My friend Fran has written a terrific post which addresses some of the complexities of the new pope.
I wasn't paying much attention to the media frenzy surrounding the election, although I did read a short article about now Pope Francis a week or so ago which indicated to me that he was a likely choice. I think I was less surprised than the NPR correspondent who stuttered, "We're going to have to do some research!"
It seemed unlikely to me that it would be of much significance ~ who was or wasn't elected pope. I knew that all the candidates were conservatives, and I knew that the Catholic Church will lumber on, regardless of who is at its helm.
On the other hand, it did occur to me that Pope John XXIII made a big difference in my own life, throwing open the windows of the Vatican to ecumenical and interfaith relationships.
Was it possibly the leadership of that pope that encouraged the young nun teaching my middle school religion class to throw out her plans to teach us about her religion and try to help us all ~ herself included ~ learn about many? A decision which no doubt launched my own approach to faith as one of curiosity and open-mindedness? Even today, not many thirteen-year-old Methodists visit synagogues in the company of Roman Catholic nuns.
So maybe I have been completely wrong. (Is that possible? Would the Countess Dowager admit to such a thing?) Maybe it will be a matter of enormous significance, this business of who is Pope.
Late last night (early this morning) a Jesuit friend, in response to my email of congratulations, wrote back to say, "Pray that it works!" Indeed.
AMDG. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. To the greater glory of God.
~ Ignatius of Loyola.