So after 2 days of conclave a new Pope has been selected.
The first ever Jesuit to be given the title, Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio is the name, but he’s chosen to be called ‘Pope Francis’.
Now as far as I’m concerned, the logical explanation for this decision is that it must be an homage to Malcolm in the Middle’s eldest brother, although I can’t see him eloping to an Alaskan logging camp or eating 100 Marshmallow Quacks. Either that or he shares Jack Nicholson’s Joker’s penchant for abstract portraits.
Either way, this choice of name is apparently a huge deal. Jorge is the first ever ‘Pope Francis’ and his decision has been called “precedent shattering” by CNN’s Vatican Expert John Allen.
It looks like in reality he may be named after one of two Saints, St. Francis of Assisi or St. Francis Xavier, the latter being the most likely as he was a Jesuit himself. Which is a shame really. I’d have much preferred a man who has just been given so much power to have an awareness of 90’s sitcoms, 80’s superhero movies and figurative expressionism.
Still, he looks like a friendly tortoise and seems like he’d be alright to go for a pint with. Far from a religious leader that sits in an ivory tower and rules with an iron fist, Bergoglio is being sold as someone who lives like a normal bloke. He rides the bus, cooks his own meals (although I’m not really sure how impressed I’m supposed to be by this), and often visits the slums of Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires – his hometown of which he is Archbishop.
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He genuinely seems like a pretty good guy, as far as catholic cardinals go, with his focus being on social outreach and modernisation of the church. Bergoglio stated:
“In my ecclesiastical region there are priests who don’t baptize the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage”.
Then came his opinion:
“These are today’s hypocrites. Those who clericalize the Church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it’s baptized!”.
Fair play Jorge. Go get ‘em.
That being said, for every silver lining there’s normally a cloud (or a Saville Row Suit Jacket). He does oppose abortion and same-sex marriage.
Bad Jorge. Big up the Pro-Choice mandem.
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These views are to be expected from Catholic priests, we can’t ask for too much. What is somewhat shocking is the new Pope’s involvement in the post 1976 Argentinian Military Dictatorship. Jorge harbored the navy from Human Rights commissioners (he argued he was hiding them from the military) at his holiday home on the island of El Silencio – aptly named. In his defence, his options were presumably that or death, and even if you’re best mates with the Big Man – a bullet to the head is hardly desirable.
You can see the video of his first balcony emergence, courtesy of Channel 4, here:
Regardless of his views, history and personal priorities, he’s now the leader of the Catholic Church. I can’t see the vatican installing condom machines in the toilets anytime soon but he’s got a lot of influence and the times they are a-changin’. We’ll have to hang on to see where Pope Francis takes the church next, fingers crossed its somewhere secular.
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