Yesterday I was speaking friend and co-worker, Heather Wallen, about the new pope and him taking a new name once he became a pope. Although she is now Pagan, Heather grew up in a Christian home and knows a great deal about the bible and the Christian world. For me, Christianity is like a foreign language and I only know bits and pieces. Typically I will ask Heather or another friend and co-worker, Tiela Wheeler, who is an open minded Christian, any questions about things that I come across that are Christian, Catholic or other bible associated religions that I don’t fully understand. Yesterdays questions were about the new pope and him taking a new name. As Heather and Tiela come from a Christian back ground and not a Catholic background she also didn’t know the exact reasoning. My best guess is that it could be something similar to what many Pagans do. Often we take a new name when we are initiated and many will use that name in their book of shadows (if they have one) and as a nickname to be used in their practices. This morning came across an interview that Pope Francis did over the last few days where he talks about why he choose his new name and I found it to be an inspiring choice.
Pope Francis was previously known as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio and has said that a fellow cardinal from Brazil had said to him "don't forget the poor" as the votes for the position of pope began to lean in his direction. Those words stayed with him and as it became obvious that he had won the majority vote. He told journalists in a public interview "right away, with regard to the poor, I thought of St. Francis of Assisi, then I thought of war, Francis loved peace and that is how the name came to me." Also he thought of St. Francis of Assisi's concerns for our environment, and how he was a "poor man, a simple man, as we would like a poor church, for the poor" said Pope Francis. Looking at this from a Pagan perspective, I find it touching and inspiring to see him name himself this way and with that mindset.
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