I spent my first fourteen years in the Catholic church but really haven’t kept up with the details except for an occasional theology study. I know the picture here is a once in an era event. It has been centuries since a pope has resigned from office. The first thought that came to mind when I saw the picture here is that of two very old men embracing each other. I wish the new Pope Francis a successful reign, or whatever his term is called, no matter how many years it is. He was a Jesuit and I know they embraced simplicity and empathy as their worldview. I hope he carries out that theme in his time at the head of the Catholic church.
I think almost everyone knows that the Catholic church is one of the biggest bureaucracies in the world. If they were a corporation they would definitely be in the top ten or maybe even number one. They have accumulated vast wealth beyond most comprehension. I also know that their structure is very vertical in nature. That is the Pope/CEO has the ultimate authority and can veto almost anything that he wants.
I don’t know whether the Pope is like a monarch who is more of a ceremonial thing or like a CEO? I am thinking maybe a little of both. But I do know that the previous pope has had a rough time of it while he was in office and can understand why he would want to resign and let someone else take over. I’m sure he is exhausted from all the battles the church has faced during his reign.
I am surprised that the cardinals chose a South American as their next leader. Admittedly South America and Africa are where the most potential growth comes from. But those two continents are also known for bucking the edicts of Rome on occasion. They just don’t always align with papal authority. Now that one of their own is in charge that may change but probably not.
Ending this post I really wonder just what went on in selecting the new pope. Rome as usual tries to keep this sort of thing hidden. Maybe that is to make it seem more mysterious or spiritual. I don’t know. I know that most of my years in the church were spent hearing Latin; I didn’t really know why that was either. I guess I am just too American in that I want things to happen in the light of day and not behind closed doors or behind hunched shoulders.
I enjoyed all the cartoons about speculation of what went one in the pope selection process. The funniest one was that the first cardinal to make a basket from half court was the new pope. 🙂 I don’t hate the pope as I think many of my Protestants brothers and sisters are taught so I wish him well in his duties whatever they are. I don’t want to insult my Catholic friends here but I really don’t think Pope Francis has any different of the track to God than any of the rest of us. God is just not into hierarchy stuff as the Roman Catholic church is. He is, to continue the basketball theme, more one-on-one.