Yesterday there was white smoke. The Catholic Church has a new Pope: he’s a first and yet, on the surface, he’s the status quo.
He’s Pope Francis I. He’s Argentinian, the first Pope from the “New World” of the Americas. Both of these items are key, as they are seen as a new change on the horizon for the church. First, no Pope ever took the name Francis because there is only one Francis and he’s from Assisi. No one could ever hope to come close to him and his great works. But #266 wants to honor him by taking his name and continuing the work he did 700 years ago. I equate his name to Latin American families naming their son’s Jesus. They see it as an honor. Given his cultural upbringing, I can see where he gets that this name is done in honor not disrespect. Second, he’s from South America: this is the first Pope to ever be from the Western Hemisphere, showing that the church recognizes they are not Euro-centric any more.
He’s an old white guy…he’s almost the same age as Benny was when he was made Pope. He’s Argentinian, but he’s white. Well, that’s because he’s of Italian ancestry. His parents emigrated from Italy to Argentina before he was born. Yes, he’s from the New World…technically. But he’s still of European origins which throws the “no longer Euro-centric” out the window.
So, why am I writing about a Catholic Pope on a Pagan blog?
First, because this whole process was viewed not only as a religious moment but also as one of pop culture. Also, because a religion whose leaders dominate the news and the water cooler for weeks as a trickle down effect for other religions.
I’m curious to see what goes on from here. Will he meet with other religious leaders the way diplomatic leaders meet together? Then again, are there leaders of other faiths to the same capacity there is a Pope over the Catholic church? The only one who comes to mind is His Holiness Dalai Lama. I don’t think there is a Jewish or Muslim equivalent. And if there was, how many sects of Judiasm and Islam are there to have only one leader. I know there isn’t one central leader of all the other Christian faiths. And good luck finding one Pagan leader amongst the lot of us.
Various news outlets had said this Pope falls into the sect of reformation and bringing the Church into more modern times. I read St. Malachy’s prophecy saying this would be the end of the Papal era as we know it, and that Pope 266 will embrace non-Christian traditions as he tries to unite all faiths.
We shall see…