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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Who is Pope Francis?

Who is Pope Francis?

          Habemus Papam!  Ever since we were introduced to Pope Francis today, Catholics have been trying to find out, who is Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio?  To be honest, before this afternoon, all I knew was that he was the 76 year-old archbishop of Buenos Aires. 
Unfortunately, the media have been little help.  We hear some basics – that he’s the first Latin American pope, the first Jesuit pope, and the first Pope Francis.  And we hear some spin – inaccuracies from a liberal press that sees everything in terms of politics and only reports on the pope with the intention of harming his credibility.  And even, potentially, sedevacantist groups that also would cast unfair doubt on him.
The following is some of what I’ve heard from sources I actually trust.  Cardinal Bergoglio has been known for his humility, which was also on display in his first public appearance, as he bowed to be prayed for by the faithful.  He is also famous for his love of the poor, and his staunch defense of the Culture of Life, from his struggles against abortion to his unflinching support of marriage.
The following is a link to Pope Francis’s official biography from the Vatican Information Service:
As a cardinal, Borgoglio was dealt the challenge of dealing with an oppressive government in Argentina, known for human rights violations.  Cardinal Bergoglio spoke against atrocities committed by both the government and left-wing rebels.  Like Pius XII, he did much work behind the scenes in defense of human rights, oftentimes with success.  This difficult work, of course, understandably lends itself to its share of criticism.
What I have been able to gather about Pope Francis thus far, is that he does possess the single most important quality for a pope to have: personal holiness.
Below is the text of his first public address after being announced:

Brothers and sisters good evening. 
You all know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother Cardinals have come almost to the ends of the earth to get him… but here we are. I thank you for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome.
First of all I would say a prayer pray for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI.. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord bless him and Our Lady protect him.
Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory to the Father…
And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood . My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with help of my Cardinal Vicar, be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.
And now I would like to give the blessing, but first I want to ask you a favor. Before the bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me – the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer – your prayer for me – in silence.
I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.
Brothers and sisters, I am leaving you. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me and I will be with you again soon.
We will see one another soon.
Tomorrow I want to go to pray the Madonna, that she may protect Rome.
Good night and sleep well!
Note: The Protodeacon announced that all those who received the blessing, either in person or by radio, television or by the new means of communication receive the plenary indulgence in the form established by the Church. He prayed that Almighty God protect and guard the Pope so that he may lead the Church for many years to come, and that he would grant peace to the Church throughout the world.