On Wednesday, after the white smoke cleared, Pope Francis, dressed in simple white, told the people in Rome, and those of us watching across the globe, that we were embarking with him on “a journey of fraternity, of love, and of trust.”
“Let us always pray for one another,” he said. “Let us pray for the whole world, that there may be a great spirit of fraternity.”
In 1998 when, he became Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio became known for personal humility and a commitment to social justice. A simple lifestyle contributed to his reputation. He lived in a small apartment, rather than the palatial bishop’s residence; and he gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of public transportation.
Today when he went to pray at St. Mary Major, he used a simple car, declining to use the papal one. He entered by a side door, without pontifical pomp. And, on the way “home,” he stopped at the casa where he had been staying to pick up his bag and pay his bill!
My good friend Doug in New York asks: “Jack, dare we hope?”
I am delighted to hope and to pray.
May this new Francis, in the twenty-first century, respond courageously and effectively to the Lord’s same call, addressed to his namesake Francis of Assisi in the twelfth century: “Go, Francis, and repair my house, which as you see is falling into ruin!”