Maybe it’s a little early into the new papacy for this Baptist girl to be declaring her love for the new Pope, but here are 5 reasons why, so far, he seems great:
1. He doesn’t just pray for the Church; he asks the Church to pray for him.
In this article from Christianity Today, Jeremy Weber writes:
Argentina’s evangelical leaders were just as surprised as anyone when Jorge Mario Bergoglio, former archbishop of Buenos Aires, was revealed Wednesday as the new Pope Francis. But they were not surprised when his first words broke from papal tradition.
In a move that Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano called “unprecedented and shocking,” before Francis offered the world the traditional papal blessing, he asked those watching to first pray for him.
Such a request is one of Bergoglio’s trademarks, said Juan Pablo Bongarrá, president of the Argentine Bible Society. “Whenever you talk to him, the conversation ends with a request: ‘Pastor, pray for me,” said Bongarrá. He recalls when Bergoglio once attended a weekly worship meeting organized by Buenos Aires’s charismatic pastors. “He mounted the platform and called for pastors to pray for him,” said Bongarrá. “He knelt in front of nearly 6,000 people, and [Protestant leaders] laid hands and prayed.”
2. He is the first Pope to wash the feet of women in the traditional Maundy Thursday feet washing ceremony.
This non-traditional move ruffled some feathers, but it also showed love. Read more here.
3. As Cardinal in Argentina, he was known to take Baptism and Eucharist to the streets to those in need.
Kenneth Tanner reports:
In an interview last winter, then-Cardinal Bergoglio told Andrea Tornielli of Vatican Insider:
“Instead of just being a Church that welcomes and receives, we try to be a Church that comes out of itself and goes to the men and women who do not participate in parish life, do not know much about it and are indifferent towards it. We organize missions in public squares where many people usually gather: we pray, we celebrate Mass, we offer baptism which we administer after a brief preparation”
4. He’s a true disciple of his namesake, Francis of Assissi
Many have reported the Pope’s surprisingly ordinary ways of dressing and living. But this would have been no news to St. Francis, who adopted a life a poverty after coming from a life of plenty in order to follow Jesus and take hope into the streets.
5. This viral photo is more than a photo op; it’s a picture of Christ’s love.
I freely admit that I teared-up when I saw this photo. I teared-up even more when I read what the boy’s father had to say about the experience of seeing his disabled son in the Pope’s embrace on Easter Sunday:
It’s just so awesome to see the Holy Spirit take over like this, and that He chose to use Dominic to do it is practically beyond belief. But it shouldn’t surprise us, since from the very beginning of salvation history God has always willed to use the weak and marginalized to move and shame the powerful and the wise. Why should he not also do it today, particularly on Easter Sunday? (And I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that this marvelous encounter occurred on Easter, as if God’s raising up Dominic confirms that he and all the disabled shall one day be whole and strong and healthy, and that the glorification of their bodies in the final resurrection will be particularly wondrous.) full story here
Mostly, I love the new Pope because he has gone out of his way to show love and humility. If Christianity is going to be represented publicly (and for many, the Pope is who people will think of when they think of Christianity) then by all means let it be represented through Pope Francis’s acceptance of outsiders, his embrace of the needy, and his care for the poor.
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)