Thursday, March 14, 2013


Almighty and everlasting God, from whom comes every good and perfect gift: Send down upon Pope Francis, and upon the congregations committed to his charge, the healthful Spirit of your grace: and, that he may truly please you, pour upon him the continual dew of your blessing. Grant this, O Lord, for the honor of our Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen.

(Adapted from The Book of Common Prayer)
The present College of Cardinals was never going to elect a progressive pope.  The cardinals' choice of a 76 year old man signals that they wanted a caretaker leader rather than a long-reigning pope at this time.  My prayer is that Francis will be a caretaker in the mode of John XXIII, who will surprise us all and bring needed change to the Roman Catholic Church.

The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is a doctrinal conservative, who turned his back on liberation theology during the reign of John Paul II, so he's no Oscar Romero, as of now.  But Francis has great care and concern for the poor and lived a simple life as archbishop and cardinal, which count in his favor.

His care and concern seems not to extend to promoting equality for our LGTB brothers and sisters.  Same-sex marriage has been legal in Argentina for nearly two years.  During the debate over marriage equality, Francis said:
Let’s not be naïve, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.
He's also said that allowing gay adoption is discrimination against children, who need both a mother and a father.

On the other hand, Francis has shown compassion for persons afflicted with AIDS, going so far as to visit them and wash and kiss their feet.

And on a very personal note, I am pleased that Francis did not choose to wear the ermine and velvet mozzeta, or cape, as shown in Gammarelli of Rome's shop window.

For Pope Francis:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

(Numbers 6:24-28)
Yes, it's the priestly blessing, but as a member of the priesthood of all believers, I'm allowed to pray the prayer.  Peace.