This is an exciting time on the Church. A new Pope has been chosen! Not only do we have a new Pope, but he is the first Jesuit to become Pope, the first non-European Pope in a very long time, the first Pope from the Americas, and the first to choose the name of Francis. That is a lot of firsts! The media worldwide has been abuzz with all things Pope. Articles surfaces almost immediately on whether Pope Francis would be good for the Church, what his past was like, how liberal he would be, and so on.
I am excited to have Pope Francis. I, like many, did not know of him until the election and have been reading up on him ever since. He seems to me to be a very humble and sincere man. The kind of man who truly strives to be as Christ-like as possible and to share the love of Christ with everyone. Amidst the articles and new stories, we need to remember that though he is a wonderful man, he is just that…a man. The Church belong to God and is meant to serve His will here on earth. As the leader of the Church here on earth, Pope Francis will certainly have a say in decisions regarding the Church and will work through the Lord to see His will be done. But when articles ask if the Pope will remain true to strict Catholic teachings or will change the Church’s opinion on hot topic items, they are missing the point. The Pope is not elected to do as he pleases. He is elected to carry out God’s will. Now of course things sometimes change. But overall, the basic Catholic doctrines will not be changed because of a “liberal” Pope.
We will have to see how his papacy plays out, but I believe from what I have read so far that Pope Francis will be able to relate to the common people on a different level than Benedict and even from Pope John Paul II. His simple demeanor and attitude towards the poor and helpless in our world seem to suggest that he will be a Pope to truly focus on living God’s love in the most humble of ways. It is a call we all must respond to in whatever way we can. I pray that God will guide Pope Francis as he assumes his duties in Rome. I pray that our Lord will work through him to spread the god news of Christ’s death and resurrection to all people. I pray that the Church will grow stronger in the Lord through the guidance of Pope Francis and that we all might live by the example of Christ in a life of love.