Thursday, March 14, 2013

Habemus Papam!

These are the words that announce the election of a new pope and his identity.  In this case, it is Jorge Mario Bergoglio who will be known as Pope Francis.  He is the first Pope to use this name.
Francis is a most appropriate name as St. Francis Xavier was one of the founders of his order of the Society of Jesus and St. Francis of Assisi was an example of humility and showing by actions the evangelization of the Christian faith.

In a long time-honored tradition in the history of the Catholic Church, the eligible Cardinals who are qualified to participate meet in the Sistine Chapel to choose a successor to Peter as the Bishop of Rome and the head of the Catholic Church.  They do so in absolute privacy so they are free of outside influences to affect their deliberations and choice.  Much is made of the fact that this is done in “secrecy” but that is said blithely and ignoring the fact that the absence of undue influence is paramount so that the Cardinals can prayerfully make their selection of the new Pope.
Pope Francis is the first non-European to serve in this capacity since the 8th Century.  He is the first Pope from the Americas and from the Southern Hemisphere.  He is a Jesuit and leads a very humble life in a one room apartment and taking a bus to get to work.  Quite remarkable for a cleric holding the high office of Cardinal.  Now, what remarkable changes he will undergo as he follows in the footsteps of St. Peter as his successor in leadership of this Catholic Church!

Those are the basics about his background.  But, what are his positions on critical theological issues? According to Wikipedia, he vigorously opposes abortion and euthanasia as part of “the culture of death.”  Wikipedia, also, reports, “(h)e has affirmed church teaching on homosexuality, though he teaches the importance of respecting individuals who are homosexual. He strongly opposed legislation introduced in 2010 by the Argentine Government to allow same-sex marriage, calling it a "real and dire anthropological throwback". In a letter to the monasteries of Buenos Aires, he wrote: "Let's not be naive, we're not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God." He has also insisted that adoption by homosexuals is a form of discrimination against children. This position received a rebuke from Argentine president Cristina Fern√°ndez de Kirchner, who said the church's tone was reminiscent of ‘medieval times and the Inquisition’.

“In the Aparecida Document, a joint statement of the bishops of Latin America, Pope Francis I, as Cardinal Bergoglio, commented on the worthiness of individuals to receive the Eucharist. The text states in paragraph 436 that, ‘We should commit ourselves to ‘eucharistic coherence’, that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive Holy Communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortion, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals’."
In light of these comments, his beliefs, and background, what will he do in his new, important and awesome position?  Obviously, it is too soon to know and anything stated is mere speculation of no more validity than tea reading.  We can only hope and pray that he will do what is right and provide the theological and practical leadership as Supreme Pontiff to guide the Church during this 21st Century of its existence.  After all, that is one of the first things that he asked of us as Pope.

Now, you know what I think and I would very much like to know what you think about this subject.   

Let the light of our Lord shine upon you!

Ray Makowski, Co-Founder, Director and Secretary-Treasurer

1 comment:

  1. I find your blog very interesting. Obviously, you have done your homework on Pope Francis I's stated beliefs and likely direction of the Church under his rule. It will surely remain to be seen not only what he decides to focus on, but also what the modern day world forces him to address during his reign. No leader can anticipate what he will face and how the world will change during the years in the papacy.

    I must confess that while I am delighted that a pope was chosen from the Americas, I am concerned that once again the cardinals have chosen a man of advanced years. It is very interesting to me that the cardinals are not allowed to vote for pope after they reach age 80, yet those with a vote chose a man just 4 years shy of that age. In no time at all he will be 80 years of age. I have to wonder why that is a cut-off for the selection process and not for ruling the Vatican. Some rules just don't make sense! Obviously, with advancing years, much wisdom can be acquired which can certainly be helpful facing the many challenges of the papacy. Yet the average lifespan of American men is now in the late 70's, as I recall. Whether this holds true for Argentina, I do not know; however, my guess is that it would be fewer years rather than more. Is this now a trend started by Pope Benedict to resign when health matters become too severe to complete the duties of the papacy? Will Francis I resign eventually too? This all remains to be seen but it is interesting to consider.

    Prayers for a long and healthy life are sent to Pope Francis I as he begins the long and arduous tasks that few men before him have accepted. May he have divine guidance, stamina, wisdom, and a great sense of humor--for he will surely need them all!

    Again, your words are very thought-provoking, Ray. You always make me think after I have read your blog.