March 13th, 2013

And the winner is…

Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, who has taken the name Pope Francis.

Bergoglio is the first Jesuit to be pope and the first pope from Latin America. It had been widely speculated that a new pope might be chosen from that region.

I note that Bergoglio is an interesting compromise in the diversity sense. He’s from Latin America, but the name “Bergoglio” indicates Italian ancestry, as is true of a huge number of Argentinians. This would make him a semi-throwback to the days when popes tended to be Italian (skimming this list rather quickly indicates that the first non-Italian Pope since medieval times was elected in 1978).

Bergoglio is known as a champion of the poor—and an opponent of abortion, so the left will of course be disappointed in that second aspect of his resume.

At 76 he’s not exactly a spring chicken, so his selection doesn’t necessarily get around the old age problem that faced his predecessor and apparently caused him to resign. Of course, the pool of cardinals from which the pope is drawn consists mostly of the elderly, so it’s highly likely that a pope will be rather old even at the beginning of his term.

13 Responses to “And the winner is…”

  1. MollyNH Says:

    poor pope or ANYONE of faith these days
    get ready for the onslaught of berating, criticism,
    for the “backward unmodern mindset” our leftist media will accuse you of
    Odd that “jihad, fatwha, shiria law, & the saudi death penalties for robbery, theft, adultery are all met with a stone wall of silence,
    So so easy to assail Christians, after all they turn the other cheek, so pile on

  2. expat Says:

    I wonder whether he will have any effect on Hispanics in America. He is against gay marriage, and he apparently stood up to Jesuits who had moved pretty far left. It will be interesting to get to know him.

  3. kathhg Says:

    With age comes often comes wisdom.

  4. kathhg Says:

    What I meant was – With age often comes wisdom. I have no problem with an elderly Pope.

  5. Kelly two Says:

    I wonder if he will be subjected to the hostility from the press that Pope Emeritus Benedict faced. Pope Francis is staunchly pro-family (natch), against SSM, fought against liberation theology, has worked for and with poverty stricken folks. This ought to be another fascinating pontificate.

  6. Artfldgr Says:

    If they didn’t decide, i was hoping father Guido Sarduchi would resurrect the FIND THE POPE IN THE PIZZA

  7. Surellin Says:

    Technically a new pope doesn’t have to be chosen from among the cardinals – he could be anyone who is ordained. And technically members of the Supreme Court don’t have to be lawyers or even from the Ivy League. But there are these traditions, dontcha know….

  8. E.M.H. Says:

    While I don’t know if he’ll be a good Pope or a bad Pope yet, there’s one thing that got my attention loud and clear and made me an instant fan:

    He’s a foe of Liberation Theology.

    There’s still more to learn about the new Francis I, and I’m not ready to declare any judgement complete on just one data point. But I am heartened by yet another Pope continuing in the line from John Paul through Benedict XVI in rejecting the unholy (I’m not being sarcastic about that term; I really mean “unholy”) forced-interjection of Marxist revolutionary reactionism into Catholic practice.

    I guess you’d have to be Latin American or Filipino to truly grasp how horrific it is to see an honest and humble priest suborned into becoming a guerrilla agitator outside of society and the very flock he’s supposed to serve, but I’ve really got an aversion to the whole notion of Liberation Theology. And it stems from a different place than where either John Paul or Benedict came at it from.

  9. ziontruth Says:

    “I note that Bergoglio is an interesting compromise in the diversity sense.”

    (Not in criticism of the blog hostess, of course—just the prevailing idea) Yeah, because choosing people for a job according as they tick the requisite “diversity” checkboxes has worked wonders for the American presidency. /sarc

  10. Gringo Says:

    E.M.H.
    While I don’t know if he’ll be a good Pope or a bad Pope yet, there’s one thing that got my attention loud and clear and made me an instant fan: He’s a foe of Liberation Theology.

    Very important point. Over the decades athe Nobel Prize winner V.S. Naipaul has written a number of perceptive-and controversial- articles about Argentina in the New York Review of Books.

    In a 1992 article [Argentina-Living with Cruelty, NYR, January 30,1992] which is unfortunately behind a paywall, Naipaul wrote about an interview he had with a former guerrilla. The former guerrilla talked about radical priests from Acción Católica who were counselors at his high school. According to the former guerrilla, “The Montonero guerrillas, the Peronista guerrillas started because of the influence of these priests. One of them was called Father Mujica.He was killed by paramilitary forces in 1974.”

    Naipaul remembered that two decades before he had interviewed Padre Mujica at a “villa miseria” [slum] where Father Mujica presided over a church. At the time, Naipaul did not realize that Mujica was “one of the patrons of the guerrillas.” A middle class businessman had presented Mujica as “one of the ‘Priests for the Third World.’ ” [quotes from a photocopy of the 1992 article]

    These excerpts from Naupaul’s 1972 NYR article, The Corpse at the Iron Gate, where he interviews Father Mujica, illustrates some of the irrationality behind the Liberation Theology proponents and the Montonero/Peronista guerrillas.

    The priest in charge was one of the “Priests for the Third World.” He wore a black leather jacket and his little concrete shed of a church, oversimple, rocked with some amplified Argentine song. It had been whispered to me that the priest came of a very good family; and perhaps the change of company had made him vain. He was of course a Peronist, and he said that all his Indians were Peronist. “Only an Argentine can understand Peronism. I can talk to you for five years about Peronism, but you will never understand.”
    But couldn’t we try? He said Peronism wasn’t concerned with economic growth; they rejected the consumer society. But hadn’t he just been complaining about the unemployment in the interior, the result of government folly, that was sending two Indians into his shantytown for every one that left? He said he wasn’t going to waste his time talking to a norteamericano; some people were concerned only with GNP.

    [How could Naipaul, a Trinidadian of East Indian ancestry who spoke English with some combination of Trini/UK accents, could be mistaken for a Norteamericano/American, is beyond my ken. OTOH, my Chilean boss in Trinidad was very pleased when I reported to him that one of our Trini employees told me the Chilean spoke with "a Yank accent"- which to my Yanqui ears he did not.It all depends on your perspective, I guess.]

    … But the man with me was uneasy. He said we should at least wait and tell the father I wasn’t an American. We did so. And the father, abashed, explained that Peronism was really concerned with the development of the human spirit. Such a development had taken place in Cuba and China; in those countries they had turned their backs on the industrial society.

    The government is to be blamed for policies which do not promote economic growth. But economic growth is not as important as “development of the human spirit” as is done in totalitarian societies such as Fidel’s Cuba or Mao’s China. More irrationality follows.

    These lawyers had been represented to me as a group working for “civil rights.” They were young, stylishly dressed, and they were meeting that morning to draft a petition against torture. The top-floor flat was scruffy and bare; visitors were scrutinized through the peep-hole; everybody whispered; and there was a lot of cigarette smoke. Intrigue, danger. But one of the lawyers was diverted by my invitation to lunch, and at lunch—he was a hearty and expensive eater—he made it clear that the torture they were protesting against wasn’t to be confused with the torture in Perón’s time.
    He said: “When justice is the justice of the people men sometimes commit excesses. But in the final analysis the important thing is that justice should be done in the name of the people.” Who were the enemies of the people? His response was tabulated and swift. “American imperialism. And its native allies. The oligarchy, the dependent bourgeoisie, Zionism, and the ‘sepoy’ left. By sepoys we mean the Communist Party and socialism in general.” It seemed a comprehensive list. Who were the Peronists? “Peronism is a revolutionary national movement. There is a great difference between a movement and a party. We are not Stalinists, and a Peronist is anyone who calls himself a Peronist and acts like a Peronist.” …
    “There are no internal enemies,” the trade union leader said, with a smile. But at the same time he thought that torture would continue in Argentina. “A world without torture is an ideal world.” And there was torture and torture. “Depende de quién sea torturado. It depends on who is tortured. An evildoer, that’s all right. But a man who’s trying to save the country—that’s something else.”

    Years before the butchers and torturers of the 1976-83 military government took over, the opponents of the military gave sanction to torture. This shows that the military torturers and butchers were unfortunately not an aberration of Argentine society, but an expression of it.

    Had the guerrillas not continued their kidnappings, killings and bombings while Argentina was governed by democratically elected Peronist Presidents [Juan and Isabel/Evita II], the military butchers would never have staged their coup in 1976.

    [There were right wing Peronists and left wing Peronists, which explains why left wing Peronists would continue their kidnapping,killings, bank robberies, and bombings under a democratically elected Peronist government.]

    From what little I have read, the new Pope has been an opponent of the Kirchners, Nestor and Cristina/Evita III. Bear in mind that the Kirchners- especially Nestor- had former Montoneros in upper level positions in the government.

    Following are some NYR/Naipaul links:
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1972/oct/19/comprehending-borges/?pagination=false Comprehending Borges

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1972/aug/10/the-corpse-at-the-iron-gate/?pagination=false The Corpse at the Iron Gate

  11. rickl Says:

    Wretchard has an interesting post up at Belmont Club: Francis

    It includes the following:

    So in terms of the current context of Latin American politics, Bergoglio stands in a position analogous to that of John Paul II in relationship to the politics of Eastern Europe.

    Very interesting!

  12. A_Nonny_Mouse Says:

    It *WILL* be interesting.

    It’s my understanding that the Catholic Church has had a problem for decades with Jesuits in South America – so many of them turn into “Marxist firebrands” for whatever reason. Hopefully Francis/ Bergoglio is not among them!

  13. ConceptJunkie Says:

    Actually, _any_ Catholic man can be elected as Pope. Of course, if he is not ordained, he will have to be: deacon, priest and bishop. I don’t know if a non-priest was ever elected Pope, but they were sometimes appointed as bishops in those days when monarchs appointed the bishops, which would then be confirmed by the Pope.

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