With the white smoke acknowledging the selection of a new Pope, a new era of Papal ministry begins.
Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is not only the first Pope from the Americas, first non-European Pope in nearly nine hundred years but also the first Pope ever to come from the Jesuit order.
This amazing Pope is also an amazing man.
He is everything most of us as ministers aspire to be; both God’s person while being our own person.
Pope Francis is and was a Priest and Bishop of humility seeking to identify with every aspect of humanity from living in a meager small apartment, riding the bus to work and washing the feet of aids patients at local hospitals.
This identity to relate to the common man continues with his first acts as Pope.
His first introduction to the people in Saint Peter’s Square was one of simplicity and humility.
He was dressed simply without allot of the normal Papal regalia. His introductory message to the people soft spoken as one of them and as if he really cares for each of them personally and if all of the background information is correct on this new Pope, the reality is that he really does care for each person.
Make no mistake; however, this Pope is nobody’s fool.
This is a Pope who as a local Bishop in Argentina was so firm in his conviction of faith, God and Church doctrine on both birth control and abortion that he openly opposed the President of Argentina.
This was an action not taken lightly by his arch diocese and subsequently resulted in his transfer from Priestly duties to that of a chemistry teacher but later was overturned by Pope John Paul II who eventually made him a Cardinal as well.
Pope Francis is seen by many within the church as the man who will ultimately take every special interest group to the proverbial promise land.
Those same groups might want to think about that idea a bit longer.
The conservatives within the church seem assured that this is most definitely a conservative Pope while the liberal factions of the church seem certain that Pope Francis is “their guy” who will ultimately look carefully at many of the social issues they feel is holding the church back.
The growth which is necessary to further the advancement of the church is an obviously divisive issue.
As discussed in previous articles, the issues though many are basically centered around celibacy, women in ministry and birth control.
Pope Francis has in the past voiced concern and appeared somewhat supportive over the celibacy issue (marriage at least for priest) as a possible way to reduce much of the recent wave of sexual deviation in the church.
This concern however, is only seen as a consideration and not necessarily an absolute.
Pope Francis appears to be a very wise and shrewd man who will not easily show his hand on these issues as the various factions of the church vie for his attention to matters which may or may not be seen as urgent or even important.
What does appear as certain is the determination by this Pope to please God first and foremost as His representative on earth.
Nothing could be more evident of this than Pope Francis taking time to pay his own hotel bill in person after being elected as Pope and subsequently celebrating mass in a local church.
For those factions of the church wanting to put their claim on Pope Francis, they would do well to observe and learn; this Pope has been claimed by God.
© 2013 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III