The news came in last night that the Roman Catholic cardinals have elected a new pope. Contrary to the expectations of many pundits, they have selected one of the older candidates and, for the first time in a very long while, someone who comes from outside of Europe.
I had not been following the process very closely — before last night I had never heard of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina — but it has worldwide significance and I have done a little reading to inform myself. It appears that Cardinal Bergoglio is from the Jesuit order and has a long-standing reputation for standing for issues of social justice. The pontiff has chosen to take the name of Francis, after God’s Holy Fool, who chose a path of poverty, charity and even environmental reconciliation.
Do we have a new Francis? This reign still needs to be tested but it certainly suggests some laudable ambitions which I sincerely hope are acted on.