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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

We have a pope! Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio emerges from papal conclave as Francis, first pope from the Americas

To the delight of many Catholics (includ­ing this one!) the one hun­dred and fif­teen car­di­nals who par­tic­i­pat­ed in this year’s just-con­clud­ed papal con­clave in Vat­i­can City have, at long last, giv­en the Church its first pon­tiff from the New World.

Car­di­nal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the arch­bish­op of Buenos Aires, Argenti­na, has just been intro­duced to the world as the next Bish­op of Rome. He is, as men­tioned, the first pope to have been born in the Amer­i­c­as; he is also the first Jesuit pope. (The Soci­ety of Jesus, whose mem­bers are known as Jesuits, is a well-known Catholic reli­gious order. A num­ber of the Unit­ed States’ best- known uni­ver­si­ties were found­ed by Jesuit priests and remain affil­i­at­ed with the Soci­ety, includ­ing Seat­tle Uni­ver­si­ty and Gon­za­ga Uni­ver­si­ty here in Wash­ing­ton State).

Begoglio has tak­en the name Fran­cis­co, or Fran­cis in Eng­lish.

He is the first pope to take that name.

The new Pope, Francis I, waves from a balcony to crowds assembled in St. Peter's Square. (Photo: Vatican News Service)

The new Pope, Fran­cis I, waves from a bal­cony to crowds assem­bled in St. Peter’s Square. (Pho­to: Vat­i­can News Ser­vice)

At a cer­e­mo­ny in Vat­i­can City an hour ago (8:23 PM Vat­i­can Time), Begoglio gave his first pub­lic remarks as pon­tiff. He asked the cheer­ing crowds to pray for the pope emer­i­tus (Bene­dict) and also for him as he assumes his new respon­si­bil­i­ties. He then blessed the assem­bled mul­ti­tude before head­ing back inside St. Peter’s Basil­i­ca, flanked by sev­er­al smil­ing car­di­nals.

The Vat­i­can Radio ser­vice has begun broad­cast­ing a short biog­ra­phy of the new pope. Here is the tran­script:

The man elect­ed to be the 265th Suc­ces­sor of Saint Peter in the con­clave, is Car­di­nal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., Arch­bish­op of Buenos Aires, Argenti­na, Ordi­nary for East­ern-rite faith­ful in Argenti­na who lack an Ordi­nary of their own rite. He was born on 17 Decem­ber 1936 in Buenos Aires. He was ordained for the Jesuits on 13 Decem­ber 1969 dur­ing his the­o­log­i­cal stud­ies at the The­o­log­i­cal Fac­ul­ty of San Miguel.

He was novice mas­ter in San Miguel, where he also taught the­ol­o­gy. He was Provin­cial for Argenti­na (1973–1979) and rec­tor of the Philo­soph­i­cal and The­o­log­i­cal Fac­ul­ty of San Miguel (1980–1986). After com­plet­ing his doc­tor­al dis­ser­ta­tion in Ger­many, he served as a con­fes­sor and spir­i­tu­al direc­tor in Córdoba.On 20 May 1992 he was appoint­ed tit­u­lar Bish­op of Auca and Aux­il­iary of Buenos Aires, receiv­ing epis­co­pal con­se­cra­tion on 27 June. On 3 June 1997 was appoint­ed Coad­ju­tor Arch­bish­op of Buenos Aires and suc­ceed­ed Car­di­nal Anto­nio Quar­ra­ci­no on 28 Feb­ru­ary 1998. He is also Ordi­nary for East­ern-rite faith­ful in Argenti­na who lack an Ordi­nary of their own rite.
Adjunct Rela­tor Gen­er­al of the 10th Ordi­nary Gen­er­al Assem­bly of the Syn­od of Bish­ops, Octo­ber 2001.

He served as Pres­i­dent of the Bish­ops’ Con­fer­ence of Argenti­na from 8 Novem­ber 2005 until 8 Novem­ber 2011. Cre­at­ed and pro­claimed Car­di­nal by the Bl. John Paul II in the con­sis­to­ry of 21 Feb­ru­ary 2001, of the Title of S. Rober­to Bel­larmi­no (St. Robert Bel­larmine).

The Catholic News Ser­vice report on Fran­cis’ elec­tion notes that as the leader of the Buenos Aires dio­cese, he was very much a peo­ple’s bish­op:

Since 1998, he has been arch­bish­op of Buenos Aires, where his style is low-key and close to the peo­ple.

He rides the bus, vis­its the poor, lives in a sim­ple apart­ment and cooks his own meals. To many in Buenos Aires, he is known sim­ply as “Father Jorge.”

He also has cre­at­ed new parish­es, restruc­tured the admin­is­tra­tive offices, led pro-life ini­tia­tives and start­ed new pas­toral pro­grams, such as a com­mis­sion for divorcees. He co-presided over the 2001 Syn­od of Bish­ops and was elect­ed to the syn­od coun­cil, so he is well-known to the world’s bish­ops.

Father Jorge is now Fran­cis I — the supreme leader of the Roman Catholic Church. It is fit­ting that he is is from South Amer­i­ca, as that is the con­ti­nent where the Church has seen the most growth over the last sev­er­al hun­dred years.

This decade may well be remem­bered as the era when South Amer­i­ca came of age on the world stage. The selec­tion of Car­di­nal Bergoglio as the next pon­tiff is a mon­u­men­tal event for the world and for South Amer­i­ca. And anoth­er his­toric event will take place in three and a half years’ time when Rio de Jainero hosts the 2016 Sum­mer Olympics. (No South Amer­i­can city has ever host­ed a Games before).

As Fran­cis’ papa­cy has just begun, it is too soon to know what kind of a pope he will be like. He does, of course, have very con­ser­v­a­tive views on many issues that pro­gres­sive activists care about, such as mar­riage equal­i­ty or repro­duc­tive rights. But in oth­er respects he could be more lib­er­al or pro­gres­sive than his pre­de­ces­sors. The Catholic Church in Latin Amer­i­ca places a stronger empha­sis on social jus­tice… and that’s a good thing. This is per­haps the best out­come of the papal con­clave that pro­gres­sive Catholics could have hoped for.

Fran­cis I is two years younger than Bene­dict was when he became the Church’s leader. His papa­cy is unlike­ly to be as long as John Paul II’s, but it promis­es to be ground­break­ing in many ways.

“On behalf of the Amer­i­can peo­ple, Michelle and I offer our warm wish­es to His Holi­ness Pope Fran­cis as he ascends to the Chair of Saint Peter and begins his papa­cy,” Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma said in a state­ment released moments ago.

“As a cham­pi­on of the poor and the most vul­ner­a­ble among us, he car­ries forth the mes­sage of love and com­pas­sion that has inspired the world for more than two thou­sand years—that in each oth­er we see the face of God. As the first pope from the Amer­i­c­as, his selec­tion also speaks to the strength and vital­i­ty of a region that is increas­ing­ly shap­ing our world, and along­side mil­lions of His­pan­ic Amer­i­cans, those of us in the Unit­ed States share the joy of this his­toric day.”

“Just as I appre­ci­at­ed our work with Pope Bene­dict XVI, I look for­ward to work­ing with His Holi­ness to advance peace, secu­ri­ty and dig­ni­ty for our fel­low human beings, regard­less of their faith. We join with peo­ple around the world in offer­ing our prayers for the Holy Father as he begins the sacred work of lead­ing the Catholic Church in our mod­ern world,” the Pres­i­dent con­clud­ed.

“The elec­tion of Car­di­nal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has tak­en the name Fran­cis, marks a great mile­stone in our church,” said Car­di­nal Tim­o­thy Dolan of New York, the cur­rent pres­i­dent of the U.S. Con­fer­ence of Catholic Bish­ops. “As suc­ces­sor to Peter, our first pope, Pope Fran­cis stands as the fig­ure of uni­ty for all Catholics wher­ev­er they reside. The bish­ops of the Unit­ed States and the peo­ple of our 195 dio­ce­ses offer prayers for our new leader and promise alle­giance to him.”

“Intense prayer from all around the world sur­round­ed the elec­tion of Pope Fran­cis. The bish­ops of the Unit­ed States thank God for the guid­ance of the Holy Spir­it and the inspired choice of the Col­lege of Car­di­nals. With joy in our hearts, we declare Ad Mul­tos Annos! (For many years!)”

Arch­bish­op Peter J. Sar­tain, who was cho­sen by Pope Fran­cis’ pre­de­ces­sor Bene­dict XVI a few years ago as the leader of Wash­ing­ton’s largest Roman Catholic dio­cese (the Arch­dio­cese of Seat­tle) , said he wit­nessed the intro­duc­tion of the new pope on tele­vi­sion like many oth­er Catholics in the Pacif­ic North­west.

“The elec­tion of a new pope is an act of faith on the part of the car­di­nals, because they have placed their hope in God to guide them,” Sar­tain wrote in a col­umn post­ed on the Arch­dio­ce­se’s web­site.

“For me as an arch­bish­op and for Catholics every­where, receiv­ing a new pope means that God has been once again faith­ful to his promise that he would always pro­vide a shep­herd for the church, a suc­ces­sor to St. Peter, a bish­op of Rome, the first pas­tor of the uni­ver­sal church.”

“His choice of the name Fran­cis sig­nals that he strives to be a man of humil­i­ty and love for the poor, and the fact that he asked the hun­dreds of thou­sand stand­ing before him to pray for him fur­ther under­scores his humil­i­ty.”

“Not even know­ing who he would be, I began pray­ing for him weeks ago. I con­grat­u­late His Holi­ness, Pope Fran­cis, on his elec­tion to the See of Peter. I promise my obe­di­ence and my prayers.”

“As was announced at the Vat­i­can just a few hours ago, we have indeed received news of great joy in the elec­tion of Pope Fran­cis.”

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3 Comments

  1. Thank you for the hard work! God Bless All!

    # by Nancy Remollo Diaz :: March 13th, 2013 at 2:14 PM
  2. Wish­ing all the best for our new pope, His Holi­ness Pope Fran­cis!

    # by Denny Antony Chiramel :: March 13th, 2013 at 10:37 PM
  3. Evil can­not pre­vail. Hur­rah for Pope Fran­cis!

    # by Aramnonu Chinoso :: March 15th, 2013 at 12:55 AM

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  1. […] We have a pope! Car­di­nal Jorge Mario Bergoglio emerges from papal con­clave …North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute Offi­cial Blog (blog)And anoth­er his­toric event will take place in three and a half years’ time when Rio de Jainero hosts the 2016 Sum­mer Olympics. (No South Amer­i­can city has ever host­ed a Games before). As Fran­cis’ papa­cy has just begun, it is too soon to know what kind …and more […]