Habemus Papam: Pope Francis I

New York Times:

With a puff of white smoke from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel and to the cheers of thousands of rain-soaked faithful, a gathering of Catholic cardinals picked a new pope from among their midst on Wednesday — choosing the cardinal from Argentina, the first South American to ever lead the church.

The new pope, 76, Jorge Mario Bergoglio (pronounced Ber-GOAL-io) will be called Francis, the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. He is also the first non-European leader of the church in more than 1,000 years.

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    Fun facts about the new pope. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by caseyOR on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 03:25:39 PM EST
    He is the first Jesuit to hold the Chair of Peter. Although he is Argentinian, his parents emigrated from Italy. So,  there is still an Italian connection.

    Francis I has lived a simple life, eschewing the limo he was provided as archbishop and taking public transportation to work. He also chose to remain in his small, simple apartment rather than move to the archbishop's more palatial digs.

    He is what passes for an advocate for the poor in the Church. Does this mean we will see a papal criticism of Paul Ryan's budget? Will he call Cardinal Dolan on the carpet for his obvious ties to the GOP and its egregious policies? Yeah, I don't think so, but, you know, hope springs eternal.

    A profile (none / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 03:26:33 PM EST
    from your article: (none / 0) (#8)
    by DFLer on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 03:47:38 PM EST
    "The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers."

    I like the emphasis on "unjust" As Ambrose taught: not charity for the poor, but justice.


    SITE VIOLATOR! (none / 0) (#104)
    by caseyOR on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:40:45 PM EST
    Prolific and all over comment threads.

    Jerry Brown coulda been a contender! (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 03:34:50 PM EST
    Well, yeah, except for that whole dating (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by caseyOR on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 03:35:55 PM EST
    Linda Rohnstadt thing.

    He is married now. (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 03:39:36 PM EST
    If Francis (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by CoralGables on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:04:04 PM EST
    ever goes hiking with Maria Belen Chapur should we expect a resignation?

    As long as he is... (none / 0) (#58)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 08:28:28 AM EST
    a baptized Catholic, he's eligible to be Pope.  Technically, your tutoree is propably eligible too.

    Tutoree (male) has entrenched (none / 0) (#95)
    by oculus on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 12:53:38 AM EST
    opinion against abortion. Pretty liberal on LGBT equal rights.

    Well (none / 0) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 03:39:18 PM EST
    he sounds better than Benedict. So I guess that's somewhat of a positive for Catholics. Anyway, you knew he was going to be a social conservative because there are only social conservatives to choose from is my understanding.

    Some days I wonder if the Catholic Church will ever join the modern world.


    it's Papam, not Papum. (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by scribe on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:06:58 PM EST
    But, what was most striking to me was the way he had the crowd eating out of his hand within a minute or two, quieting over 100k people so thoroughly that you could hear the proverbial pin drop.

    Reminded me of Triumph des Willens.

    Really. "Triumph of the Will." (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 10:37:44 PM EST
    Speaking as a Roman Catholic, I fully understand the animosity and loathing that some people apparently harbor toward for the Catholic Church. It's not necessarily undeserved, I will admit.

    That said, your comparison of the crowds greeting the newly named pontiff today to those who were in attendance at the Nazi Party's 1934 Nuremburg Congress is wholly inappropriate, to put it politely.

    Nazi comparisons are almost never really good analogies, in most any event. Offering one up within the context of implying or highlighting one's political disagreements with select persons or groups generally serves only to cheapen one's regard for the truly monstrous horror show that was the National Socialist movement in Germany and occupied Europe.



    Choosing his name (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 05:08:18 PM EST
    "Stunning", one expert said.

    Pope Francis chose his name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi because he is a lover of the poor, said Vatican deputy spokesman Thomas Rosica.

    "Cardinal Bergoglio had a special place in his heart and his ministry for the poor, for the disenfranchised, for those living on the fringes and facing injustice," Rosica said.

    St. Francis, one of the most venerated figures in the Roman Catholic Church, was known for connecting with fellow Christians, Rosica added.

    Allen described the name selection as "the most stunning" choice and "precedent shattering."

    "There are cornerstone figures in Catholicism," such as St. Francis, Allen said. Figures of such stature as St. Francis of Assisi seem "irrepeatable -- that there can be only one Francis," he added.

    The name symbolizes "poverty, humility, simplicity and rebuilding the Catholic Church," Allen said. "The new pope is sending a signal that this will not be business as usual."

    Also . . . (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by nycstray on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 05:29:15 PM EST
    He is known as the patron saint of animals and the environment . . .

    The choice of name (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by christinep on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 12:24:48 AM EST
    Is significant.  And, the name "Francis"--with the duality of Assisi & Francis Xavier--can bring tears to the eyes of a Catholic like myself.  The promise of reform, compassion & justice ... All in that name.  From a world standpoint, we could be in for a pleasant surprise.  

    Plus: stigmata. (none / 0) (#50)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 01:26:01 AM EST
    One of my favorite Operas (none / 0) (#54)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 07:07:54 AM EST
    I ever sang in was about Stigmata, Saint of Bleaker Street.  It's always a fascinating subject.  

    One of the most intriguing operas I have (none / 0) (#94)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 10:12:18 PM EST
    experienced is Olivier Messiaen's "Saint Francois d'Assise."

    St. Francis (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by sj on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 05:31:33 PM EST
    is one of my favorites.  I have a very old, stone garden statue of St. Francis that I keep indoors so it doesn't get even more "weathering".

    I'm going to wait and see.


    I'm hopeful (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by christinep on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 12:31:05 AM EST
    And, I found my small St. Francis statue today too.  "Make me a channel of your peace....." keeps wafting around me as well.  

    That's all we can do (none / 0) (#21)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 05:35:05 PM EST
    And of course, if you'll pardon the pun, Rome wasn't built in day.  He isn't going to come in and completely upend 2000 years of dogma, and, with respect to the modern issues the Church faces, he won't do a complete turnaround on things like contraception or abortion.  But if he can take control of things, especially like the sex-abuse cases (he can't undo what's already been done, but he could manage it better and see that those who abused children are punished), then maybe he can stop the bleeding the Church is experiencing in the Western world.

    St. Francis, St. Francis, (none / 0) (#22)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 05:36:18 PM EST
    look around, look around,
    for something is lost, and cannot be found.

    (h/t Sister Margaret)


    Wasn't that St. Anthony? (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 05:38:50 PM EST
    The patron saint of finding lost things?

    Definitely St. Anthony (none / 0) (#44)
    by MO Blue on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 11:18:29 PM EST
    He is my favorite and the saint whose help I request most often.

    Nope. The Jesuits are saying (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Towanda on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 05:49:49 PM EST
    it's for their co-founder, St. Francis Xavier.

    That makes more sense than a Jesuit picking the name of the founder of the Franciscans.  The only thing worse would be a Jesuit picking the name of the (shudder) Dominicans.  (Inside Inquisition joke.)

    Another sign of the perfect ambiguities of this pick.  He's not from Italy! but he's Italian.  He's a Jesuit, for social justice! but only for the poor, not for women or gays or etc.  He's new and different! but he's as doctrinally conservative as they come.  Of course.  As if anything else had a chance.


    Oh (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by sj on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:00:14 PM EST
    Well, that makes more sense.  A little less optimism, but more sense.

    well the Vatican spokeperson is saying (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by DFLer on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:36:41 PM EST
    Pope Francis chose his name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi because he is a lover of the poor, said Vatican deputy spokesman Thomas Rosica.

    from the
    CNN article linked above #18 by jbindc


    One of the American bishops... (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 08:34:41 AM EST
    said this morning that the Pope himself told the Bishops that he chose the name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi.

    I know a Vatican deputy spokesperson, too (none / 0) (#30)
    by Towanda on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:49:26 PM EST
    who goes to the Vatican for a couple of days, a couple of times a year.  If his campus is willing to pay for it.

    Like Rosica, he's an American, appointed by the Vatican to do PR work.  For free, for the Vatican.

    And the guy I know just got quoted as saying the name choice is for Francis Xavier.  Of course, the guy I know is on the Jesuit payroll.  

    Rosica is on the Basilian payroll.  Not an order fond of the Jevvies.  (Few are.)  Hmmmm.


    Didn't Ignatius Loyola found the Jesuits? (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by caseyOR on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:46:55 PM EST
    St. Francis Xavier is the patron saint of missions.

    Yes, but they call Xavier a co-founder (none / 0) (#31)
    by Towanda on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:49:55 PM EST
    in many Jevvie sources.

    I just did a little research in my handy copy of (none / 0) (#33)
    by caseyOR on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:54:23 PM EST
    The Directory of the Saints. Francis Xavier was one of the original seven members of Loyola's Order of Jesus.

    Hopeful (5.00 / 3) (#56)
    by Slado on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 07:24:34 AM EST
    As some of you may know I am in the process of converting to Catholicism.   I was a cradle Episcopalian but attended Catholic grade school, married a Catholic and have three children who are baptized Catholic.

    I didn't convert for a long time because I never felt that I should have to or needed to but after going to the same Church with the same priest (who married us) I was sitting the pew one day while everyone else took communion and said," maybe I should give this a try".   My wife had never even brought the subject up and when I asked her later why she hadn't she said, "I knew if you'd ever get ther it'd be better if you wanted to do it on your own."   Reason #3,456 I'm lucky to have her.

    Going through the conversion process is a lot like becoming a US citizen.   You learn more about the Catholic Church then 90% of the Catholics sitting already sitting in the pews.    

    What I've learned that I never really knew before is what the true mission of the church is.   To try as much as possible to live like Jesus did on earth and continue his good works by Spreading the gospel through your actions and helping your fellow man through good deals and charity.

    This pope to me helps us get back to basics.  He from what I've read so far lives that life as much as humanly possible.   It is easy to get fought up is so many of the teachings of the Catholic Church, especially the controversial ones and forget that they are not the primary purpose of the church.  

    Kindness, outreach and charity are the real purposes of the church and the world can use plenty more of that.

    I hope (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 12:11:18 PM EST
    you are right about the new pope.

    I know a lot of Catholics who could not deal with the doctrines and left and I also know a lot of Catholics who continue to be Catholics despite their disagreement with the official doctrine.

    The biggest irony to me in all this is that one of the surest way to help people out of poverty is help them from having so many children and since the Catholic Church does not condone birth control, that is kind of strange paradox to me.


    No Paradox (none / 0) (#70)
    by CoralGables on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 12:18:42 PM EST
    Birth control depletes your financial base. For the church to grow their market share, they need a higher birthrate per female than other religions accomplish.

    The Church allows (none / 0) (#71)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 12:44:09 PM EST
    For "natural family planning".

    (This is from a Catholic "pro-life" site, so you don't have to click to it if you don't want to read all of it, but it encapsulates the subject pretty well. I also don't agree with it, but it's not about "just having lots of children.")

    Paul VI, in Humanae vitae, stated that "If, then, there are serious motives to space out births, which derive from the physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions, the Church teaches that it is then licit to take into account the natural rhythms immanent in the generative functions, for the use of marriage in the infecund periods only, and in this way to regulate births without offending the moral principles which have been recalled earlier." Pius XII taught that unless some serious circumstances arise, spouses are obliged to have children. However, he also teaches that it is moral for the spouses to limit their family size or even to refrain from having children altogether, if they have sufficiently serious reasons. He stated that "There are serious motives, such as those often mentioned in the so-called medical, eugenic, economic, and social 'indications', that can except for a long time, perhaps even during the whole duration of the marriage, from the positive and obligatory carrying out of the act.4

    Gaudium et spes teaches that "Among the married couples who thus fulfill their God-given mission, special mention should be made of those who after prudent reflection and common decisions, courageously undertake the proper upbringing of a large number of children." It also states that it is the duty of the parents, and of them alone, to decide on the number and spacing of children, and that they should take "into consideration their own good and the good of their children already born or yet to come, and ability to read the signs of the times and of their own situation, on the material and spiritual level, and finally, an estimation of the good of the family, of society, and of the Church."

    Ah yes (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by sj on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 12:53:18 PM EST
    The infamous "Rhythm Method".  It's the very reason there were five kids in my family.  Out of eleven pregnancies.  The rhythm method is a joke, a Jesuit would surely know it's a joke, and it's not a funny joke.  My mother's health was always fragile.  Until her final pregnancy ended with a hysterectomy.  

    I now sometimes wonder if the hysterectomy was medically necessary or just a way for our family doctor to give her a break at last.  Back then doctors didn't always explain themselves.


    Yep (none / 0) (#73)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 01:05:05 PM EST
    I know of women in my famiy that were bluntly told by priests that it didn't really matter what doctors said - it was their duty as wives to submit and produce babies.

    I totally believe that. (none / 0) (#74)
    by sj on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 01:07:36 PM EST
    I was at a Catholic wedding (none / 0) (#75)
    by CoralGables on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 01:13:41 PM EST
    where the priest stated the couple couldn't have sex during lent. I just assumed he was trying to self impose the rhythm method while hoping to eliminate the chance of another Christmas birth.

    I'm with (none / 0) (#76)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 01:18:28 PM EST
    sj on this one. I too, know a lot of people that supposedly used this and ended up with a lot of children.

    I'm one of those children (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Towanda on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 03:04:45 PM EST
    born as the result of Catholic parents practicing the rhythm method.

    That's how my mother, rather rhythmically, got pregnant every other year for almost twenty years.


    Sorry, But That is a Huge Fail (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 03:56:58 PM EST
    I am not commenting on your beliefs or any other Christians or Catholics, but if this is the church's true mission:
    To try as much as possible to live like Jesus did on earth and continue his good works by Spreading the gospel through your actions and helping your fellow man through good deals and charity.

    the Church and it's last figurehead have failed beyond belief.  I was confirmed and been feed loads of jesus stuff, and I have never been taught or read that Jesus has an opinion on any of the hot button BS the Catholic Church kicks out.

    Jesus is the carrot all Christians religions dangle.  Vatican city is proof in it's opulence that the Catholic church doesn't abide by it's own 'true mission' which is in part, living like Jesus.  

    Again, my beef is with the church, not the followers.

    I would add this, you don't need a building on Sundays and men in funny garb to guide you into helping you fellow man and woman.  Stop treating poor people like they are the enemy, would be a fantastic place to start.  Not directed at you specifically, just all poor people hating Jesus devotees.


    Kindness, outreach, and charity... (none / 0) (#64)
    by Dadler on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 10:07:10 AM EST
    ...are impossible on any genuine scale UNTIL the irreparably corrupt and sickeningly immoral leadership of the church is disbanded. There is nothing good until ALL of the leadership is fired, but that will never happen. SO, IMO, the church, the institution, not the personal faith(s), must disappear, vanish, cease to exist. It serves, right now, literally no good purpose. Its existence, in current form, is a pox.

    IMHO, just practice what Jesus preached: be a good person, don't be an a-hole, be generous, help those in need. No one needs help understanding those simple tenets. All the rest of the noise related the any "church" is pure bullsh*t commentary by men with literally no insight into human beings.


    don't mean to be an ahole (none / 0) (#65)
    by Dadler on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 10:08:48 AM EST
    the church establishment has been nothing to me but vindictive, selfish, and literally prurient.

    I can only speak (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by Slado on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 01:28:29 PM EST
    for my church but we are open to everyone be they non catholic, divorced or gay.

    For all the problems the Church has I would remind you that the core message of the church is a good one and unfortunately the leadership of the Church can often loose sight of their true mission.

    Rather then abandon the church I choose to try and make a difference in the small way I can.


    Also the structure (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Slado on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 01:48:28 PM EST
    Of the church does serve some good in the form of Charity.

    It has lots of flaws but you can't just disregard all the good works it does.   Especially on the local level through community outreach.

    The changes you ask for are coming, they just might take a while.   A wise priest once told me the Church changes through evolution, not revolution.


    I think (none / 0) (#79)
    by NYShooter on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 02:32:51 PM EST
     that nothing will change the Church's propensity for the evil doings that have been exposed over the past several decades until they discard the Priest-celibacy requirement.

    As I get older... (none / 0) (#88)
    by christinep on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 05:47:29 PM EST
    ol' me is more inclined to view passage of time experienced in broader segments (the "was that 5 yrs already...I thought it was only 2 or 3" syndrome.)  How we view things in terms of time & expectations & some seasoning is sure interesting.  As some point out, the Roman Catholic Church considers time not so much in months or years/decades, but in hundred-year time periods. After 2000+ years, that might be "normal."

    Lots of reflections & memories for me today...the day that my wonderful Dad died many years ago...the day that I went running back to the Church after a dozen years to make sure he had a priest and Last Rites...at the time I had been angry over the counterproductive, constraining rigidity of the 1968 issuance of Humanae Vitae (the Paul VI surprise document related to contraception)... and, when Dad died, all my disagreements as the young professional subsided in the face of mortality.  I realized then that the Catholic Church was as much my Church as any other imperfect human being.

    I still disagree with the Church's stated approach--in this day & age--toward a number of sexuality matters.  But now, it is much easier to see how approaches change over time.  The Galileo example isn't the only instructive example about patterns of change at a macro-level within the Church.  Of course, also, there can be bad deeds by the best and good deeds by the supposed worst.  If one were perfect--in the Church of elsewhere--one might fly & soar with the eagles without the benefit of growth.  And, as you suggest, there are deeds so bad at times that it makes one sick....  Certainly, as you suggest, moving away from ordered celibacy could go a long way to help; and, in terms of timing, the reality of the shortage of priests might be as important as evolving theological constructs in allowing for an optional married priest component of the Church (a family priest?)  Pragmatism & years often work in the best direction, uh?

    Anyway, at Mass today in remembrance of my Dad, I noticed how crowded it was & how hopeful the atmosphere in anticipation of a pastoral Pope Francis.


    The real purpose of the RCC is (none / 0) (#85)
    by observed on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 05:23:59 PM EST
    to collect money and exert political power. It's services are the method for gaining the trust and money of the adherents. It's just a variant form of state.
    What about god? Well, even if he exists, so what?
    The idea that moral authority can be invested in a man through a voting process is absolutely absurd.
    No matter what the history of a pope---whether, for instance, he worked in Nazi camps, rounding up Jews as a youth---his word is considered a final authority on moral, church matters. In fact, he is considered infallible.
    I could go on, but I know I'm not preaching to the choir.

    Uh, wrong (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 05:37:55 PM EST
    In fact, he is considered infallible.

    He is only considered infallable when sitting ex cathedra, menaing "when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, (the Bishop of Rome) defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church".

    Basically it's happened twice - in 2000 years.

    The real purpose of the RCC is (none / 0) (#85)
    by observed on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 05:23:59 PM EST

    to collect money and exert political power. It's services are the method for gaining the trust and money of the adherents. It's just a variant form of state.

    1. Vatican City actually IS a state.

    2. Seems you're missing the charity part - especially since Catholic Charities is the third largest charity in the world.

    3. Rounding up Jews as a youth?  Not true - even this atheist writer, who is highly critical of Benedict's past says "Not true"

    There is absolutely no reason to think that Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, is now or has ever been secretly a Nazi. Nothing he has ever said or done even remotely suggests the slightest sympathy with any of the basic Nazi ideas or goals. Any claim that he is a Nazi is implausible at best. However, that is not the end of the story.

    While Ratzinger was not a Nazi in the past and Benedict XVI is not a Nazi now, there is more than enough reason to question his handling of his past. It appears that he hasn't been honest with others -- and probably not honest with himself -- about what he did and what he could have done.

    It's simply not true that resistance was impossible at the time. Difficult, yes; dangerous, yes. But not impossible. John Paul II participated in anti-Nazi theater performances in Poland, yet there is no evidence of Joseph Ratzinger even doing this much.

    Ratzinger may have done more than many others to resist, but he also did far less that some. It's certainly understandable that he wouldn't have had the courage to do more and, were he any average person, that would be the end of the story. But he isn't an average person, is he? He's the pope, a person who is supposed to be the successor of Peter, head of the Christian Church, and symbol of unity for all Christendom.

    But why let a little thing like facts get in the way of a good narrative?


    Do some research (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Zorba on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 06:35:06 PM EST
    on "infallibility," observed.  As jbindc has stated, it can only happen, by Catholic dogma, when the Pope is speaking ex cathedra.  The two instances of this historically are Ineffabilis Deus in 1854, regarding the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.  And the Munificentissimus Deus in 1950, regarding the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
    I am Greek Orthodox, and the Orthodox Church does not hold to either of these beliefs (although there is some question about the bodily ascension of Mary into Heaven- in Eastern Orthodox theology, the thought is that it probably happened, but they are not sure).  Nor do the Orthodox believe in Papal Infallibility in any way (and I am not going to go into the theological differences between the Western Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church and the whole Great Schism thing).  But we are more than aware of the doctrine of infallibility in the Roman Catholic Church, and how seldom it has been used.    

    It is claimed that the (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by KeysDan on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 10:17:16 AM EST
    Cardinals are guided by the Holy Spirit (aka Holy Ghost) in their selection of a Pope.  If so, the Holy Spirit apparently has engaged the services of the likes of David Axelrod over the centuries.

    Knowing, as Frank Bruni so cogently put it, "many Catholics are left with a faith whose essence warms them, but whose formal administration leaves them cold,"  the pick of the pope turned to the Americas.  Not only are 4 of 10 Catholics outside of Europe, but the market share is being challenged in Latin American by evangelical Protestants.

    Another and pressing factor, is the need to change the subject--fast.   With sexual abuse, banking, and "Butler-gate" scandals at full-throttle, a new and different Pope is just what the doctor (or God) ordered.  

    The pomp already has eclipsed the scandal of the disgraced Cardinal Mahoney participating in the Conclave at the same time the LA diocese has settled a sexual abuse case for $10 million (not to be confused with the 2007 settlement for $660 million).  

    And, it will be , primarily, I suspect, style under substance.  The humble Jesuit who smiles more convincingly and  takes the bus and cooks his own meals, sometimes, seems to be all it takes for so many of the faithful.

    Francis and Benedict seem to be of one theological mind, both of Communion and Liberation, the arch-conservative Italian Opus Dei-like bent. Indeed, the two popes should get along well, with C & L Memores Domini running the papal households.  There is a reason that the Catholic Church has survived for over 2000 years--they are masters at this, with an edge that is the envy of many a corrupt politician and Wall Street bankster, although the later are no slouches.

    Have you ever seen (none / 0) (#82)
    by fishcamp on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 03:23:14 PM EST
    the gemstones of the Vatican down in the museum around the corner from the post office in Vatican City, down in the dungeon hallways?  Quite impressive.  They'll be ok.

    I wonder (none / 0) (#84)
    by NYShooter on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 04:46:27 PM EST
     if anyone reputable has ever made an estimate as to the value of the paintings, sculptures, jewels, and all the other irreplaceable artifacts The Church owns? Never mind the real estate; that must be mind-boggling also.

    Why does the Vatican have/need its very own (none / 0) (#96)
    by oculus on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 12:54:49 AM EST

    The Vatican is a soveriegn state. (none / 0) (#97)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 01:04:14 AM EST
    Yes, but.... Also, what is the currency (none / 0) (#99)
    by oculus on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 11:33:08 AM EST
    of the realm?

    The Euro (none / 0) (#100)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 12:37:41 PM EST
    That's intriguing. Can any nation issue (none / 0) (#101)
    by oculus on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 03:03:14 PM EST
    Euros w/o being a member of EU?  Must google.

    He was "papabile" this time and was (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 03:23:50 PM EST
    runner-up last time. Per Wiki, conservative re same sex marriage and adoption. Note to self: ask tutoree if it matters to him that the new Pope is Argentinian.

    The Thing Is... (none / 0) (#9)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 03:48:04 PM EST
    ...the pope doesn't actually dictate policy, he's just a figurehead.  So unless the powers that be decide to step into the 21st century, doesn't really matter who they pick, he's got to walk the company line like everyone else.

    That is not true, Scott. The Pope is most (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by caseyOR on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:31:00 PM EST
    definitely not simply a figurehead.  He wields enormous power when it comes to setting Vatican policy.

    The Pope can choose to ignore the advice of the various Vatican policy groups, as for example Pope Paul VI did when the policy councils advised him to accept oral contraception. Paul chose to oppose it in a Papal Encyclical, thus setting us up for the battle over contraception that continues today.

    It is true that the Vatican is a huge bureaucracy. Like all such institutions, it resists major change. So, Francis I, if he intends to change things like the Vatican Bank, needs to be bureaucratically nimble, must put his own people in critical power positions, and must engage in the kind of down-and-dirty battles that seem to always come with such attempts to change an institutional culture.

    The biggest obstacle Francis I faces when it comes to making serious changes is his age. He may not sit in the Chair of Peter long enough to make major and lasting changes.


    The Pope has great power. (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Slado on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:56:50 PM EST
    He can basically change the law if you will by issuing a dictate.

    It's very rare and mostly used to settle theological matters of belief but he can do it,


    Well said, caseyOR (none / 0) (#48)
    by christinep on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 12:39:27 AM EST
    Add to that:  The Pope sets the tone, the emphasis.  If, as his history shows, he demonstrates the compassion shown by St. Francis & urges his Cardinals to do likewise (as he seems to have urged fellow Argentinian Church officials openly in the past), that concentration alone could shift direction in more positive, noticeable ways.  

    I see the compassion of St. Dominic (none / 0) (#86)
    by observed on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 05:30:26 PM EST
    in the upper RCC hierarchy.

    Didn't the Dominicans try to oust the Jesuits? (none / 0) (#91)
    by christinep on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 06:22:05 PM EST
    Pope Francis & the Dominicans...hmmmm.

    That the Dominicans led the Inquisition (none / 0) (#105)
    by Towanda on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:43:44 PM EST
    and that some have perpetrated that the Jesuits were the perps continues to cause some sniping, even today, with Dominicans the butt of some Jevvie jokes.  (Quite funny, too, if you know the contexts.)

    A priest at my parish said on Thursday (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by christinep on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 10:21:23 PM EST
    with the gentle humor that he is wont to use & referring to the Jesuit-Dominican contretemps of old: I wonder if it is payback time?

    Not Going to Argue... (none / 0) (#62)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 09:16:24 AM EST
    ...but that was discussed in detail by several papal experts the day the old Pope left office.  This was one of the points they all seemed to agree upon, the Pope doesn't have the power to change church doctrine.

    Much like our Pres., the Pope has (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 03:51:11 PM EST
    the bully pulpit. See Vatican II.

    Not Really... (none / 0) (#13)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:17:29 PM EST
    ...he can decide what doctrine to promote or what polices to discuss, but he can't venture into supporting something like gay marriage.

    I guess if he created some kind of council, but that is a rarity and certainly not in the normal course of business for a pope.

    Our president can take any stand on any issue without a council or even anyone agreeing with him and can promote it until the cameras stop following him.


    According to early reports (none / 0) (#16)
    by scribe on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:38:35 PM EST
    (Since he was something of a "no chance", the media is scrambling) he had some real fights with Argentine civil government over things like free condom distribution (that's the one example I've heard), and corruption.  I have no doubt he'll be as orthodox and doctrinaire on all the "Change" issues as his predecessors or any of the other cardinals.

    But within the Holy See, which ... (none / 0) (#34)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:04:15 PM EST
    ... after all is a sovereign entity per the 1929 Concordate of Rome, the Pope's will is absolute. And if you disagree, he can send these flamboyant mercenaries after you.

    Ah here it is (none / 0) (#47)
    by sj on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 12:38:44 AM EST
    I was expecting the "Holy See" reference long before this. :) You showed considerable restraint today.

    I wish that were the case. (none / 0) (#32)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:50:56 PM EST
    Unfortunately, the Pope sits upon the throne of St. Peter and rules the Holy See as an absolute monarch. While he has his coterie of advisors, and while those advisors may well be in a position of considerable influence with him, the Pope's authority is nevertheless supreme, and his is the final word. Whatever he says, goes.

    Infallible. (none / 0) (#49)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 01:23:15 AM EST
    Only when sitting ex cathedra (none / 0) (#52)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 06:45:58 AM EST
    Which has happened exactly twice.

    The Secretary of State (none / 0) (#89)
    by christinep on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 06:03:56 PM EST
    The "number 2" in running things--so to speak--is the Vatican Secretary of State.  Given the present difficulties, a hint about control of the Curia might be first glimpsed with Pope Francis' appointment of the Vatican Secretary.

    If this represents any change at all (none / 0) (#14)
    by Trickster on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:26:07 PM EST
    Then I will mark it when I see it. Until then, . . .

    Q: What does white smoke mean? (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:15:48 PM EST
    A: They've chosen a new pope.

    Q: What does black smoke mean?

    A: They haven't selected a new pope.

    Q: So, what does grey smoke mean?

    A: They're still burning the evidence.


    Chuckle. Of couirse, the smoke of any hue (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Towanda on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:13:54 PM EST
    is a sign of burning the evidence -- the purpose of putting this practice in place only about a century ago, when a pope got pissed off at news leaks, notes from cardinals, about the bad stuff said about him in their debates before the decision.  

    Since, the screwups of gray smoke, the screwups in getting the smoke to be black or white, make for a funny story, as I read again last week.  (So, it's still out there, for anyone wanting to find it.)  

    Chemical warfare on the cardinals happened a couple of times, as additives backfired and turned into stinkbombs that sent the cardinals streaming into the streets of Vatican City with streaming eyes, etc.


    Evidence.. (none / 0) (#67)
    by jondee on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 11:36:07 AM EST
    Yeah, the Vatican Bank's records from WWII..

    And yes, (none / 0) (#68)
    by jondee on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 11:39:21 AM EST
    I know it's not called "The Vatican Bank"..

    For the record, his name is Pope Francis, ... (none / 0) (#35)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:10:04 PM EST
    ... sans the roman numeral.

    He only becomes Francis I upon the naming of a Pope Francis II sometime in the future, in the same manner that England's Queen Elizabeth I (1533 - 1603) was simply known as Queen Elizabeth for 349 years, until the current Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1952.

    Well...they're scrambling (none / 0) (#36)
    by fishcamp on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:13:09 PM EST
    down in Argentina to elect a new Cardinal.  With 33 million Catholics in the country (wiki) I'm sure the country is celebrating.  

    Just a small point if information,fish camp. (none / 0) (#38)
    by caseyOR on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:22:55 PM EST
    Cardinals are not elected. They are appointed by the pope. So, Pope Francis will get to appoint the new Cardinal. Pope will also appoint a new archbishop of Buenos Aires, who may or may not be a cardinal.

    Thanks casey, I must have (none / 0) (#40)
    by fishcamp on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:03:57 PM EST
    learned that at Ascencîon Grade School in NE Portland back in the 40's but since the Nuns were bopping my hand for being left handed I guess I forgot those facts.

    Rule No. 1 of the Catholic Church (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Towanda on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:22:53 PM EST

    The Church is not a democracy.

    It's Rule No. 2, too.  

    And, actually, Rules 3-100.




    I learned this in nun-run classrooms that also were not democracies.  


    Are ANY classrooms (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 06:48:13 AM EST
    Actual democracies?

    Oh, I have learned from politicians (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by Towanda on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 03:07:13 PM EST
    how to allow my students to vote on insignificant matters.  So, by that definition, my classrooms are democracies.

    A number of afflictions can be (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by caseyOR on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 01:44:54 AM EST
    attributed to childhood exposure to "nun bopping." Loss of memory is just one of them.

    I myself have a twitchy hand caused by years of forcing myself to not pull my hand away from bopping nuns.  :-)


    They were celebrating here... (none / 0) (#39)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:32:57 PM EST
    Argentine flags waving, whooping, horns honking at the Capital on my way home this evening.  

    How about modernizing the doctrine? (none / 0) (#42)
    by observed on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 10:34:01 PM EST
    Everyone says, "oh, maybe they'll change the window dressing?", but what about the palpably "papably?", obviously mythical core of the religion?
    The basic doctrines of the "Faith" are all stories which are in fundamental conflict with the laws of science and our understanding of the world.
    I have news for people who believe in virgin births, resurrections, and assorted other miracles: the laws of the universe were the same 2000 years ago as they were today.
    What would you think if TODAY someone claimed to be born of a virgin, or if he claimed to be resurrected from the dead? Is there any chance at all you would believe it? If the person also claimed to be a deity, would that help? There actually are lots of people who claim to be deities in our modern world. It's not usually a marker of sanity or trustworthiness.

    To those "sophisticated" adherents of Christianity who argue that the views of modern theologians are consonant with both modern historical scholarship and science, I have three things to say: first, these are not the official doctrinal views of the church; second, they most definitely are not the views of the masses; and third---who do you think you are kidding?!

    Why am I bringing this up today, rather than maintaining respectful silence while the faithful celebrate the selection of a new spiritual leader?
    First, because I think this truly should be a day of reflection for Roman Catholics and other Christians. What do you really believe, and why?
    Do you really think the hierarchy of the RCC deserves your support, and your money?
    If the Boy Scouts of America were revealed to complicit in the cover-up of child-rape; even worse, if they were revealed to have sent scout leaders accused of rape to new troops in virgin areas, and to have obstructed criminal investigations, would you give them any money?
    Why would you excuse the RCC for such behavior? The servants and representatives of your god should be held to a godly standard, and not allowed to act like an organized crime ring!

    Finally, the reason for considering these questions today is that many of the most controversial views of the RCC are justified by appeal to myth. In particular, the views of the church on contraception and abortion are justified by the idea that at the moment of conception, a human soul is created. It is a nice myth, but not one that should determine public policy. The condom policy of John Paul II undoubtedly was responsible for a great many deaths from AIDS. In fact, bishops of his church in Africa actually said "Condoms cause AIDS" [this was justified by "science" documented in the Vatican itself] To my mind, this was the worst of the many crimes of JP II.

    So, what do you think? Does modernization have to stop at the level of political policy, or can it reach the core beliefs? What does a love of truth and justice mean, if you apply it to those beliefs upon which your church rests?
    Don't be afraid! The truth will set you free!

    oh my goodness (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 07:25:37 AM EST
    thanks so much for explaining that to all the stoopid people who need your help thinking.

    So your response is that (none / 0) (#60)
    by observed on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 09:10:02 AM EST
    no consideration of the veracity of the doctrine is warranted?

    Anyway, the only RCC TLer I know of is (none / 0) (#61)
    by observed on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 09:14:19 AM EST
    Donald. I think he needs some help :P

    You would be wrong (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 09:25:02 AM EST
    Phenomenology (none / 0) (#90)
    by christinep on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 06:18:35 PM EST
    observed: Myth or not myth? The matter of belief is just that.  Insofar as I know, physical & mathematical proofs may be one thing and spriritual proof may be experienced in a different way.  No matter who we are or what we believe, I would offer that it would be every bit as difficult to disprove the siritual sphere as to prove it.  Or--as might be advanced--we can see & touch a table, a chair...so, we say that they exist.  On a metaphysical level, we talk about/we revel in/we long for/we believe in "Love."  Can we "prove" it exists? Or is it a myth?  Or, as so many have discovered, is Love the underlying and real calling of that spirituality that is or can be the basis of a religion?

    Just my belief.


    Pardon my pedantry, but . . . (none / 0) (#55)
    by markpkessinger on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 07:10:35 AM EST
    . . . he is "Pope Francis," not "Pope Francis I."  The Roman numeral "I" is never appended to any pope's name while that pope reigns.  In fact, unless there is some pope in the future who takes the name Francis, there will never be a Pope Francis I.  Just sayin'.

    Not pedantry, mark (none / 0) (#103)
    by Zorba on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 03:45:25 PM EST
    You are correct.
    But I wonder if anyone will be (facetiously) calling him "Pope Frank" or "Pope Frankie."
    I heard one guy on the radio (actually, it was Tony Kornheiser on ESPN talk radio, Washington DC) who had been speculating the other day about the name that the new Pope would choose, and Kornheiser had said that he should name himself after the Chairman of the Board, Francis Albert Sinatra.  So maybe Tony was right.  Not Assisi or Xavier, but Sinatra.  "Pope Frank."  I wonder if the new Pontiff can sing?    ;-)

    Habemus (none / 0) (#93)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 06:57:08 PM EST
    and squirrel.

    Ha. (none / 0) (#102)
    by oculus on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 03:03:29 PM EST