I am the happiest person today Amen. Thank You Lord Amen

Thu, March 14, 2013 @ 2:02 AM

16. Carles wrote:
taad,

READ:

At that time Jesus answered and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to the little ones. 26Yea, Father; for so hath it seemed good in thy sight.

THERE'S NOT THE LEAST DOUBT THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT DID HIS WORK IN THE COCNCLAVE IN CHOOSING OUR NEW SPIRITUAL FATHER. IT PROVES THAT IT IS GOING TO BE A NEW ERA, RIGHT FROM HIS NAME. JESUS TOLD ST. FRANCIS : BUILT MY CHURCH! AND HE DID! THIS TIME I AM SURE THAT HE SAID: REFORM AND GIVE NEW SPIRIT, AND NEW LIFE TO MY CHURCH BECAUSE I ASKED THE OLD CHURCH TO LEAVE!

JESUS OWNS AND IS RUNNING HIS CHURCH NO MATTER WHAT!

WE ARE 200 YEARS BEHIND!


I LOVE YOU HOLY FATHER FRANCIS!!!

I PRAYED DURING CONCLAVE,AND I FEEL THAT I WAS HEARD SINCE YOU INTRODUCED YOURSELF IN THAT POWERFUL HUMBLE MANNER,AND I'M CONVINCED THAT YOU ARE ALREADY AT THE JUST PINNACLE IN THE HEART OF ALL JUST CATHOLICS,CHRISTIANS, AND OTHER RELIGIONS OF GOOD WILL.

I WILL NEVER STOP PRAYING FOR YOU LIKE ALL JUST CATHOLICS DO!

Thu, March 14, 2013 @ 2:29 AM

17. Non-practicing Catholic wrote:
This makes me want to go back to Mass ASAP. All I can say is WOW! This is simply stunning, and I think Pope Francis will be good for the Church.

Thu, March 14, 2013 @ 3:10 AM

18. Fran Rossi Szpylczyn wrote:
I recently began reading "The Vatican Diaries," so I watched all of yesterday's events unfold through a slightly different lens... and gratefully so.

It is no surprise that everyone is trying to force him into a particular mold, but this is a man who will not easily (thanks be to God) fit into the simplistic conservative/liberal labels that are thrown around in the press and via social media.

My go-to "saints" for intercession on this matter (and on the matter of my own diocese, where our bishop, Howard J. Hubbard will soon reach retirement age)have been John XXIII, Oscar Romero, and Cardinal Bernadin. I think of them as men of transformation and change. I will continue to pray for their intercession for Pope Francis.

If we are not fixed on transformation and hope, as opposed to holding the ground that suits our own particular desires, what are we doing as Catholic Christians?

There are things about him that I absolutely and thrilled about, and things that worry me... but he is now the Bishop of Rome and our Holy Father. I am grateful and will keep praying, for the transformation of all of us.

Thu, March 14, 2013 @ 4:07 AM

19. Jeanne Marie wrote:
PRAISE GOD! PRAISE GOD! PRAISE GOD!!!


POPE FRANCIS IS EXACTLY WHAT HIS CHURCH NEEDED. Thank goodness HS didn't give us what we deserved!

GOD BLESS AND VIVA LA PAPA!!!!

Thu, March 14, 2013 @ 4:41 AM

20. Nonnie aka Norma wrote:
I had seen that a pope was elected first on Facebook. Immediately I turned on the TV to the news channel. The video of the announcement played, and then our new pope spoke. I too had tears running down my cheeks. Relief? Joy? I don't know for sure, but I do know that our society with which everything must be NOW is wrong. Of course, Pope Francis has a lot on his plate. But if one is true to one's beliefs, give our new Church leader a chance to take a breath, entrust himself to the Holy Spirit, and get on to his vocation.
I will pray for Pope Francis, just as I prayed for the conclave to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit

Thu, March 14, 2013 @ 10:19 AM

21. Susan wrote:
I am continually amazed at how we are given exactly what we need in terms of a Pope. WE needed Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and we need Pope Francis.

My heart is so full. Indeed "My cup runneth over."

Thu, March 14, 2013 @ 10:49 AM

22. Charles wrote:
AND CAll NONE YOUR FATHER UPON EARTH; FOR ONE IS YOUR FATHER, WHO IS IN HEAVEN.

10Neither be ye called masters; for one is you master, Christ.

11He that is the greatest among you shall be your servant.

12And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled: and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.



We should be more satisfied with just BISHOP OF ROME , LIKE PETER WAS!!!

THEN ALL CHRISTIAN CHURCHES SHOULD FUNCTION FROM ROME UNDER ONE VERSATILE AND UNIVERSAL CHURCH.THAT WILL BE THE DAY!!!

Thu, March 14, 2013 @ 12:07 PM

23. Father Malley wrote:
About time we had a Pope whose focus is on the poor and not keeping power. Hopefully JP II rush to Sainthood is closed like those abuse files of years ago.

Good Job (this time) by the Holy Spirit. And the liturgical changes (if any) is the least of this Church's problems.

Thu, March 14, 2013 @ 12:18 PM

24. Charles wrote:
SUSAN,

The genious Emeritus Benedict XVI did the most just and spirited act when he resigned.THANKS TO THE HOLY SPIRIT. From now on we could look at the past era and the new era in one instant. We can look at Emeritus Benedict XVI and admire his OWN POPE ERA ending process,THE ERA OF MATERIALIZM, and ALL THE REST. Which I could call it the OT.of the Catholic.POPERA! So instead of waited and maintained the TRADITIONAL PROCESS TO KEEP ON FUNCTIONING, HE ENDED IT, SEALED IT, AND PROCLAIMED THE WAY TO THE NEW ERA.THE SPIRITUALITY ERA,THE REAL GOSPEL.

ALLELUIA

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS WORKING FOR SURE!!!

Thu, March 14, 2013 @ 1:07 PM

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