Catholics are about a billion of the world’s people, so in my agnostic way I was praying for good leadership. After all, Pope John XXIII was a humble ‘interim pope’ who was not expected to make waves.
Choosing the name ‘Francis’ could be a reference to the beloved St.Francis. I saw ‘Brother Sun, Sister Moon’ when I was a teen. St.Francis is the patron of hippies. And Pope Francis paid his own hotel bill. That was a cool act of everyman-ness before he’s covered in silk and jewels.
But then he starts.
This from the LA Times is not looking good.
VATICAN CITY — In his first mass as head of the Roman Catholic church, Pope Francis delivered a stern homily in the Sistine Chapel, where cardinals had elected him as the 266th pope a day earlier.
Stressing the power of prayer, Francis told the cardinals, “He who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil. When we don’t proclaim Jesus Christ, we proclaim the worldliness of the devil, the worldliness of the demon.”
Emeritus Pope Benedict made statements about the Muslim world early in his tenure that were not really insulting– but worded so gracelessly that they were taken as an insult.
Francis is doing one better- dissing the entire non-Christian world. He may succeed in uniting Muslims and Jews in indignation.
One net source said that as cardinal, his opposition to gay rights was so tone-deaf he actually helped the cause.
Who knows? God works in mysterious ways.
But I’m just trying to not despair. John XXIII convened the Ecumenical Council and tried to heal the divisions between Catholics and Protestants. This pope is more likely to continue the alliance between Catholic leaders and conservative religious and political leaders world-wide. Nuns beware.
BUT THEN AGAIN… Today’s news brings a more optimistic take on the new pope, why he chose the name Francis…
Francis, speaking mostly off-the-cuff and smiling often, made his comments in an audience for journalists where he explained why he chose to take the name Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi, a symbol of peace, austerity and poverty.
He called Francis “the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man”, and added: “Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor.”
It’s his first week on the job. Whatever religion, or non, you follow, this man has enormous power– he can do great good in the world if he chooses.