Anthony Faiola and Jason Horowitz have a good perspective in the Washington Post:
VATICAN CITY — In his first morning as supreme pontiff and leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, Pope Francis visited the ancient Roman basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary, slipping in a side entrance and praying for a half an hour.
The 8 a.m. stop at Italy’s largest basilica (3 a.m. Eastern) was not a surprise. Minutes after his quick election on the second day of deliberation inside the conclave, Francis asked his fellow cardinals if they would wait until later Thursday to return to the Sistine Chapel with him for a special Mass.
[ . . . ]
Dolan talked at length about how Francis eschewed a motorcade for a minibus after being elected (”And as the last bus pulls up, guess who gets off?” Dolan said, “It’s Pope Francis. I guess he told the driver, ‘that’s ok, I’ll just go with the boys’ ”), and how he asked the cardinals to skip a post-election prayer because he didn’t want to keep the throngs of well-wishers in St. Peter’s Square waiting in the rain.
I’ll cheer tomorrow, maybe, or maybe, I’ll cry.
It’s impossible for me not to be dubious about a man who champions the poor, but opposes contraception for the poor. Genesis gives us dominion of the world but we have reached a point where the pressure of increasing population is feeding the degradation of our dominion.
In Tacitus, a British chieftain denounces the Romans: “They have made a desert and called it peace.” (some translate desert as solitude) We are literally creating deserts now and the result will not be peaceful.
It will be interesting to see how this works out in the United States. Will Pope Francis honor the “Nuns on the Bus.” Will he rebuke the President of the United States for supporting contraceptive services in Obamacare? Will he call down fire from heaven on those Catholic politicians who support same sex marriage?
The politicians in this country who support the Church’s positions on contraception and abortion are are usually the ones most at war with the poor. There are some exceptions. Bob Casey, for example, who are not. But practically speaking, in this diverse nation, the consensus seems very strong with the social liberals.
I think the first real test will be the nuns. Will the inquisition of the social justice nuns continue. Will the pressure to have them don medieval habits and return to the classroom continue?
Francis I has made a good start as Bishop of Rome and should set an example for clergy around the world. At this rate his pontificate will be appreciated, in England for example, where Catholic politicians keep Church doctrine in mind, an approach that could not be more different from those of most US Catholic politicians whose Catholicism can be questioned.
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