Friday, March 15, 2013

Quick Takes: What else? Pope Francis!


1) I was born during the reign of Pope Paul VI, and his was the name I remember being spoken at mass during the Eucharistic prayer: "Paul our pope, Francis our bishop…." I heard it hundreds of times as a child in Tucson, Arizona, and it still sounds the most familiar to me in some ways.

When Popes John Paul I and John Paul II were elected in quick succession in 1978, I was too young to care much. Although I was eleven and I must have seen some coverage, I don't even have a memory of those conclaves or outcomes.

When Pope Benedict XVI was elected in 2005, I was a joyful revert of ten years, and I knew and loved Cardinal Ratzinger as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (in other words, he was the guy in charge of doctrinal clarity and purity). When the white smoke came, I waited for what seemed an eternity and then -- along with tens of thousands in St. Peter's Square and millions around the world -- I screamed in elation when I heard the name "Ratzinger" announced. He was "our guy", the one so many of us had hoped for! Incredible joy!

On Wednesday, I stood in front of the TV once again, ready to burst after the hour-long wait that had come after the white smoke was seen. Finally, the name was announced and… and… wha…..? Who? Huh? I was totally stunned, confused. I had no idea what I had just heard (except that he had chosen the name "Francesco", or was it "Franciscum"? -- Francis). This was nothing like 2005, and the crowd in the Square seemed a bit perplexed, too. Finally, looking to social media, I saw a news flash someone had posted to facebook: Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina. I still had no clue. Then… a Jesuit? A slight bit of alarm, then trust. And of course, now, two days later, I am totally, utterly in love with Francis the Humble (who frankly looked as stunned and confused as the rest of us as he stood on that balcony in the first moments of our acquaintance!).

2) One exciting result of this papal election that no one seems to be talking about: Finally modern-day folks will come to know the difference between Francis (masculine) and Frances (feminine). It is about time! Whew! And of course, after an explosion of Catholic baby boys named John Paul and Benedict, we will see the Francis boom coming now!

3) My favorite quote from Pope Francis' first homily:

“We can walk all we want, we can build many things, but if we don't proclaim Jesus Christ, something is wrong. We would become a compassionate NGO and not a Church which is the Bride of Christ.”

Amen, Papa! We are not social workers, as Mother Teresa used to say. We work for and through and because of Jesus Christ, for love of Him and for the salvation of souls. It's what the secular world cannot understand. Teach them, Francis!

4) George Weigel has, to my mind, written one of the most interesting post-Conclave pieces. Especially interesting is the account on page three of how some of the "progressive" Cardinals may have used Cardinal Bergoglio (against his will) in the 2005 Conclave, in order to derail a Ratzinger papacy. Fascinating stuff:

Oh, and for anyone tempted to believe the smears about Pope Francis' complicity with the military dictatorship in Argentina in the 1970s, please check with Amnesty International for the facts. JoAnna put it succinctly:

5) One thing is sort of nagging at me. All this talk of the humble Francis makes me terribly protective of our wonderful Pope Emeritus Benedict, who -- despite what the media and dissident Catholics would have you believe -- is a deeply, beautifully humble soul as well. He is gentle, kind, thoughtful, a brilliant intellect and teacher, and a misunderstood introvert. I imagine him following the news and feeling pained at the implications that only now do we have a humble Pontiff. Silly me, I know he is too holy for that kind of nonsense ("Hey, look at me! I'm humble too, people!!"), but it's just my own daughterly affection for him that makes me want to say it.

6) Want to relive some of the excitement of Wednesday? Here it is in under two minutes:

So much more to say, so many emotions, so much joy and hope. Overall, I'm exhausted, aren't you? What a blessed, beautiful week. And what the non-Catholic world doesn't know is that our new Papa Francis is their Papa Francis, too. He loves us all and is charged with bringing us all to sanctity, to live forever in Heaven in the Heart of the Trinity. We are so blessed.

7) With such a champion of the poor on the Throne of Peter, let us not forget the poor orphans this day. Today, let me introduce you to Griffith, a four-year-old boy in an Eastern European orphanage:

Click my photo for more information!

Griffith is described as "a very nice boy!" with minimal hydrocephalus. He needs and deserves a family of his own. Please consider adopting him as your son, or help spread the word. And pray.

Also, a reader of the Bubble and a friend of the orphans, Kate Daneluk, has offered a free Lenten song download for your children, no strings attached. Go to this link and grab the song:

Explore her site a little to see what else Kate is up to this Lent (check out the adorable video). Any homeschoolers and parents or godparents of littles will love her unique and educational music ministry!

And on that happy note (get it?), have a wonderful weekend, and thanks to Jen for hosting!


  1. Very well said! We must not forget that pope Benedict was a truely humble man as well, as the media (always fond of painting things black or white) tries to make it look like this is the first humble pope.
    I became Catholic under pope Benedict, and I loved him from that moment, but I am truely happy that we now have pope Francis. I hope emiritus-pope Benedict will be able to spend some good years in the peace he deserves so much, and I hope pope Francis will reign (is this the right word for it?) for many years to come.
    We are blessed with these great men as our shepards, I think.

  2. I love your number 2...about the difference between Frances and Francis. I have a sister who was born/baptized Frances that is now a follower of St. Francis (with a different name), so hearing Frances confused with Francis always annoys me.

  3. This has been a very exciting time for me and my son. I want him to know how special this moment is in our history. I can't wait to get to know our new Papa.


  4. What an awesome divine Tradition, the papacy. What a gift, to be Catholic. And the joy on the faces of the people in the video gives hope. The various flags being waved, the colors and creeds of the people gathered, united under the One Holy Church, all points to unity, to one fold. The international magnitude and meaning that the papacy has throughout the world-- just awe inspiring.

  5. George will I think be popular too although less so

  6. When Pope Francis first came out to balcony, I said, "He looks so scared!" I've already said this, but I loved seeing the pure human feeling of what must have been close to terror--seeing all those people, who are looking at you, wondering about you, talking about you and maybe even judging you. How scary!

    By the way, I should say that I loved the expression not because I wanted him to be scared (it in fact, inspired me to pray for him!) but because this is the natural humility about him. True humility is never an act or even a brave face--humility is being "what is true" in the present moment.

    I also especially agree #5--I've had a little concern about ex-pope Benedict (what are we supposed to call him now?)He also was a gentle and humble Father. He was called the "Nazi Pope" by so many who scorned him--but I had a father who was also called "strict" by many of my friends, which left me bewildered. What they saw as "strict" I only saw as his love and protection for my well-being.

    As a fellow (and sometimes also misunderstood) introvert myself, I continue to pray for our old Pope Benedict--that he not be forgotten.

  7. I totally agree with number 5. It is inevitable I suppose to start comparing and contrasting Popes but honestly we have to be sooo careful with that. Just like we do with comparing our own lives. And I also am excited about Pope Francis. Vive Papa!

  8. I am all over Mary-Frances should I ever be blessed with another girl. Been decided on Mary for quite a while, and realized on Wednesday what the perfect complement is! Love him!

  9. Yes, thank you for articulating #5! Similar thoughts have been swimming around in my head too. I don't want to be mistaken for somehow being glad we're finally done with "arrogant", "extravagant" popes like JPII and B16! (Although some people might believe that about these popes, so yes, I feel protective).

  10. Love the new Pope Francis, how refreshing to see how humble he is! Of course, I know that Benedict XVI was also amazing during his papacy as well. Everything that John Paul II and Benedict XVI wrote about Catechism, Doctrine and Church teaching is like the best books ever because that really helped me understand and love my faith even more than ever! (I guess you can say I'm a revert now cause of the "passion" and love for serving and loving Christ and his Church!)

  11. Leila- I am so with you on #5... actually, I am planning my own post to that effect this week.
    I think we are so blessed to have a model of humility leading our church. But without Benedict XVI making the very humble decision to step down, Pope Francis would not be there at all. Thanks for sharing this.

  12. ...and the crowd grew restless and began to chant. " we want Sheen, we want Sheen"

  13. Ha ha, you read my mind! Sheen should be here by late tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest!

  14. I finally watched that video from Catholic Vote - thank you for sharing it! So powerful and inspirational. :)


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