Pope Francis the Reformer?

Photograph by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty.

March 13, 2013

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the seventy-six-year-old Archbishop of Buenos Aires, is the new Pope—the first Jesuit and the first Latin American ever to hold that job.

He has chosen to take the name Francis, as befits the apparently gracious and humble man who, as everybody now knows, eschewed his archbishop’s limo for a public bus and his archbishop’s palace for a small apartment, and urged his flock to stay home, in Argentina, when he became a cardinal, eight years ago in Rome, and to give the money they would have spent for plane tickets to the poor instead.

He is also a reformer, but make no mistake about the meaning of “reform” to Bergoglio or the hundred and fourteen other cardinals who yesterday sent up a puff of white smoke to announce his election to the papacy. They may be known as the “young” cardinals—being under eighty, the only ones eligible to cast ballots in a papal conclave. But it’s worth remembering that all of them were appointed by the last two Popes, and that, when it comes to any interest in loosening the doctrinal strictures that most lay Catholics would call “reform,” they were appointed mainly for their intransigence in the face of change.

Source: The New Yorker


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