What am I hoping for with the new pope? As someone who was baptized as a Catholic and now worships in the Episcopal Church, I’m hoping he will work to bridge the chasm between those who follow the faith of my childhood and those who adhere to other faiths and traditions. I am hoping he is all about the love of God, caring for the poor, respecting the dignity of every human being. In my lifetime, I would like to be welcomed at communion in a Catholic church, just as we welcome all baptized Christians to the Eucharist in my adopted denomination.
I am heartened by how Pope Francis carries himself, and how he spent his first day as pope. Vatican watcher John Thavis writes:
One of the first things a new pope hears is, “Holy Father, it’s always done this way.”
In his first 24 hours in office, Pope Francis has already given indications that he may not be intimidated by those words, as he creates his own style of being pope.
That was clear from the moment he put on his papal robes, donning the simple white cassock but declining to wear the ermine-trimmed red cape known as the mozzetta, which was left hanging on the wardrobe in the Room of Tears.
To Vatican officials who offered him an elaborate gold pectoral cross to wear around the neck, he said he’d prefer to keep his very simple cross that he’s worn as a bishop. He accepted the congratulations of cardinals not seated on a traditional throne-like chair, but standing up and greeting them one by one.
After his blessing last night to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square and to the world, Vatican aides told the pope a limousine was waiting to take him to his temporary quarters in the Vatican’s residence building. The new pope said he’d rather take the bus back with the cardinals – and he did.
I’m also heartened by this report from Anglican Communion News Service:
The new Pope has reportedly said the Church universal needs Anglicans and that the Ordinariate is “quite unnecessary”.
In a note released after the election of the first ever pontiff from Latin America, the Anglican Bishop of Argentina and former Primate of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, the Rt Revd Greg Venables said Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was “an inspired choice”.
“Many are asking me what is really like. He is much more of a Christian, Christ centered and Spirit filled, than a mere churchman. He believes the Bible as it is written.”
“I have been with him on many occasions and he always makes me sit next to him and invariably makes me take part and often do what he as Cardinal should have done. He is consistently humble and wise, outstandingly gifted yet a common man. He is no fool and speaks out very quietly yet clearly when necessary.”
Bp Venables added that in a conversation with Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, the latter made it clear that he values the place of Anglicans in the Church universal.
And here’s what the Archbishop of Canterbury had to say about all this yesterday.