Early on in my ministry as a hospital chaplain, seeking works to enrich and challenge my practice, I grew to have tremendous respect for authors whose name was followed by the letters SJ. Writing by such authors usually signalled depth and practicality, along with profound wisdom. Today, as a Jesuit pope is elected, the world needs more than ever to witness, in this pope, humility, sensitivity, and wisdom.
There are a lot of firsts in these early hours of his election - first Latin American, first Jesuit, first to take the name Francis.
Could this signal new things to come?
Sadly Pope Francis' previously published comments in opposing same sex marriage do not bode well but that is hardly surprising. While we would expect any pope to " toe the party line" perhaps Pope Francis will at least bring a new depth to spirituality as well as identification with the poor who, incidentally, we are reminded in this week's gospel "will always be with us". In that reminder is an exhortation to care for the poor whom we encounter in our midst.
While his age and apparent obscurity might suggest something of a place holding position, place holders can play an important part, and a man disciplined in the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola should bring a refreshing perspective to the role. Time will tell.
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