(I started this post on the 14th of March...)
I really haven't a lot to say about the new Pope Francis. As an Episcopalian, I respect the office of the pope but have a healthy level of doubt about how it's been used over the centuries. As with any powerful office of long political standing. Here are my mediocre thoughts:
He looks to me like Mr. Magoo, and he has a very engaging smile.
When he is not smiling, he looks like a 76 year old man...not a grumpy cat. The folks who think he looks mean and grouchy should take a look in the mirror sometime when they are not posing, and see what gravity is doing to us all.
It's great to have a pope from a Latin America, a Jesuit, a man with a track record of concern for the poor. New things are great.
He's not in agreement with me or a lot of people on homosexuality, gay marriage, birth control, etc. How could anyone have expected him to be? He's the Pope. Of the Roman Catholic Church. Srsly.
I'm mostly intersted in the incredible excitement that sprang across social media yesterday. Folks from various belief groups (or no such) were exclaiming, "Habemus Papa!" We got to see live video on the internet, straight from the Vatican, of the white smoke, the announcement, and the Pope's first appearance.
The stories of his evinced humility, paying for his own hotel room and taking the bus, and his closing words at his first address to the media showed a new type of pope:
I told you I was cordially imparting my blessing. Since many of you are not members of the Catholic Church, and others are not believers, I cordially give this blessing silently, to each of you, respecting the conscience of each, but in the knowledge that each of you is a child of God. May God bless you!
(Speech to media, news.va)
Perhaps for sheer WOW factor, the news that the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church planned to attend the Papal installation (consecration?) is the big one. That hasn't happened since 1054 or so.
Are we entering a new age? Unquestionably. What will it be and mean? That's the real question.
God bless you, Pope Francis. Good luck.