And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. ~Matthew 16:18-19
Yesterday, the announcement of our newly chosen pope came in the form of white smoke exiting the Sistine Chapel. That was the first sign the conclave chose our successor to St. Peter.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires has accepted his elected position as our new Catholic leader at the age of 76. He has taken the name Pope Francis. Immediately, upon hearing his new identification, with which the world will refer to him, I wondered as many have, why the chosen name of Francis? The Huffington Post commented:
It’s unclear if the pope’s name is a reference to St. Francis Xavier, a 16th-century priest who was one of the first Jesuits, or St. Francis of Assisi, a 13th-century friar who founded the Franciscan order of priests.
In addition to making history as being our 266th Pope, Pope Francis is also the first Latin American Pope as well as the first Jesuit priest.
The secret voting of the sworn in cardinals, concluded within just two days of the conclave meetings. There were five rounds of voting, resulting in Pope Francis receiving 77 votes out of the 115 eligible cardinals in the conclave. This was the minimum two-thirds required to become pope. A little comparison, Pope Francis’ predecessor took two days and four voting rounds before former Pope Benedict XVI was elected in 2005.
The Pope is walking into office with a lot of upheaval, unrest, scandal and transformation. Really? I don’t think this election is unlike any previous one, unfortunately. There are always issues to address and sin to worn against and debase. I am very happy to hear that Pope Francis is upholding the conservative and traditional views and doctrine of the Catholic church. As long as he holds true to the word of God, he can’t go wrong.
Pope Francis’ actions have already exemplified his chosen position of God’s servant. I read on the Huffington Post:
But Francis, who was rumored in 2005 to be the runner-up to Benedict, also brings a more pastoral sensibility to the church, said the Rev. Raymond J. Kupke, an adjunct professor of church history at Seton Hall University. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he reportedly rode the bus to work, did his own cooking and visited the poor in Argentine slums. Instead of living in an archbishop’s palace, he chose to live in a small room in a downtown Buenos Aires home.
The Rev. James Martin stated, “The name Francis is a clear indication of his desire to focus on the poor.”
Pope Francis is expected to uphold and maintain the Catholic values and doctrine of the church including topics on sexuality, abortion, marriage and contraception.
He has also shown compassion for people with HIV and AIDS; in 2001, he visited AIDS patients in a hospice where he washed and kissed the feet of 12 patients.
On Tuesday at 4:30 pm Rome time, during the feast of St. Joseph, Pope Francis will formally take the position of the Pope, even though he is technically considered Pope presently.
As with tradition, Pope Francis will descend to the grottos of St. Peter’s Basilica, where the first Pope St. Peter is buried. In front of the cardinals he will recite “I leave from where the apostle arrived.” Then, he will lead a procession to St. Peter’s Square and begin the installation Mass. During mass, Pope Francis will receive the Fisherman’s Ring, the ring of the pope. Of course, part of his immediate responsibilities will include meeting other members of the clergy, becoming acclimated in his new surroundings and such.
There is a lot do to turn this world around. God Speed to Pope Francis! I pray we see good things from God’s mediator and our chosen apostolic successor.