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Pope Francis I

Habemus Papam! Sede Occupata!

Yesterday morning just after 7am I was having my breakfast when the noise from my computer, from the live Vatican feed I had embedded on this site (I had tweeted about this), alerted me. White smoke.

My impression, when Jorge Bergoglio, Pope Francis, came out onto the balcony was a moment of what I thought was uncertainty. But that was a misreading. He began speaking without notes, in relaxed, fluent Italian, and was clearly warm and humble. His focus was on being the Bishop of Rome. Might he model being bishop in a diocese, and thereby lead the church in providing a paradigm for other bishops?…

He is the first pope from the Society of Jesus (Jesuit). The first pope from South America, from the New World, and from the Southern Hemisphere. He’s the first non-European pope in over 1,200 years.

There has been some pointing to his facebook presence. I am unsure of his relationship to this page – note that it was being added to while in the conclave, that it announced the white smoke, and was soon followed by images of him on the balcony. This gives me reason to believe someone else is running the page in his name. Some cardinals tweet. He has not been tweeting. But the Vatican showed surprising agility with newish technology in updating digital information rapidly.

He is rumoured to have been the runner up in the last conclave, but pleaded there, “do not vote for me“. Bergoglio’s odds were 33-1 on the betting website, Paddy Power. Although some are saying there were five ballots, my understanding is that he was elected on the fourth. [After day 1, they burn the ballots after every second vote, but they also burn the ballots when the election concludes whatever the number of ballots, and I think it was too early in the evening for there to have been four ballots on day 2.]

He has a degree in Chemistry, and has taught Literature and Psychology. He has been a Novice Master, Provincial, and Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He has been living simply, not in the archbishop’s palace, and using public transport.

Francis is obviously the name of the twelfth century saint, and it is also the name of one of the most famous, early, evangelising Jesuits. It has been made clear, the name is in honour of Francis of Assisi (4:22).

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan gave this insider’s perspective. He said:

most of the cardinals had taken buses back to their residence in the Vatican and had lined up to greet the new pope as he arrived for their last meal as a group.

They were expecting him to arrive in the limousine that they had seen waiting for him at the base of the Apostolic Palace.

“And as the last bus pulls up, guess who gets off? It’s Pope Francis. I guess he told the driver ‘That’s OK, I’ll just go with the boys,'” Dolan told reporters at the American seminary in Rome, the North American College.

Inside the residence, during the dinner, Dolan said the new pope showed his humorous side.

“We toasted him and when he toasted us he said: ‘May God forgive you,’ which brought the house down,” he said.

Benedict XVI stood down for a reason. And Francis will need to pick up with energy the reason that Benedict saw he did not have the vigour for.

Our prayers are with Pope Francis.

Ps. Not all Roman Catholics are enthusiastic…

Pps. There has been much said that is incorrect about whether it is “Pope Francis” or “Pope Francis I”. The claim that it would not be “Francis I” until there was a second “Francis” and that no world leader is “the first” until there is a “second” is plainly false. Pope John Paul I was “Pope John Paul I” from day one. See at 2:45

The announcement was simply, “Franciscum” – Pope Francis.

Ppps. There have been comparisons between Pope Francis and Jeffrey Tambor, even with Woody Allen…etc… They are all wrong. You read it here first. Conspiracy theorists: Pope Francis is actually being played by Jonathan Pryce:

Jonathan Pryce Pope Francis

Well, OK, second. But I did think of it independently – pretty much the moment he walked onto the balcony.

And it gets more complicated. Remember he played Juan Peron in the film version of Evita. Who? The pope?

Don’t cry for me, Argentina…

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