I think it is only appropriate that I share my opinion of Pope Francis here on this blog dedicated to Father Serra and the members of The Order of Friars Minor.
I don't think I've ever made it clear that I am not Roman Catholic. My wife is a most fervent member and strongly feels all other sects are sacrilegious. In my youth, I was baptized and very active in another church but fell away during my years in the army. I have studied many religions and found something of value in each.
Thus, I watched with great interest the resignation of Benedict XVI and, in my own opinion, felt he made a just and wise decision. I have no idea why Cardinal Bergoglio was elected but itapeears the Conclave made a wise decision.
As the followers of this blog know, I have gained a great deal of admiration and respect for Father Serra and strive to show that in my novels. Frail and of ill health, Serra set his mind on becoming a Franciscan and, until the day he died, went about performing his duties with unwavering piety. He was among the humblest of the humble and spent every waking moment in the service of his Lord, his fellow friars, and those who came to learn and accept the words he preached.
I did not find it odd that a Jesuit should take the name of Saint Francis. Jesuits and Franciscans played a major role in the Europeanization of the New World.
What we've seen of Pope Francis is symbolic at this point. What he does in the management of The Vatican and The Curia will determine his legacy. That does not mean that symbolism does not play an important part in his role as leader of The Roman Catholic Church – it does. Perhaps that symbolism is what many are yearning to see. Many have fallen away from following any religion and the morality that is taught there. By showing humility and his love for the people, Pope Francis just might turn many back to the path of ethics, caring, and humanity.
I think of all the images I've seen about this man was the scene after Easter Sunday Mass of him holding a young man in his arms who is a prisoner in his own body. The look of joy on that young man's face will stay with me for a very long time.
Time will tell. He has many challenges ahead and, in my less than dedicated manner, I sincerely hope he will do what is needed to restore his church to give those many millions who follow a reason for joy and hope.