One of my Lenten resolutions was to give up blogging, as I've done a few times before, and I've been good about it.  I'm surprised, and pleased, to see that after a month of silence I still have five mojo bars and TU status.

I feel called to break that resolution briefly with wonderment about the new pope!

I've been in a state of great joy and tears this day, after the wonderful news.  It really is a big deal.

It would be an understatement to say I've been uncomfortable with the last two popes.  The Great Saint Pope John Paul II is one of the greatest church leaders in history, and he is the one person most responsible for bringing down the Soviet tyranny.  Mikhael Gorbachev said that himself in the New York Times.  It wasn't Reagan.

But he was raised under Soviet tyranny in Poland, and was a right-winger, in the sense that he distrusted any people's justice movements.  He and his head of the inquisitition (the Congregation of the Faith) Cardinal Ratzinger were great heroes in many ways, but they did much to crush the social justice, liberation theology movements, especially in Latin America.

The most recent pope, Benedict XVI, is a sweet and holy man, but he and his predecessor were up to their eyeballs in cowardice and cover-up with the sex abuse scandals in Ireland and the United States, and he almost never opened his mouth without sticking his foot in it.  I admire him, but I don't like him.

So I'm just absolutely overwhelmed and blown away by this quick election of such a good, saintly man.

Pope Francis I (formerly Cardinal Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires) is an amazing man!  

He is the first Jesuit pope in history!

He is a real champion of the poor!

He has not lived in a palace; he lives in a simple apartment and does his own cooking.  He does not get escorted by an entourage; he takes the bus.  He spends much of his time out with the poorest of the poor.  He is for real!

With this election, the Church has taken a HUGE leap from the north to the south, from the rich to the poor, from the right to the left!!

Hallelujah.  Thank God!  This has been one of the greatest days of my life.

P.S. When he calls himself the first pope in history as Francis, no doubt he is reminding us of the great St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the poor.  But it is equally true that he is reminding us of the great St. Francis Xavier, one of the greatest evangelists of all time, who was one of the original seven founders of the Jesuit Order.

UPDATE two weeks later, for the record:  (1) He said himself he meant St. Francis of Assisi, so my speculation about St. Francis Xavier (which was based on my own thought and several articles I read) was incorrect; and (2) I regret that I was not more kind and Christian in responding to some of the criticisms in the thread.  My attitude about all of this is genuinely one of peace and love and understanding, and I'm sorry that some members think I'm awful.

Originally posted to Timaeus on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:12 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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