Habemus Papam! Francis I

Yes, I know. Many of us don’t ‘have’ a pope, thankyouverymuch. We muddle on through somehow.

Francis I, eh? That’s an unusual choice in a number of ways. Francis I is a Jesuit and not a Franciscan, so why not choose Ignatius I? My suspicion regarding his choice has to do with the way the former Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio lived his daily life in Argentina. Instead of a suite in the episcopal palace, he rented an apartment (or room); instead of using the episcopal limousine which comes with his job, the Cardinal rode the bus to work.

Francis is the first Jesuit Pope. That ought to thoroughly terrify the paranoids who think the Black Robes really run the place — but let’s not go down that street, okay? Jesuits are a mixed bag, and for every evil conniver, I can show you a scientist, musician, or doctor. Those men are hard to classify. Often they choose the Jesuits later in life than many diocesan priests enter the seminary. For example, this former Cardinal received his master’s degree in chemistry before choosing to study for the priesthood. As anyone familiar with the rigorous training of Jesuit seminarians can tell you about the long and arduous Ignatian Spiritual Formation Exercises, especially those done in preparation for ordination. They are not for the faint of heart.

Many lay Catholics also follow the steps of spiritual formation known as Ignatian spirituality. I think those exercises are suited to a particular characterolgocial make-up. That is, they aren’t for everyone. But for those who follow in the steps of Ignatius Loyola, it is a worthy and ageless system.

For a quick introduction to the new pope, the Acton Institute has a short list of “Things You Should Know About Francis”:

1. Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires in 1936. His father was an Italian immigrant.
2. He’s the first pope from South America. The only remaining continents that have never had a pope come from their lands are Australia, Antarctica, and North America.
3. He’s the first Jesuit pope.
4. He only has one lung. His other lung was removed due to infection when he was a teenager.
5. Bergoglio is known for his personal simplicity. In Argentina he lived in a simple apartment rather than the archbishop’s palace, cooked his own meals, and gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of taking the bus to work.
6. In 2010, when Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage, Bergoglio encouraged clergy across the country to tell Catholics to protest against the legislation because, if enacted, it could “seriously injure the family” and that gay adoption would be “depriving (children) of the human growth that God wanted them given by a father and a mother.”
7. He studied and received a master’s degree in chemistry at the University of Buenos Aires, but later decided to become a Jesuit priest and studied liberal arts at the Catholic seminary in Santiago, Chile.
8. At the age of 76, Francis is the ninth oldest pope of those elected after 1295. (Benedict, who was elected at the age of 78, was fifth oldest.)
9. Last year, Bergoglio compared Catholic priests who refused to baptize the children of unwed mothers to the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. “These are today’s hypocrites. Those who clericalize the Church,” he said, adding, “Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit.”

Yes, as with all papal choices, there is controversy surrounding this former cardinal. Lots of criticism about whether he did or did not stand up sufficiently and publicly to the dictators in charge. For cardinals coming from totalitarian countries or totalitarian times, that charge is inescapable. If a church leader speaks out too loudly, he pushes the tyrants into a corner. If he doesn’t say enough publicly he is accused of being in bed with the regime.

So I’ll leave the sorting of those controversies to those with better discernment than I. For me, it is enough to observe the way he lives and to listen to what he says to the priests he is supposed to guide. In this mostly political look at Pope Francis, Politico features an AP report on the new man:

He considers social outreach, rather than doctrinal battles, to be the essential business of the church.

He accused fellow church leaders of hypocrisy and forgetting that Jesus Christ bathed lepers and ate with prostitutes.

“Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit,” Bergoglio told Argentina’s priests last year.

If that sounds like the Marxist-based “Liberation Theology”, it’s not. Francis preaches scripturally-based homilies to his priests and he demands their service to all their flock. This Argentinean pope has criticized both the oligarchs and the murderous rebels.

There won’t be any Hans Küng globalist pronouncements here. No doubt The New York Times has already gotten his viewpoint out to their readers. Küng has been the house priest for the Old Grey Doxy for some years now.

Let’s end this brief look at Francis I with a glance back at Benedict in the last days of his papacy. This bit of news doesn’t seem to have gotten much attention, but then canonizing people is so… so medieval, right? Or maybe I missed the headlines because I avoid the MSM buzz. At any rate, before his abdication, one of Benedict’s last papal acts was to canonize eight hundred people who were slaughtered by the Ottoman Turks for refusing to convert to Islam.

Enza Ferreri tells the story:

Antonio Primaldo and his companions, 800 Christians, were murdered for hatred of their faith by Muslims during the Turkish siege of the town of Otranto, in South-East Italy, on August 13, 1480.

As the Qur’an commands, these infidels were offered the choice to convert to Islam or be killed. When they refused to convert, the martyrs of Otranto were massacred.

The Qur’an is obeyed and applied in the same way now as it was in 1480. The only difference between now and then is in the power and military force Muslim armies had then but now. Let’s make sure that it remains this way in the West.

In other parts of the world, Christians are still massacred by Muslims for their faith. Nothing has changed in Islamic doctrine, only the relationship of strength can be a defence for whomever Muslims consider their enemies.

An observation about the different use of the word “martyr”: in Christianity, unlike in Islam, martyrs do not kill. [my emphasis —D]

By the way, Ms. Ferreri notes she is starting a new Facebook page, “Save the West”. For those of our readers with Facebook access, ‘liking’ her page would seem a worthy endeavor.

Addendum: After finishing up, I tried to open Francis Porretto’s website to congratulate his fine self on the occasion of (finally) having a Pope named after him. When I clicked onto Eternity Road, there was the Message of Death:

Blog has been removed

Sorry, the blog at eternityroad.blogspot.com has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs.


Google is your friend. So is Bing…in no time I’d found Francis’ Twitter account and his new home, Bastion of Liberty, where he has been blogging until very recently (March 9).

I do hope Mr. Porretto is appropriately humbled by the new Pope’s choice of name. And I do hope the new Pope wears it as well as has Mr. Porretto, lately of Eternity Road…

30 thoughts on “Habemus Papam! Francis I

  1. Thanks for that informative and entertaining essay on the new Pope.

    I was surprised to learn that there had never been a Jesuit Pope before.

    “Francis is the first Jesuit Pope. That ought to thoroughly terrify the paranoids who think the Black Robes really run the place — but let’s not go down that street, okay? Jesuits are a mixed bag, and for every evil conniver, I can show you a scientist, musician, or doctor.”

    As many probably know, Alfred Hitchcock and late night talk show host Tom Snyder were Jesuits.

  2. I am not a Catholic, but as the Roman Catholic Church is still big and rather influential I was very much curious about the outcome of the conclave. It seems that Catholics may be congratulated, for Francis appears to be a very good choice. I was sorry to see Pope Benedict go, but his successor may turn out even better. But, of course, it is too early to judge, let us wait and see.

  3. He’s not Pope Francis I, he’s Pope Francis, because for all we know, he will be the only Pope named Francis until the end of time. It would be like constantly referring to Peter as Peter I. So, Pope Francis only becomes Francis I when the next person assumes the name.

    All the same, Habemus Papum!

    • I didn’t notice my mistake on “Papam” as I had cut and pasted to get the “I”…and obviously he won’t be referred to as “the first”; it is simply a way in these beginning days to let people know he has taken a heretofore unused name.

  4. Re: Addendum

    To be fair to Google/Blogger, it wasn’t the Blogger kiss of death that removed Eternity Road. Francis shut it down himself. The ostensible cause was a disagreement with a contributor.

    • Clean out the Curia? That’s like the State Department on steroids. OTOH, if the task of cleansing those Augean stables were ever to be accomplished, only a Jesuit would be able to do so.

      No doubt Francis is fluent in Italian, given his background. Thus, they couldn’t cut him out of the loop on that score.

      I figured out the reason for Francis. It seemed a puzzle since my familiarity is to Francis of Assisi (not to mention Francis de Sales). Along with Catherine of Siena, Francis of Assisi is the patron of Italy (as the Lurker reminded me).

      But then I remembered: Francis Xavier was one of the founders of the Society of Jesus. Duh. While he wasn’t Italian (Xavier was of Basque origin), he and Ignatius spent a long time in Rome acquiring various Papal permissions, ant they are known to have wanted to begin a mission to convert Muslims….(it’s a good thing their lives went in other directions since they’d no doubt have been killed early on for such temerity).

      It occurs to me that as deeply familiar with Francis Xavier’s life as this new pope has to be, his choice of name could have more significance than meets the eye.

      Thus, two gargantuan tasks for the new guy – cleaning out the Curia and converting the Muslims. I am sure Benedict wishes him well (no, I’m not being snide).

  5. now about those who are not saved by the Holy Mother Church having a faith that is deficient, well…. we will see. The Bible says one thing and the Catholic Church has been saying another, and from the Council of Trent, directing contradicting the Bible. I would be interested to see how “Frank” this new pop is in the reconciliation of Church Dogma with God’s Word.

  6. Wasn’t his namesake (Francis of Assisi) also well known for attempting to convert the Sultan of Egypt during the crusades? Apparently relations between the two were peaceful and cordial, though ultimately fruitless. I wonder to what degree he is using the name to communicate what the catholic church’s relations with the muslim world will be like under the new papacy. Pope Benedict XVI may have spoken a little too truthfully for comfort when he said “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached”.

    Then again, he is from South America, so he might be quite isolated (not just geographically) from the situation in Europe and the Middle East.

  7. Perhaps he will manage to get a start on cleaning the gluttons, hypocrites, paedophiles and sadists out of the Church’s priesthood and the monastic orders. I’m not holding my breath.

  8. I heard news overnight that the pope’s election was welcomed by Al Azhar University, which hopes to be able to resume relations with the Vatican that were broken off in 2011 because the previous pope was too negative about Islam. All I can say to that is keep your nerve, Frankie!

  9. Francis means free and it would be nice if the new pope really did free us from the stranglehold of Marxism which has planned and is succeeding in emptying Europe’s churches whilst bringing islamification in its wake. For us British it is a bit worrying to have an Argentinian pope following the referendum in the Falkland Islands. According to Russia Today there is more oil around those islands than in the United States plus somewhere else I can’t remember. It is already bad enough that the President of the United States hates the British and anything that smacks of British colonialism and that a great swathe of his voter base are hispanics who would probably side with Argentina. When push comes to shove America will not back Britain under this presidency, that is obvious. Still it will be nice to have some British immigrants return home – will they be allowed – rather than the third world invasion and colonisation we have been undergoing for the last 50 plus years. However, the Falklands scenario may be an indication of the future of America, more Central American than European and of its future foreign policy.

  10. Please read Ann Barnhardt’s take on it. She’s a convert I respect her opinion versus myself raised within the church I may not see these things. The cancer of Marxism has certainly spread globally.

    • [I put this reply on another comment by mistake...sorry for the mix-up]
      I agree re Marxism. At one time, the Catholic Church was one of the few institutions standing against it.

      I tried Ann B in the beginning but as time went on her rhetoric reminded me of nothing so much as Joan of Arc — whom I also found uncongenial, too, back before there was a Miss B. At some point past the doctrine, it comes down to delivery.

      Many people find her thinking congenial to their own;. I’m not one of those people, though I wish her well and hope she stays safe.

      BTW, this post is meant to serve as an introduction to the new guy, with a few guesses as to his intentions. It’s not going to dig and delve into what he’s likely to be up to re theology or ecclesiology.

      Also, there is not one Pope, nary a soul, who was without his critics and dissenters. That’s just how groups are – they fight amongst one another and the leader takes the flak.

      We used to run Miss B’s videos here, but somewhere our thinking diverged from hers and so we stopped.

      There will be plenty of time to tear him apart later. For the moment, let us let him enjoy his all-too-brief honeymoon.

      • Agreed. But the past “can” sometimes still be the predictor of future behavior. I’ll take B’s opinions lightly until the evidence is there.
        One does have to keep in mind that liberation theology and its social justice (Pope JP II did condemn parts of it) has its origins in South America. Not sure to what extent in Argentina though. I’ll take your advice and enjoy it for what it is at the moment.


  11. http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/126369/pope-francis-a-friend-of-the-islamic-community

    “Pope Francis ‘a friend of the Islamic community’”

    “Considering ties between the CIRA and now Pope Francis “excellent”, Dr. Noufouri explained that the one-decade relation has helped to build Christian-Muslim dialogue, something “really significant in the history of monotheistic relations in Argentina”. A “joint work”, CIRA head added, “that we have never given up on”.”

    • The Argentinian MSM is cranking up already. They haven’t even begun to flay him and you can be sure it will continue in the whole of the West among those who have control of the microphone and who, coincidentally, hate the Church.

      As time goes on, I plan to look for analyses of his work in journals and foundations whose work I already know. Say, the Acton Institute (they reconcile free market economics with Christian dogma. Can’t remember if Fr. Sirico, the head, is a Jesuit or not). For an idea of what they focus on — and a lot of their work looks at the problems in South America, with its lack of a robust middle class — see this very recent essay:


      The theme is obvious from the URL, that socialism means we let govt take care of the needs of the poor and we stop looking at them. It dehumanizes them *and* us. America has a long cultural history that is decidedly anti-socialism. In fact, our President could use some tutoring in de Tocqueville’s observations about America’s strengths when it came to helping our neighbors.

      The Acton Institute is founded, among other things, on the idea of an “entrepreneurial vocation”. It is a badly needed corrective to socialist and progressive ideas about the marketplace.

      “First Things” is another site I’d be likely to look to as a starting place for ideas and info. As one writer there put it:

      “I am still somewhat bemused by the attention paid to the papacy over these past several weeks. One could hardly turn on a news station without an extended treatment of the “candidates” for the job, or the latest Roman reports. Even local television outlets have reporters in Vatican City, attending to all the details of the election and après-election.

      Perhaps this is all a result of the twenty-four hour news loop, a beast demanding endless meals. Or perhaps it is the result of our celebrity-oriented culture, where personalities often trump issues. But the endless fixation on the papacy is disproportionate. While high-toned discussions about Christianity and the Church are surely beneficial to our society, the greatest danger of this endless coverage is to elevate the role of the papacy—or, perhaps better, the personality of any individual occupant—beyond the theological significance of the office itself.”

      The URL for FT :


      There are lots of other moderate to conservative Catholic magazines, foundations, etc. They’ll give you a more balanced and informed view of what’s going on than will the Buenos Aires Herald.

      My guess is that Francis is using as his model his own Jesuit forebear, Francis Xavier. And the latter wanted to proselytize the Muslims…so let’s wait and see what *this* Francis says and does, eh?

    • Yes. I think I said that. Or rather, FX was a co-founder. Ignatius Loyola gets the main credit & Xavier served as his secretary in the beginning when they were living in Rome and trying to become an established order with ecclesiastical approval for their mission.

      The confusion here was that Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio is of Italian extraction and Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of Italy (along with Catherine of Siena). Francis Xavier was a Basque of another color entirely…and having a Jesuit pope is so absolutely singular that I skipped right over FX and landed on Ignatius. Or Iggy, as another commenter called him.

      There is also Francis de Sales, the patron of teachers and education, but he was French.

      Of course, the current Francis hasn’t told us what *he* had in mind when he chose his name. Who knows, maybe it was his dad’s name??

      But then I’m not sure we ever knew for sure why Cardinal Ratzinger chose Benedict, either. In a way, what he did – resigning so suddenly – is the more interesting mystery.

  12. You guys should take a look at Debbie Schlussel’s blog once in a blue moon.

    She links to an Argentinian paper that, sadly, but unsurprisingly, reports the story that:

    Pope Francis ‘a friend of the Islamic community’

    Argentine Muslims have welcomed the election of Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the head of the Roman Cathoilic Churhc. In an interview with Buenosairesherald.com, Sheij Mohsen Ali and CIRA Secretary General Dr. Sumer Noufouri praised Pope Francis’s “pro-dialogue” nature.

    “He always showed himself as a friend of the Islamic community. He visited the At-Tauhid Mosque (located) in the neighborhood of Floresta and the Arab-Argentine Ali Ibn Abi Talib School strengthening our relations”, the Director of the House for the Diffusion of Islam Sheik Mohsen Ali said…

    I guess that won’t concern those here who (strangely at a site named after an Islamic attack on the West) only care about D’Souzish social issues along with their pet bêtes noires-cum-bogeymen the “cultural Marxists”.

    • I don’t even know where to start with your remarks here, Hesperado. Sheesh.

      *How do you know we *don’t* look at Debbie Schlussel’s work? I have reported on it from time to time. She has beaten out the MSM on reporting some stories but doesn’t get credit or links for it. And I wrote about that, me boy.

      *That’s the Buenos Aires Herald story, right? If you’d read the other comments you’d know someone already told us about it. And I should believe the South American MSM? Why? You think they’re credible? I don’t. They have a long anti-clerical history. As I said EARLIER, I get my info from other sources with less baggage.

      *If you think we only cover whatever it is you claim we cover – what was it…D’Souza? Seriously? Where? – then why are you wasting your time here, Hesperado. You got one life. You might consider living those precious moments in a more congenial environment.

      D’Souza???Hahahahahahahahahaha…gasp for air.

      • First, my remark about “those here” (with regard to D’Souzitishism and an obsession with the “real” problem “behind” the problem of Islam) only meant a certain number of regular commenters (albeit an uncomfortably high and regular number), not the site itself.


        To Hesperado:

        Your Remaarks Are In Violation of the Rules of Engagement Here.

        You have a blog of your own where you can criticize our commenters all you want.

        My life is too short to spend any more of it on fending off insults and/or unpleasantness.

  13. Didn’t even realise there were muslims in Argentina. Is there anywhere they haven’t crept into by now, even New Zealand? Further to my comment about the Falkland Islands, ignored by even my fellow Brits, I have just discovered that Pope Francis is a fervent Argentinian nationalist – is nationalism still allowed down there? – who fully backed Argentina’s part in the Falklands War. That will be a bit of a dilemma for the British Catholics on the Falklands when he backs them openly again. There are some I have discovered. He should get on fine with Barack Obama, pro-muslim, anti-British and happy presumably for North America to become Central American.

  14. How about declaring a few of the following martyred Catholics as saints too.
    If God will know His own, the Church also shall recognize them. Also, I think I am very happy the Christians do not have the military power they used to have, or else?…

    The crusader army came under the command, both spiritually and militarily, of the papal legate Arnaud-Amaury, Abbot of Cîteaux. In the first significant engagement of the war, the town of Béziers was besieged on 22 July 1209. The Catholic inhabitants of the city were granted the freedom to leave unharmed, but many refused and opted to stay and fight alongside the Cathars.
    The Cathars spent much of 1209 fending off the crusaders. The Béziers army attempted a sortie but was quickly defeated, then pursued by the crusaders back through the gates and into the city. Arnaud, the Cistercian abbot-commander, is supposed to have been asked how to tell Cathars from Catholics. His reply, recalled by Caesar of Heisterbach, a fellow Cistercian, thirty years later was “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.”—”Kill them all, the Lord will recognise His own.”[33][34] The doors of the church of St Mary Magdalene were broken down and the refugees dragged out and slaughtered. Reportedly, 7,000 people died there. Elsewhere in the town many more thousands were mutilated and killed. Prisoners were blinded, dragged behind horses, and used for target practice.[35] What remained of the city was razed by fire. Arnaud wrote to Pope Innocent III, “Today your Holiness, twenty thousand heretics were put to the sword, regardless of rank, age, or sex.”[36][37] The permanent population of Béziers at that time was then probably no more than 5,000, but local refugees seeking shelter within the city walls could conceivably have increased the number to 20,000.
    After the success of his siege of Carcassonne, which followed the massacre at Béziers, Simon de Montfort was designated as leader of the Crusader army. Prominent opponents of the Crusaders were Raymond-Roger de Trencavel, viscount of Carcassonne, and his feudal overlord Peter II, the king of Aragon, who held fiefdoms and had a number of vassals in the region. Peter died fighting against the crusade on 12 September 1213 at the Battle of Muret. de Montfort was killed on 25 June 1218 after maintaining a siege of Toulouse for nine months.[38]

  15. This pope sounds like a Marxist to me. Governments should redistribute the wealth and give dignified work to everyone? Question, what will be done to peasants who don’t agree that their money should be redistributed? Will there be North Korean gulags to straighten them out or loving gulags with lots of foot washings and pictures of priests and loving government officials kissing the feet of the recalcitrant?

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