Habemus Papam

I’m not a Catholic, but I share in the joy and excitement of my many friends and associates who are, for this is a historic day.


Had Cardinal Ouillet been elected, I had this great Cheezburger picture of him ready to go, with the caption “Eh-men!”. The universe, however, perversely robbed me of an opportunity to shine for 15 seconds or so. It would have been worth a few upvotes over at Reddit, certainly.

In the lead-up to the conclave, I have taken the opportunity to re-watch Saving Grace[1] more than once, and today as I watched the new pontiff[2] stand before his assembled faithful, pronounce blessings upon them, bow humbly to receive their prayers, and pray with them in a way that the youngest and poorest Catholic child could understand and follow, I was moved by his simplicity and humility; I could only imagine the terror and weight of responsibility and feelings of unworthiness that filled the new leader’s soul as he confronted this moment.

This is certainly a seminal moment; the first Pope from the new world, and definitely not an aristocrat. Cardinal Bergoglio appears to be doctrinally conservative, which doesn’t bode well for those hoping for reforms in Vatican policies towards the gay community or towards women – but time will tell.

Whatever the case, this man will now have an impact upon the lives of over 1 billion Catholics, and by the ripple effect, indirectly on much of the rest of the world. I offer him my prayers for strength, for health, for good humor and the ability to endure the rigorous life that awaits him, and above all for divine inspiration to lead his flock towards greater equality, greater tolerance, greater understanding, greater peace, and greater prosperity.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

[1] It’s a lovely film, and “it’s a good story.” Watch it if you can – it’s unfortunately not available on DVD, but deserves wider exposure.
[2] I haven’t had a TV in my home for over 15 years, but thanks to the miracle of the Internet, live feeds were available.

7 responses to “Habemus Papam

  1. Thank you for your prayers, Chris! It is very kind of you to pray for the spiritual leader of a group with which you do not agree!

    Aw, now I have the warm fuzzies. {{{{Chris}}}}

    Yeah, that would have been a great meme. It would still work with Canadian Catholics, if you know any.

    • If you were to draw a Venn diagram of Catholic and LDS doctrine and values, the intersection would be far greater than the symmetric difference. Unfortunately for both our faiths, salvation is generally perceived to be “all or nothing,” but worldwide, Catholics and Mormons have long been partners in striving to raise the human condition and bring people to Christ. Co-belligerents, if you will.

      • Co-belligerents! I love it!

        It will be very interesting to see how Pope Francis does things. A Jesuit who lived in a small apartment, cooked his own food, and took the bus! There is a certain amount of luxury inherent in being pope, and it will be interesting to see how he deals with it.

        Better minds than mine have split theological hairs. I used to like that kind of thing but not so much now. We are all trying to tend God’s sheep, and we will learn more about the finer points of doctrine when we die. I kind of subscribe to the Gospel according to C. S. Lewis as written in The Great Divorce, anyway.

      • I’m replying here because your blog doesn’t let me respond to you a few entries down.

        Thanks very much for the link to the press release from the First Presidency! Them’re gracious words! I especially like the reference to Philippians. That was a master stroke!

  2. Hi Chris,
    Thank you for your thoughtful words and your prayers. I – as a Catholic, though not a very devout one – am praying, too, mainly that he’ll have the strength to clean up what I consider an unholy mess in the Vatican.
    Best regards from southern Texas,

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