Wednesday, March 13, 2013
I was driving on I-80 when a confused radio talker switched her verdict on the smoke from "gray" to "white!", and was pulling into Economy Parking at O'Hare when we learned that "habemus papam," What an exciting, happy, important day! Let the chatterers blather about this or that "faction" or "stalking horse", or about whether or not "Jesuit" and "simple" and "Francis" translate into "acceptable to the New York Times or compatible with American commentators' understandings of the 'liberal' policies towards which the Church is supposed to swerve," etc. Clearly, God has given us a humble, and faithful, pastor-priest -- a friend of Jesus, like John Paul II and Benedict XVI -- and there is every reason to hope that he can and will (re-)evangelize the world, inspire the Americas, and -- like St. Francis -- "rebuild [Christ's] Church." Maybe, just maybe, a pundit or two -- heck, maybe millions of people! -- will see, in his example, that there is no conflict between kissing the feet of an AIDS victim and criticizing hypocrites, on the one hand, and joyful, confident orthodoxy on the other. (What is humble service to the poor but "orthopraxis," after all?)
Lots of people will read into Pope Francis's election -- his nationality, his name, his religious order, his bus-riding -- lots of things. So, why shouldn't I? The Holy Spirit, in guiding the conclave to an Argentinian, is affirming the basic -- let's say the intrinsic! -- goodness of big chunks of grilled red meat with big glasses of bold red wine. Salud!