We have a pope!
Pope Francis I, in fact. In his native Argentina, he'll be spoken of as Papa Francisco. What's cool about that sentence is that the artist formerly known as Cardinal Bergoglio is from Argentina -- the first pope from the Americas! Admittedly, he's the son of Italian immigrants and so is not exactly a stretch from the usual, ethnically, but we'll take what we can get! He's also the first Jesuit pope! I love Jesuits!
So far, my favorite thing about him is that, while he served as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he did not ride in his limousine but rather took public transportation. And he said this:
"Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit," Cardinal Bergoglio told Argentina's priests last year. "In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don't baptize the children of single mothers because they weren't conceived in the sanctity of marriage. These are today's hypocrites. Those who clericalize the Church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it's baptized!"
That's certainly unusual.
I am torn between my unbridled idealism that says we're in for a new era of the papacy and my knowledge of history that says a whole lotta otherwise.
Yes, he is outspokenly against the liberation of women and of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters--this cannot be denied or overlooked. But since he has even one drop of liberation theology in his blood, I believe we're in for a treat, y'all. I can't really explain why I feel so good about him. I heard the announcement in Latin on NPR and could not control my tears. I had never heard his name (he was not on any pundit radars, which is another reason why he rules so hard) and so had now way of knowing that he was going to be pretty rad, as far as cardinals go.
There's something at work here (Holy Spirit, blah blah blah) that has allowed this relatively unlikely man to hold the seat of Peter (a total goofball of a disciple, when you think about it) and suddenly be the shepherd of 1.2 billion Catholics around the globe.
What's a major bummer is that a bunch of people I love and respect are running their mouths all over the internet about how it doesn't matter that there's a new pope because the church is a "joke" (expletive deleted), and that there cannot be progress because "all priests are child rapists." I'm pretty disgusted by that claim and that attitude in general. Doing what you believe to be the work of Jesus in the world is never easy, and humans do terrible things. I would not ever apologize for the crimes against humanity that have been committed by an as-yet-unknown number of priests. But to assert that there has never been any good work done in the name of Jesus is so deeply offensive to me.
This pope has important work to do. (All popes have important work to do.) This pope has to step out in front of an unprecedented scandal and put it right. Simultaneously, this pope has to reform the largest institution on the planet. There are a lot of people to pray for and a lot of oppressed to liberate and a lot of children to raise and a lot of masses to celebrate and a lot of sermons to preach and a lot of beautiful vestments to wear...and, frankly, I'm glad he's the one in the red velvet slippers, now.
Whatever way you stack it, this is a historic day, and I hereby refuse to apologize for my excitement.