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Pope Francis I

March 13, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
I have a few initial thoughts on the new Pope Francis I, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina.

I saw his welcome speech and thought he seemed informal, likeable and down to earth. He asked for the crowd and people watching over TV and the Internet to pray for him and also led them in prayers for churches worldwide, prayers that every Catholic child learns by age 6 or 7: the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Glory Be. This could only have made everyone feel part of the occasion.

By initial press accounts, Bergoglio is a theological conservative, which was probably inevitable for the new Pope based on the turn the Church has taken in recent years. On the other hand, Bergoglio was noted for his strong concern for the poor and dislike of pretension. He gave a speech last year scolding priests who refuse to baptize the babies of single mothers, noting that this could only drive people away from the Church and that Jesus Christ himself sat down with prostitutes. He chose Francis as his Papal name after Saint Francis of Assisi, a saint famous for his ministry to the poor as well as his love of animals and the environment.

Bergoglio is a chemist and also made a habit of cooking his own dinner and taking public transportation. He's also a Jesuit, the first one from the order to become Pope. That's an order noted for producing strong intellectuals who sometimes have criticized Church theology. Some of his fellow cardinals apparently think he's a saintly fellow. He's also the first Pope from the Americas.

I don't know if it's terribly wise to choose a new Pope who is already 76, particularly since Pope Benedict recently resigned because his poor health means he can no longer do the job. On the other hand, maybe it should be a new tradition for Popes to abdicate when they no longer feel up to the job.

What do you think of the new Pope Francis I?


Article Comments



Mar-15-13 10:38 AM


Open the links for references.


Mar-15-13 10:04 AM

Which website?

Keep in mind that not everything on websites that talk about Mary Magdalene are accurate. Some of them are left over from The da Vinci Code craze and some are wildly speculative based on some of the apocryphal Gnostic texts that have been rediscovered in recent years. There's definitely been speculation that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and one early Christian group may have believed that. Personally I think there's more evidence that she was a highly respected disciple of Jesus and had her own group of followers in early Christianity and they were later suppressed, along with various other groups, in favor of what we now know as orthodox Christianity. The books we know as the Bible weren't all that was written.


Mar-15-13 8:42 AM

AJ, I googled Mary Magdalene and found a website about it. The website provided the sources of information also.

Without 'doubt' we would not have had Thomas the Apostle.

Mar-14-13 3:55 PM

EarlyBird, if what you say is true, I wonder how much more of the bible has been changed to suit the purpose of the priesthood at the time.


Mar-14-13 3:26 PM

Where are you taking that from?

There has definitely been some interesting scholarly works published about the role of women in early Christianity and some of the apocryphal texts mention Mary Magdalene as a prominent disciple of Jesus. There's also much debate about Junia in the New Testament and what was meant when it was written she was "noted among the Apostles."


Mar-14-13 2:25 PM

"In order to change the history of Jesus and Mary, the Roman Catholic Church chose to discredit Mary Magdalene and keep the marriage secret, so as to make Christianity a solely patriarchal religion. To accomplish this they made use of ambiguous comments in the New Testament, put mis-translations into Bible texts, and issued Church Decrees to make the story of Jesus to be read as the Church wished it from then on. This began a period of almost two thousand years in which the feminine aspect of God The Creator was denied, although The Catholic Church were later obliged to restore it in part by introducing worship of The Virgin Mary, Jesus' mother, into its rites." We will very likely see much more involvement of women in the Church.


Mar-14-13 2:19 PM

At the age of 27, Mary Magdalene married Jesus of Nazareth. Theirs was a dynastic marriage, as Jesus was of the Royal Line of King David. It was arranged and proceeded with according to the Messianic tradition of his people. By tradition, Jesus was obliged to marry and to have at least two male heirs, to ensure the continuation of King David's Royal Line. Jesus and Mary were betrothed to each other in June in 30 A.D. Jesus' & Mary's marriage took place later that year. Information that it took place was later suppressed by being taken out of the text of The Bible, and all references to it were banned by a Church Decree several hundred years after the deaths of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. However, the facts of their lives remained in the written civil administration records of the Roman Province in which they lived.

In order to change the history of Jesus and Mary, the Roman Catholic Church chose to discredit Mary Magdalene and keep the marriage secret,


Mar-14-13 1:40 PM

Personally, I think the Church would be healthier if it did allow women to be priests and if most priests would be allowed to marry. I think there is some danger of attracting people who are not necessarily psychologically stable to the priesthood under the status quo.

I was well-catechized and I understand Church doctrine; I just don't agree with all of it.


Mar-14-13 1:19 PM

I hope he asks the women who want to be Ordained why they would give up being the Mother of a Priest to be a Priest? I think it is so important that Mothers through their maternal bond teach children to love and forgive. Mothers outrank Priests in my world. No disrespect intended.


Mar-14-13 12:35 PM

It's not worship; it's profound respect and veneration for the position. The Pope is the head of the Church, part of an unbroken line of leaders that goes back to Saint Peter -- "on this rock I will build my Church" -- who was the first Pope, believed to be chosen by Jesus Christ himself. On matters of faith, the Pope is considered to speak with infallibility.

Protestants may not understand how Catholics view the sacraments either. Holy orders -- ordination of a priest -- is one of the seven and leaves an indelible mark on the soul, just as baptism and confirmation do. The Mass is actually a ritual sacrifice; Jesus is really present in the communion wafer and wine -- body and blood -- transformed by the priest during the Mass and offered to the people. In the confessional, the priest absolves the penitent's sins acting as an agent of Christ. It is the position of priest, bishop, cardinal, Pope that is revered, not necessarily the personage, though he is of course respected


Mar-14-13 12:08 PM

The Pope is a Teacher much like Jesus was until Jesus was crucified. We are supposed to learn from his wisdom and practice forgiveness and humility every day of our life. When you believe something greater than mankind itself exists is a good starting point for people. The Bible and all the Teachings are here to give us a way live a happier life free from guilt and anger. When mankind has no fear greater than mankind itself, no fear of greater retribution than mankind can bestow it will surely cause*****on Earth.


Mar-14-13 10:31 AM

That's true, Worried. The news outlets have been all about the new pope. He is a powerful man in worldwide circles, no matter if you're a catholic or not.


Mar-14-13 10:21 AM

I really don't get this whole pope thing? I'm not a catholic, so why all this hype about a man in charge of a religion? Sounds to me they worship him just as much as God himself and I find that a little against God's teachings.


Mar-14-13 8:26 AM



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