There are few moments in the world that equal the international significance of the election of a Pope. As such, its worth taking a second to reflect. So. I’m not Catholic; though at times past that seemed likely, it has proven impossible. But on the election of Pope Francis, I want to say: You could have done worse, conclave of Bishops.
By electing Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, the Catholic Church has selected the first Pope from the Americas, and the first non-European Pope of the Modern Era. They have also chosen the first Jesuit Pope, ever. Which I find remarkable, and delightful. For centuries, the Jesuits have thorned the side of Rome, and for that I’ve always admired them. Finally, this will be the first Pope Francis. Francis I. A Jesuit Pope in the Franciscan name.
All of us environmental folks, and nature worshipers and cosmic minded fools, love Francis of Assisi. In the religious world, he’s our guy. And for good reason. He was brother even to the birds. In Francis the Church has a saint compassionate for all living things, outwardly, in such a fashion that nature, itself, cannot be ignored in his life.
So on Saint Francis’s account I’ll take this moment as encouragement, and ignore for now the background of the man that adds to my despair with the Church; one does not become Pope by being politically or socially progressive. Instead, take this moment for Francis of Assisi, brother of the birds and sun and moon.