It is reported as having been said in Roman Catholic insider circles, that there could never be a Jesuit pope – or was it that a Jesuit could never be pope? Either way, the anecdote was proved wrong this afternoon (early evening in Rome) when the deacon cardinal appeared on the balcony in St. Peter's Basilica and announced a). we have good news, and b).the good news is we have a pope.
If you reflect on what good news is, you re-discover that it is an expression that is not limited to the Christian Gospel. There is good news, not only to the 1.2 billion Roman Catholic population but to the whole world population knitted together as we are. Indeed, the Roman Catholic church is present in every corner of the world.
As soon as he appeared on the balcony, the new pope, Francis I, displayed simplicity. Many noted what must have been his personal cross on his chest when he could have emerged with something more elaborate. Immediately, there were comments about his lifestyle in Buenos Aires, Argentina, when he lived in an apartment rather than a palace. Instead of a personal limousine, he traveled on buses and subways, or taxi.
There is perhaps no doubt that he has emulated the lifestyle of St. Francis of Assisi (whose name he adopted) who gave up wealth, to live in complete poverty. What humility for a pope to ask the faithful to bless him! In his native Argentina, he is known as a champion of the poor and social justice.
This is therefore, the good news and the hope in our time. For a church gripped with internal pain, there is hope of healing. And for a world witnessing ever increasing marginalization of the poor, there is hope for compassion. Ultimately, everything is possible with God and the power is within each one of us.