What a joyful day! For me, it really felt like a collision of new and old worlds. I found out that the smoke from the burning paper ballots (pretty old school) was white from a text message I received from Pope Alarm (that’s new).
I was leaving a very cute, but very old-fashioned performance of Charlotte’s Web with some fellow Catholic homeschool families and as soon as we heard the news everyone was pulling out smart phones and tablets and bringing up a live feed of St. Peter’s Square from EWTN.
We rushed home to watch the new Pope’s introduction and prayed along as he led us in prayers as old as the church herself, then heard him offer a plenary indulgence to not only those in attendance but also to all of us who watched on TV and squinted at iPhones and listened on the radio!
And it feels like a beautiful collision in other ways as well. The former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is a Jesuit who has taken the name of the founder of the Franciscans.
Applause broke out in the Sistine Chapel for Bergoglio when he crossed the threshold of 77 votes, and again when he said “Accetto,” I accept, according to Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, himself a candidate for the throne. Dolan told reporters that Bergoglio “immediately said, ‘I choose the name Francis in honor of St. Francis of Assisi,’ ” referring to a rich man’s son who took a vow of poverty.
He’s a South American AND an Italian.
He’s a man of faith AND a man of science.
He has a sense of duty and a sense of humor.
After vesting in the white robes, the new pontiff looked at a white chair brought out for him on a platform and said, “Oh, I’ll stay down here,’ ” Dolan said, adding that Francis eschewed a car and instead took a bus back to the hotel with the cardinals and delivered a toast before dinner: “May God forgive you.”
I already love him, this new Pope who shares a name with my youngest son.