Well, today was just a little crazy, wasn’t it? I really didn’t expect to have a new pope this soon. And what a pope…. already so many new precedents: the first pope from the new world, the first pope from the Southern hemisphere. The first Jesuit pope. The first pope named Francis. By all accounts he is a humble and holy man and his own actions on the balcony today spoke volumes. He first asked us to pray for Pope Emeritus Benedict and led us in saying those prayers. Then he asked everyone to pray for him. Only then did he give his papal blessing to the city of Rome and to the world. His motto is Miserando atque eligendo,lowly but chosen.
Anyway, let me back up a minute. I had just put Anthony down for his nap and opened my laptop to check my email when I saw a little Facebook notification from Charlotte pop up in the corner of my screen: “That is WHITE isn’t it?” Immediately after that someone else popped up with a white smoke comment. I jumped over to the chimney webcam and sure enough white smoke. My phone buzzed with the Popealarm message and then rang: it was Dom! I burst out of the bedroom yelling and jumping for joy, carrying the computer so the kids could see the smoke. (Poor Sophie later told me she thought I had come out to yell at them to be quiet because Anthony was sleeping.) Bella scurried to get the iPad so we could watch on the Catholic TV app. (It was later overwhelmed and crashed before the announcement of the new pope.)
After I hung up with Dom I called my sister and we chatted for a minute before she had to get back to work. Then I called my dad and we chatted. Finally the Catholic TV app was crashing so much and I wasn’t confident about the various feeds I had livestreaming on my computer so we decided to try to watch on tv in the office but I couldn’t figure out how to work the tv remote and so we missed the actual announcement. It happened so fast, blink and he’d come and gone. But I figured out the tv before Pope Francis made his historic first appearance on the balcony.
While we were waiting Bella was all abuzz. She told me that she was overwhelmed with joy and that she was feeling all sorts of emotions all at once, excitement, scared, nervous, shivering. She really caught the emotion. Sophie was full of questions. I think she asked me five times how they elect the pope.
There was a lot of buzz about Cardinal Sean as a possibility for the next pope. I’m rather glad he’s coming back to Boston. Here he is with the future Pope Francis.
We were so excited this afternoon we didn’t have our usual read aloud time. After I turned off the tv I jumped onto Facebook to rejoice with everyone there and read about the new pope. I gave the kids each a square of chocolate to celebrate. (Bella and Sophie did not like them very much because they had mint filling. But they ate them with the fierce determination of children who don’t get sweet treats very often, washing down the mint with plenty of water.) I had not a bit of mental space to spare for thinking of dinner so we met Dom at Chili’s. Now I’m staying up far too late. Too excited to sleep. But I really must.
First, thought, some of my favorite bits from today:
Pope Francis’ first words:
Brothers and sisters good evening.
You all know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother Cardinals have come almost to the ends of the earth to get him… but here we are. I thank you for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome.
First of all I would say a prayer pray for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI.. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord bless him and Our Lady protect him.
Glory to the Father…
And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood . My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with help of my Cardinal Vicar, be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.
And now I would like to give the blessing, but first I want to ask you a favour. Before the bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me – the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer – your prayer for me – in silence.[The Protodeacon announced that all those who received the blessing, either in person or by radio, television or by the new means of communication receive the plenary indulgence in the form established by the Church. He prayed that Almighty God protect and guard the Pope so that he may lead the Church for many years to come, and that he would grant peace to the Church throughout the world.] [Immediately afterwards Pope Francis gave his first blessing Urbi et Orbi – To the City and to the World.]
I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.
Brothers and sisters, I am leaving you. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me and I will be with you again soon.
We will see one another soon.
Tomorrow I want to go to pray the Madonna, that she may protect Rome.
Good night and sleep well!
I love the crack about going almost to the ends of the world to find him.
Cardinal Dolan told reporters the surprising story of how the newly elected pope decided to take the bus back to the hotel Wednesday with the rest of the cardinals instead of riding in the Holy Father’s car.
“So we take the buses over and cardinals kind of wait outside to greet the new Holy Father as he comes back to Doma Santa Marta…and as the last bus pulls up, guess who gets off the bus? Pope Francis,” Dolan said. “So I guess he told the driver, ‘That’s OK. I’ll just go with the guys on the bus.’”
Evidently as cardinal he rode public transportation, cooked his own meals, lived in a simple apartment instead of the archbishop’s residence.
and this from Cardinal Bergoglio’s Lenten Letter:
Little by little we become accustomed to hearing and seeing, through the mass media, the dark chronicle of contemporary society, presented with an almost perverse elation, and also we become [desensitized] to touching it and feeling it all around us [even] in our own flesh. Drama plays out on the streets, in our neighborhoods, in our homes and—why not?—even in our own hearts. We live alongside a violence that kills, that destroys families, that enlivens wars and conflicts in so many countries of the world. We live with envy, hatred, slander, the mundane in our heart.
The suffering of the innocent and peaceable buffets us nonstop; the contempt for the rights of the most fragile of people and nations is not so distant from us; the tyrannical rule of money with its demonic effects, such as drugs, corruption, trafficking in people—even children—along with misery, both material and moral, are the coin of the realm [today]. The destruction of dignified work, painful emigrations and the lack of a future also join in this [tragic] symphony.
Our errors and sins as Church are not beyond this analysis. Rationalizing selfishnesses, does not diminish it, lack of ethical values within a society metastisizes in [our] families, in the environment of [our] neighborhoods, towns and cities, [this lack of ethical values] testifies to our limitations, to our weaknesses and to our incapacity to transform this innumerable list of destructive realities.
The trap of powerlessness makes us wonder: Does it make sense to try to change all this? Can we do anything against this? Is it worthwhile to try, if the world continues its carnival merriment, disguising all [this tragedy] for a little while? But, when the mask falls, the truth appears and, although to many it may sound anachronistic to say so, once again sin becomes apparent, sin that wounds our very flesh with all its destructive force, twisting the destinies of the world and of the history.
He seems to be very willing to speak out forcefully against injustice in the world and in the Church. Consider this:
“In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don’t baptize the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage,” Bergoglio told his priests. “These are today’s hypocrites. Those who clericalize the Church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it’s baptized!”
Bergoglio compared this concept of Catholicism to the Pharisees of Christ’s time: people who congratulate themselves while condemning others.
“Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit,” Bergoglio said.
Tomorrow he goes to meet with Pope Benedict. Saturday he meets with the press. The Mass of Inauguration will be Tuesday, the Feast of St Joseph, who is the Patron of the Universal Church.
God bless Pope Francis.
I can’t wait to get to know him.
Although there are videos of our new pope all over You Tube, it can be hard to find one that doesn’t have commentators talking over him. This one is cut off before his blessing of the people and the world but at least contains his first words. I love being able to hear his own voice and to focus on that rather than a bad on the fly translation. If I find a better one I’ll update. If you know of a video with the full appearance and no voiceover, please post the link in the comments: