Kishore Jayabalan, Director of Instituto Acton in Rome, Italy, joined France 24 News today to discuss the pontificate of Pope Francis I as he assumes his new office of leadership.
KNOP-TV featured a report earlier this week in which it interviewed Acton president and co-founder, Rev. Robert Sirico describing the tough decision the Cardinals faced when choosing a new pope.
Yesterday, Cardinals choose Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina to be the new pope. A The Detroit News editorial points out that “[t]hirty-nine percent of the world’s Catholics live in Latin America, making this pope a fitting choice for many Catholics.”
Countries with the largest number of Catholics include Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines and U.S. One hundred years ago, that landscape was shifted toward Europe, with France and Italy housing the greatest number.
The Detroit News asked Acton Research Fellow Michael Miller to comment on Bergoglio’s selection:
the choice of Bergoglio came as a surprise to many. But [Miller is] confident the new pope will offer continuity by preserving the strong intellectual tradition carried by Benedict XVI and John Paul II while upholding personal holiness.
Plus, Miller believes Bergoglio’s choice of the name Francis is symbolic of the kind of leader he’ll be. The name could refer to several Catholic saints, including Francis Xavier and Francis of Assisi. Between these saints, they advocated church reform, deep concern for the poor and evangelization. Bergoglio’s own background revolves around social justice and working with the marginalized.
The church needs a leader who can wear many hats, from bringing people to the faith to cleaning up problems both inside and outside the Vatican. Bergoglio has accepted the role with humility and seems ready to begin.
New Delhi TV recently published a Agence Franch-Presse report describing the former pope’s “invisible presence at conclave:”
Retired pope Benedict XVI is gone but far from forgotten as cardinals begin voting for candidates to replace him, with his personal secretary Georg Gaenswein one of the last to leave the Sistine Chapel before the start of the conclave.
Rev. Robert Sirico addresses Benedict’s influence on the conclave:
Benedict has “been very careful not to insert himself into the proceedings” for his succession.
He pointed to Benedict’s “removal of himself to Castel Gandolfo, and the fact that he made no comments or expressed any preferences on a number of the things leading up to his resignation.”
The “pope emeritus,” who turns 86 next month, has begun his retirement at the papal summer residence outside Rome with promises of being “hidden from the world” and living as a “simple pilgrim.”
“Obviously there are consequences to his decision and obviously not all good,” Sirico acknowledged, adding: “It has to weigh on his mind (that the cardinal electors) are in this position because of his decision.”
One obvious consequence is that “future popes could more easily resign,” he noted. (more…)
The conclave to elect a new pope began today in Rome. Guy Dinmore and Giulia Segreti from the Financial Times describe the first day:
Cardinals sequestered in the Sistine chapel held their first vote to choose the 266th pope to lead the Roman Catholic church but black smoke emerging from their burnt ballot papers on Tuesday night signalled no one had secured the two-thirds majority needed for election.
The search for a successor to Benedict XVI, who last month became the first pontiff to abdicate in nearly 600 years, will continue on Wednesday with up to four rounds of voting.
In a ceremony combining pageantry and religious solemnity adapted over the centuries, the 115 voting cardinals took their oaths of secrecy in Latin after chanting their way into Michelangelo’s frescoed chapel, windows obscured and swept for electronic devices. Its doors were then closed and locked, and the princes of the church will remain cut off from the world, spending their nights in a nearby Vatican residence, until a winner emerges.
Regarding the color of the smoke, Rev. Robert Sirico points out that,
… white smoke signifying an elected pope would have been highly unlikely on the first day. Cardinals would next analyse which candidates have emerged with a following.
[Sirico] hazarded that Italy’s Angelo Scola and Marc Ouellet of Canada might have obtained around 40 votes each. Cardinals Odilo Scherer of Brazil and Sean O’Malley of Boston might have taken “a smaller amount.”
The full article is available here, but registration may be required to access it.
When most folks (Catholic and non-Catholic alike) hear “papal infallibility”, they often think “Catholics have to believe everything the pope says. They have to believe he’s never wrong.” Except that sometimes he is wrong, and that idea is too. In light of all the commentary we are going to hear in the coming weeks as the Church prepares to elect a new pope, it’s a good time to take a look at this particular Church teaching.
First, Catholics believe that Christ himself established the papacy by declaring Peter “rock” (Mt. 16:18) Thus, the “Chair of Peter” is the one the pope occupies as Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff of the Church. All popes are heir to the legacy of Peter. As John Zmirak explains, “What the bishop is for his diocese, the pope is for the whole church.” (more…)