Yahoo News asked American Catholics to react to the news that Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been chosen as the next pope. Here’s one response.
COMMENTARY | Chills, goose-bumps sensations and excitement represent the general atmosphere among my Catholic family members when the first Jesuit Pope in the history of the Catholic Church came out of the Vatican balcony. Two important points foreshadow how he will fare as a pope. Pope Francis I, former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, is a Jesuit. He chose the name “Francis”.
The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) is a religious order contributing both positive and controversial reputation in the Catholic sphere. Aside from heavy involvement in political activism and social justice, Jesuits are also criticized for their liberal practice of the Catholic Liturgy. The Jesuits have strong missionary zeal, historically traveling to far-flung unreachable regions of the world. With a track record of producing outstanding graduates in the fields of medicine, science, law, and education and their 15 years rigorous priesthood training, the Jesuits are known for their tough intellectual standards.
Pope Francis I selected his Pope title after St. Francis of Assisi. However, we can safely assume that Jesuit saints like St. Francis of Xavier and St. Francis of Borgia may have also strengthened his name choice.
From all historical accounts, Pope Francis I is viewed as a brave defender of orthodoxy, a protector of the unborn, a man who stands firmly against secularism, an evangelist, and an outspoken critic of homosexual marriage. In these aspects, my Catholic parish family portrays a glimmer of hope that his conservative stance will outweigh the notorious liberalism that the Jesuits are known for.
In the Latin Mass Catholic community, the Pope is met with reservation. Unsure if Pope Francis I will be a proponent of the Tridentine Latin Mass, I hope that the new Pope will not discourage the reforms in the Liturgy that former Pope Benedict 16th had put in place, that is, encouraging Tridentine Latin Mass (TLM) or the Extraordinary Form (EF) of the Mass and kneeling down to receive the Eucharist on the tongue.
Pope Francis I gave his apostolic blessings with much humility that his “man of the people” style captivated the hearts of my Catholic parish family instantly. Reported to take the bus instead of the limousine, cook his own meal and live in an ordinary apartment, I consider his personal humility as a key sign that he will be a “man for others” (Jesuit zeal) “rebuild the Catholic church” (St. Francis mission) and take Catholic Church to greater heights.