So, I’m thinking now’s a good time to be getting all Catholic on the blog because HABEMUS PAPAM, y’all! This doesn’t happen every day–I mean, this is only the fourth time it’s happened in my whole life (which is edging ever closer toward the–gasp–half-century mark).
Pope Paul VI was just a picture on the school wall to me, less important by far than Father Henkel, whose picture was up there too. Pope John Paul I, bless his heart, wasn’t around long enough to make an impression. I just remember being enraged when I got to school one morning and a classmate (it was Chris Clem, I remember) announced that he was dead. (Isn’t it weird to think of how long it used to take to find out things?) I loved Pope John Paul II, as did most of the world. (Fun fact: he was a good poker player, according to a Polish History professor at Georgetown who knew this from personal experience.) I knew he’d be a tough act to follow but I’ve got no complaints about Pope Benedict XVI. His graceful resignation, I believe, will turn out to have been a great gift to the Church, as it has resulted in . . .
Pope Francis! Just the name makes me swoon. St. Francis, apparently the most beloved saint according to everyone on the Internet (do they go by the number of yard statues, I wonder? The number of people who choose him as Confirmation saint?). So many ideas come to mind when we hear his name–his Prayer for Peace, the Canticle of the Sun, preaching to the birds, talking to the wolf, holiness, poverty, stigmata, the Franciscans, “Rebuild my Church . . .” No matter what was going on in the Holy Father’s head when he picked that name, it had to be good.
He’s a Jesuit! I went to Georgetown so I love Jesuits. Now certain people can just stop making sly comments about them because the POPE IS ONE SO IT’S NOT NICE.
He’s from Latin America! I wanted a Pope from Latin America or Africa so thank you, Holy Spirit, for taking note. Seriously, though, the Church in Europe is in a bad way. Most of the Catholic countries of Europe seem to be so in name only. Churches are empty. Maybe some fresh blood is a good idea?
Then there’s everything I’ve read about him and I know you’ve read it too–kissing the feet of AIDS victims and riding buses and cooking his own meals . . . even the anti-Catholic muckrakers (and oh how they are always out in full force) haven’t been able to find much mud to sling.
Finally, just look at him! He looks kind, don’t you think?