Welcome Pope Francis

Our good new Pope inspires both joyful and anxious hope in reform minded Catholics. The joy comes from his commitment to the poor and social justice. His proven humility and holiness of life are displayed in his choice to honor St. Francis of Assisi in choosing his name. St. Francis rebuilt a crumbling church and inspired great reforms but can our Francis do the same against formidable odds?

On a lighter more trivial note I’m hoping that our new Pope is taking a long shrewd look around his quarters at Casa Martha, where the Cardinals are staying. Once when attending a Vatican conference on women’s health I had the privilege of being put up there with other American lay women. It struck me as a coldly formal environment both expensively marbled and sterile. It matched the grim Swiss guards outside in its lack of warmth and welcome.


Another disturbing fact to this American feminist’s sensibilities was that all the male clerics ate and took their ease in the dining and living rooms while a bevy of little nuns cooked, served, cleaned and did the laundry in the basement. That the rooms lacked hair dryers was understandable.

We had irreverent fun joking that one of us was sleeping in the next Pope’s guest bed. Less laughable was the discovery that on the enormous desk in my large bare living room there was a blotter with a huge map imprinted on it. The map showed only Europe! Only males and only Europe count? Well that certainly is going to change. What else may be different, and how soon?

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
ed gleason
4 years 7 months ago
I predict the the sainthood cause of Oscar Romero will get a fast track.. Pope Francis has the experience of dealing with right wing military.
Vincent Gaitley
4 years 7 months ago
Come on, the Swiss Guards aren't doormen at a hotel, a grim visage and a cool vigilance are the order of the day, everyday.


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

It is astonishing to think that God would choose to enter the world this way: as a fragile newborn who could not even hold up his own head without help.
Ginny Kubitz MoyerOctober 20, 2017
Protestors rally to support Temporary Protected Status near the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 26. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
Around 200,000 Salvadorans and 57,000 Hondurans have been residing in the United States for more than 15 years under Temporary Protected Status. But that status is set to expire in early 2018.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 20, 2017
At the heart of Anne Frank’s life and witness is a hopeful faith in humanity.
Leo J. O'Donovan, S.J.October 20, 2017
Forensic police work on the main road in Bidnija, Malta, which leads to Daphne Caruana Galizias house, looking for evidence on the blast that killed the journalist as she was leaving her home, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Caruana Galizia, a harsh critic of Maltese Premier Joseph Muscat, and who reported extensively on corruption on Malta, was killed by a car bomb on Monday. (AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud)
Rarely does the death of a private citizen elicit a formal letter of condolence from the Pope.