Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

By now, I’m sure all of you have heard the news of the election of Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, as Pope Francis.   

Habemus Papam, indeed.

Ol’ Robbo, still being a relative newbee to Church dynamics, has not gone through a Papal transition before, so this is all terra incognita for me.  As of yet, I don’t feel anything in particular other than an intrigue as to what is going to happen next.

Of course, as with many others, I’ve been glued to the Papal Webcam for the past couple days, eagerly awaiting the issuance of the white smoke from the gull-ridden chimney on the Sistine Chapel.  Like many others, I studied the various “Papal brackets” and articles analyzing the likely favorites and what any given candidate’s selection might mean in the Wider Scope of Things.

I confess that over the course of the last few days, I don’t recall ever hearing of Cardinal Bergoglio’s name, despite the fact that he was the alleged second choice behind both JPII and BXVI.  I suspect I was not alone in this, because as word of his election flashed out over the intertoobs, I got a very distinct sensation that the immediate collective response was, “Huh?”

(An aside here.  When I got the news that the white smoke had appeared, I started hunting around on the intertoobs for a live feed to find out the name of the elected.   For whatever technical reason, the only one that I could whistle up on my computer down to the shop was that of CNN.  I watched for about fifteen seconds and then clicked it off in disgust.  I knew that this was an historic occasion and that it would be wonderful to sit in, even electronically, but I decided I was damned if I was going to listen to Anderson Cooper, about whose opinions I could not give a rancid cow-paddy, telling me What It All Means.  Nor could I listen for more than a few seconds to the pair of gals he roped in to tell us that they really hoped the new Pope would be more open to “modern” needs and values.  Meaning that Holy Mother Church should throw overboard revealed Truth and 2000 years’ worth of discernment, just so they could carry on as they see fit without feeling guilty about it.)

Anyhoo, after the initial Huh, I started flipping around to see which way the winds of online opinion might start blowing.  Initially, I think, there was enthusiasm from, well, folks with whom I would not consider myself necessarily to be an ally.  I think their first quick scans of Bergoglio’s resume were behind this:  Latin American, champion of the poor, Jesuit, (one former neighbor of mine in fact Facebooked, “A Jesuit.  Now there is hope.”).  I believe the thinking was that here we had somebody whose combination of egalitarianism and intellectualism would cause him to champion a kind of Christian Marxism while letting slide those icky and arbitrary questions about sex and the family which are the hot-button items of the Western secular cultural pogram.

Then, having apparently read further, reaction started setting in.  Upon the discovery that Bergoglio has, in fact, specifically rejected liberation theology and defended traditional and orthodox Catholic social teachings, the initial enthusiasts seem to have recoiled in horror, collectively stating, “Yikes! This guy’s actually Catholic!  We’re shocked, shocked!”

Our new Pope Francis  seems to be a truly humble and holy man.  I’m guessing, however, that the media honeymoon doesn’t last all that particularly long.

As for my own opinion? Well, for what it’s worth, from what I gather, there’s nothing objectionable to his general philosophy and orthodoxy.  Alas, he doesn’t seem to be any great champion of Liturgical Reform, which is a pet cause of mine (and of B-16’s), but I don’t believe he’s going to tear up the Summorum Pontificum  and kybosh the Latin Mass, either.  The only thing that troubles me, as I’ve said before, is that I was hoping for somebody with some real hammer qualities who could clean house in the Curia and generally reform the bureaucracy.  From what I gather, Francis has neither the experience nor the temperament to tackle such a task.   As they say, we shall see.

At any rate, to borrow another Latin tag, alia iacta est.

 

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