How I received our new Pope.

Today was a day of deep blessings and deep frustrations. It was a day of wetness from rain and wetness from tears.

Let me dispense with the frustrations. The cellular network and internet in the area was nearly completely overwhelmed so that, with all the good will in the world in trying, I could not post from the square or other places I visited, such as the main room of the Vatican Press Office, etc.

This gave me a different view of things today.  You can see the nice photos elsewhere.  I’ll get to those, but for now, I’ll just write.

For the last conclave, I was mister on-camera guy, wonking away. I have done some of that this time, but less. I wasn’t able to take the last time in, as I wanted to this time.

We had really horrible weather today. I won’t go into it, but it is the weather that I – and friends can attest – hate the most. That said, for the first burning of ballots around midday, I felt like Moses. I had camped under the colonnade to stay a little dry and determined that, since I had asked you to pray for good weather, I should pray. I started the Rosary. The moment I started the Rosary the rain ended. Umbrellas furled up again into their pupae
form. The moment I finished the Rosary, the rain started again. I considered that, perhaps, in charity I ought recruit people to help me keep the Rosary going so that we could have a dry piazza.

In the meantine… in something not rare but not so very common in St. Peter’s Square, I fielded requests for confession. Not rare, but odd in this way, kind, quality, occasion.

Eventually, no smoke resulted. I headed out.

I met up with a dear friend, one my oldest friends in Italy, a layman, father of a family. We had some lunch and then went in search of some “santini”, or holy cards, of St. Peter. I found some at different stores and bought heaps. Why? More on that below.

Back to the piazza for more fun waiting in the rain. A seminarian from the US came by and we chatted until it was clear that there was no smoke for that ballot. My friend and I went to my short-let apartment for hot tea and some phone charging. All this time, armed with smart phones, etc., you would think there was a cellular connection? Internet? Pfffft. Fr. Z is silenced both by Zuhlsdorf’s Law and by the laws of the Catholic Church in Sede Vacante, which are both bound to draw crowds.

While my friend contemplated his own path home, I sort of decided, dunno why, to change into warmer clothes, get my wet coat on and head back to the piazza. To heck with a bus, quoth I, taxi this time. In the taxi, my friend called his wife who reported “white smoke” as I pulled up the proper app to view the verfied “white smoke”.

We zoomed to the piazza and began the wait, my shoulder still aching from the pack strap from the weight of gear and “santini”.

I was in the midst of mostly Italians, including a group of clerics and seminarians in cassock, greca (the long coat) and Roman hats. They were not, as it turned out, from some specialized group but from an Italian diocese. This, friends, is a hopeful sign. We had various conversations about the possible new Pope, I wonked a bit when they saw my press pass, and then… it started.

Lights went on in the loggia of the facade of the basilica.

The doors opened. Instead of seeing workers who would put out the old Pope’s arms over the rail, out came the Cardinal Deacon. The announcement was made.


There was a kind of shocked silence.

Instead of the eruption one might think, everyone was taking it in. Some told me later that they had a hard time hearing, but from where I was, in front of the obelisk… I heard every word.

It hit me.

Jesuit! American! New name! And… I know this guy!

More on that some day. I got to know him a little from when he came to Rome.

But the reaction in the piazza was not unlike, in some ways, the quite reception of “Woytyla”. Who??

He came out without all the trappings of office. He looked downward, almost to his feet, which is consistent with what I recall of this man of few words. I had the sense that he was, rightly, terrified.

In a few words he had people praying… people want to pray, you know, when there is a certain trumpet, certain voice to lead… praying for Benedict. And he began to pray…

Our Father…

The crowds took him up.

Hail Mary…

And that’s when I broke down.

Glory be to the Father….

He called for silence… he imposed a ready voluntary silence… which must preceed any undertaking.

Silence in St. Peter’s Square during the first words of the Pope. Silence.

I don’t know what to expect from this new Pope of ours. He reached out in a a definitive way to the old Pope, Benedict. Later we learned in a press conference that Francis called Benedict before appearing on the balcony and that he will visit him tomorrow/today/ He reached out in a definitive way to the Romans, for this is now his diocese. He reached out to a great many who are yearning for a strong but simple message.

And part of that message was silence.

Here is a man who, as head of the Jesuits in Argentina, helped to stave off Liberation Theoolgy by keeping his province under control. He lived in an apartment rather than the episcopal palace and rode public transportation. He has lived with one lung most of his life. He kept the priests of the place out of political strife. He cooked and cleaned for himself and took care of a disabled Jesuit brother. He is now “Francis”.

“Francis”, I thought.

I suspected that he was invoking Francis of Assisi for his simplicity and evangelical witness. But there is also Francis Xavier, the mighty Jesuit missionary.

Either way, neither saint was a pastel picture or statue. They were both as hard as nails and willing to die in their service of the Church. Think of Francis Xavier and the conversions and baptisms in Asia. Think of Francis of Assisi, who went for a face off with the Sultan during the Crusades and so impressed him that he survived with praises.

Personally, I worry about a Jesuit Pope, not because he might be Jesuitical. I suspect there are a lot of liberal, slightly Catholic Jesuits spinning this election like doomed Grimm’s figures, bizzarely working gold into straw. I worry a bit because there is an old adage that good Jesuits and good liturgical worship are almost like matter and anti-matter. Rare is the Jesuit who is also a good liturgist.

But, in the balance…. will this Pope turn back Benedict’s vision? No.

Is he going to change the Church’s teaching on homosexual sex? No.

Is he going to change the Church’s teaching on contraception? No.

Is he going the change… change… change…? No.

I suspect that, as a nearly complete outsider regarding the Roman Curia, he will begin to tred with tiny steps. But the Curia will be walking on eggshells around this unknown force in their midst. The house needs purification. I think he will undertake it, but perhaps not with heads on pikes along the Via della Conciliazione.

I have more and will write more eventually. But it is O’Dark Thirty and Father has been lugging “santini”, all now blessed by Pope Francis, in the rain, which wet me through, and, perhaps hid some of the wetness of my cheeks. That fools no one, of course. It wasn’t raining as we prayed. After these week of anger at the resignation, mixed with compassion for the frail old Benedict, whom I used to see in the halls of the Palazzo Sant’Uffizio and elsewhere, and the days of anxious hope for a man to continue a vision I sense is important for the Church…. habemus Papam, a man from the other side of the world, the first of his religious family, bearing itself the Name by which we are saved, and this Pope’s name is Francis.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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113 Responses to How I received our new Pope.

  1. Bill F says:

    Beautiful reflection, Father. I will offer prayers for you and our Holy Father Francis tonight.

  2. benedetta says:

    Interesting account of your day and ours, Fr. Z. Thank you.

  3. Tim Ferguson says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z, for this lovely reflection. It’s been a day of mixed emotions, and deep-seated curiosity. Not the thrill of 2005, or the elation of 1978, but, as a Minnesotan would say with a slight nodding, “interesting.”

    Now to sleep, and pray – for our new Pope and the tremendous burden he bears, for docility (for myself and others), and in hope for the future of our Church, which is still being guided by the Holy Spirit.

  4. Acanthaster says:

    Beautiful indeed! I, too, was amazed by the silence of that moment. The rain and darkness seemed less than ideal at first, but throughout the prayers and blessings, it just seemed to fit. Humility and simplicity.

    During the prayers for Pope Emeritus Benedict, I was almost crying along with you! The impact of watching this live, on the other side of the world in Minnesota, with MILLIONS of others, all praying together…my goodness. Beautiful.

    After seeing this, and after watching your coverage of the announcement for Pope Benedict, it is always interesting to see their faces. Such love they must have for the people in front of them, and such love is shown by those people, yet both Pope Benedict in 2005, and Pope Francis, have such a sense of “Thank you…but look to Christ…look to Christ.”

  5. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I long fancied myself a writer, only to have been proven not to be one. You’re a fine writer and this is among the finest things you’ve written. In spite of the incongruity of me picking at your work, you forgot to include St. Francis de Sales: he who re-evangelized those who had lost the Faith once delivered (including some of my own ancestors). May our new Holy Father ever follow the footsteps of the three great Saints Francis.

  6. Miss Jensen says:

    Thank you, Father Z. This written account is far better than pictures!

  7. catholicmidwest says:

    Thank you, Father.

  8. Stumbler but trying says:

    Thank you Fr. Z. for your wonderful reflection on our new Holy Father Pope Francis. I am glad you were moved to tears as many of us were. Look forward to more of your reflections in the coming days.

    @ Gregg the Obscure:
    Yes! St. Francis de Sales! Thank you for reminding us of this holy saint. I will ask him to intercede too since many in Latin America have fallen away from the true faith or mix it up with superstition and black magic.
    And yes, may our Holy Father follow in the footsteps of the three great Saints Francis with St. Ignatius of Loyola leading the way. ^^

  9. kpoterack says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z! I appreciated your article very much.

  10. Charivari Rob says:

    Nicely said, Father Z.

  11. Montenegro says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z and God bless you. Please come back soon to write more comments. Our friends over at Rorate are _freaking out_.

  12. mammamia says:

    “In a few words he had people praying… people want to pray, you know, when there is a certain trumpet, certain voice to lead… praying for Benedict. And he began to pray…
    Our Father…The crowds took him up.
    Hail Mary…
    And that’s when I broke down.”
    Me too Fr. Z. I was humbled and so very grateful all at once. God Bless Pope Francis, Beloved B16, and you Padre! I can sleep now knowing you are okay-I’ve been stalking the blog since the announcement and was getting concerned! G’nite Fr. Z!

  13. Hidden One says:

    A reflection worth the wait, Fr. Z.

    By the way, your blog was for a good part of the North American afternoon and early evening.

  14. Laura R. says:

    Thank you , Father, for sharing this beautiful account of your experience of the day with us; I find it deeply reassuring. This has indeed been a day for tears along with joy. God bless you and keep you safe and well!

  15. jacobianflaherty says:

    Father, allow me to also thank you for your beautiful reflection here. I love not only what you said but how you said it, as the rain/tear comparison was so wonderfully rendered.

    For what it’s worth, I feel I must share two things with you. First, I too have been suffering since Pope Benedict resigned. I felt a sadness I never came to expect. As a senior in college back in 2005, I recall being far too busy with my studies and probably not as well learned in my Faith to think much of the first conclave of my life. However, with Pope Benedict, my love and knowledge of the Lord and of the entirety of the Catholic Faith grew in maturity and certainty. For years a certain welling up of angst would attack me during Mass; when the priest would tell jokes before the final blessing so that “everyone leaves with a smile on their face”, etc… Little things started to matter. Seeing how Pope Benedict cared for the Mass and the rites of the Church made me glad, for I could encounter Christ, no matter how happy, sad, tired or vibrant; the rites of the Church did the talking and gave me the words to pray when I myself could not make them up myself.

    This belief in the importance of the Liturgy has been a source of consolation but also sacrifice. It has led to suffering, even. My background is in sacred music. I have been part of a few places that desire it. At present, even a nominal amount of sharing it/using it has cost me (and my wife and kids) my current position, as the people in charge are glad to see my “voluntarily” resignation. It seems that an encounter with the real rites of the Church lead folks to the realistic, and therefore, unhappy conclusion that we are sinners in need of a humble approach before a loving Savior. And compared to the typical, who wants that???

    And so I made a mistake today: when I heard the name and read and watched a little about him, my heart sank, and I despaired, and got a bit teary-eyed in the process, something I didn’t expect. It’s not as if he doesn’t have good qualities; I’m sure he does. (I won’t list all of them now…) But I was left thinking, “If the way I’ve been doing things, in trying to lovingly follow the rubrics with all the sacrifice and heart aches that go with it, are merely preferences, (and comparatively less toe-tapping) than the other options out there, options that even Princes of the Church will entertain, why does it matter?” Put another way, “If the Church doesn’t care to do what the Church says, haven’t I just wasted my time, and hurt those I love in the process?” And, “how do I teach the Faith to my children and get them to keep it, when even those in charge don’t seem to think that the abuses in the Mass have anything to do with the loss of faith?” Yes, I know, I should pray more and despair less. But these were my feelings for a time…

    I hope you’ve read till now, Father, because this is where you come in. My dad stopped practicing the Faith in 2004 and drifted into Evangelicalism. Since I’ve discovered your blog, I’ve joyfully come to your site at least once, if not two or three times a day, looking for understanding, insight, sometimes just for something neat or a great recipe to show my wife. But I’ve come mostly to grow spiritually as a son of God and as a member of the Mystical Body of Christ. You are truly a spiritual Father to me, Fr. Z. Your fighting the good fight is a source of great consolation and I thank you! It is very comforting to know that we have in you a great champion for orthodoxy. I will continue to pray for you; please do so for my family and me. God’s great blessings on Pope Francis!

  16. Tradster says:

    In the absence of any evidence to the contrary (yet) and tongue stuck firmly in cheek, I hereby claim credit for the Holy Father’s name of Francis I, having suggested it here several times. The most recent being the poll to guess which name he will choose. So obviously we proved that His Holiness is a faithful reader of Father Z’s blog, read my humble suggestion, and exclaimed, “That’s it!”. Which also makes me the winner of the poll. :-)

  17. oldcanon2257 says:

    Wow, all these years reading Father Z’s blog, this is the first time I remember seeing this deeply contemplative side of Father. I’ve always associated Father Z with his more scholarly side because of his liturgy-related blog posts. This from-the-heart article shows something else, his human side, so to speak, and his filial love/devotion to the Church. Many thanks for such beautifully written reflection.

    Let us pray for our new Holy Father Pope Francis.

  18. Rellis says:

    I think I speak for many, Fr., when I say I could desperately use some reassurances about our new Holy Father. I am terrified about the new liturgical movement under his reign.

  19. Jon says:

    I agree, a beautiful reflection, Father. But other than the rain and the tears, I don’t believe a word of it.

  20. thomas tucker says:

    Well done. Thank you.

  21. JoyfulMom7 says:

    I’ve been waiting all day for this. Thank you, Dear Fr. Z, for sharing your heart with us. What a beautiful reflection. Thank you. Sleep well . . . and prayers for the rest of your stay in Rome.

  22. charismatictrad says:

    Thank you, Father, for the reflection. Many of the insecurities that jacobianflaherty brought up I also sympathize with, and somewhat shamefully, I admit that I was trolling your blog to see what you said about our new pope. I feel reassured and will continue to ignore those who fear that perhaps the Cardinals did not listen to the Holy Spirit and picked the wrong pope. May God bless our new Holy Father, Pope Francis!

  23. iPadre says:

    This all seems like some strange dream. Today made the reality that Benedict is alive. I was praying Pope Francis would call Benedict and tweeted it, and he did call him. When he walked out onto the logia, he looked like John XXIII to me. He has a peace about him.

    I wonder what he and Benedict will talk about. We would all like to be the fly on that wall. I wonder if we’ll get pictures.

    Strange happenings (maybe not the best word), but these are awful strange times. God is doing something mighty, and we are privileged to be living to see it. “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.”

    Viva il Papa!

  24. jacobianflaherty says:

    I also know that this Pope might be fantastic. I’m sure if Pope Benedict were leading a diocese right before his election he’d probably have attended some odd-ball liturgies, too. This whole job thing (with the need to figure something out, move, find a new house, etc…) is a little raw, folks. That’s all. Please, let us continue to pray for one-another.

    This, a translation from the Buenos Aires Cathedral’s website, was consoling:

  25. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Fr. Z, once again, what words of comfort and faith flow from your reflection. As a priest from a Hispanic heritage, I feel a deep and profound sense of pride and the coming of age of that Church built from the ruins of the Conquista. Yes, Pope Francis is the son of Italians, but raised in the bosom of the Catholic Church of Argentina, raised in her piety, fervor, and Catholicity. The tears of joy of Argentina flow down the faces of every Latino today.

    And it is even more a treat that he is a loyal son of Iñigo of Loyola, who has conserved that “take no enemies” zeal of the old Society and answered yes to a call that must have been practically impossible to say yes to at his age. Only divine grace can brace a man for such a yes.

  26. MarcAnthony says:

    Cardinal Dolan confirmed that he took the name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi.

    But Father why, WHY does nobody EVER think of St. Francis de Sales?

    I mean, he was the second person I thought of, but he seems to have been all but forgotten in all the hubbub about which Saint the pope was referring to when he chose the name Francis.

    I mean, St. Francis de Sales was educated by Jesuits, known as a great friend to the poor, known as a great witness to Protestants, and was even made a Doctor of the Church!

    I’m amazed his name was so overlooked in the discussion. That said, our Pope is honoring the great Saint Francis of Assisi, so this is all moot anyway. But still!

  27. Paul H. says:

    He seems like a very likeable Pope – When he walked out onto the balcony I could tell his humility, he wasn’t used to this type attention at all. Instead of raising his arms as the previous pontiffs have, he merely waved. His manner reminded me somewhat of Mother Teresa’s quietness. The fact he started his speech on a lighthearted note also made me think he was a great choice: “You know that it was the duty of the Conclave to give Rome a Bishop. It seems that my brother Cardinals have gone to the ends of the earth to get one… but here we are!”

  28. Gus Barbarigo says:

    Father, your words are made more beautiful by all the effort and sacrifice you have been enduring to bring them to us!

    I am reassured by Fr. Z’s words, but still terrified and deeply discouraged. Francis is the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church; the repeated references to “Bishop of Rome” is at best baffling, none the least because of the many pilgrims from around the world that are known to be at St. Peter’s. And martyrs have died defending the liturgy and Catholic identity, including proper vestments, which carry great meaning that he can teach to the world. I hope Pope Francis does not nurture disrespect for the trappings of his ministry, or our Catholic patrimony.

    I’d love to know how our Pope failed to get more than a third of the vote in 2005, but got two-thirds now.

  29. Luciano says:

    About the Name that our Pope chose: first, I think in Franscisco de Assis. The instant next, in São Francis de Salles and Francis Xavier, at same time — maybe because in my neiborhood has a Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary Monastery (order founded by Francis de Salles an St. Joanna Chantal), where the masses (OF) are celebrated by Xaverian’s Fathers.

  30. Catholictothecore says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z., for your thoughts. I too cried when Pope Francis started the Our Father and the Hail Mary. His face exudes such peace. God Bless Pope Francis!

  31. Lori Pieper says:

    Thank you Father. I’ve been wondering what happened to you all day! A truly awe-inspiring description of the scene and our new Pope Francis.

    I am one of the ones who suggested Francis as a name – I almost can’t believe he really took it!

  32. Torpedo1 says:

    fr. Z,
    I’m so assured by your reflections. During the last conclave, I was frightened and adrift. Pope John Paul II was the only Pope I had ever known. I didn’t know what we were going to do after him. I wanted a Pope who was orthodox and who would hold on to that orthodoxy. When they anounced our dear Pope Benedict, I leaped and danced around my dorm room. I ran to class, not caring that a gloomy drizzle was coming down all around me. If I could have done cart wheels I would have. All I could think, over and over again was, “thank you God!” I knew he would protect and guide the Church and i knew he was exactly what we needed. In reading your blog and responding to what God has taught me about the Mass and it’s purpose through you, you made me love Benedict even more and I was heartbroken when he told us he had to leave. I was more afraid and uncertain during this conclave than the last one, because i felt that there is more at stake. I was actually happy when I realized I had no idea who they had elected. I waited all day for your reflections on this man, and rightly, I figured the blog had gone down because of trafic, so I was left to judge for myself at Pope Francis’s first address to us. What captured me first was how humble he seemed and second, how he asked for silence. I sensed from him,, the same feeling I always get in the silence after i’ve gone to Confession. It’s a quiet, entirely peaceful stillness that I can’t describe any other way. That, in combination with your reflections on him and knowing that you believe he will keep in place the vision our Beloved Papa Benedict started, I found very reassuring. I think, at last, this conclave has taught me to trust even more. Trust our Lord, trust the Church and trust in the promise of Christ, for the gates of hell shal not prevail against her.
    I thank God for our new Holy Father, and for you Fr. Z. I know you are tired, and I know you work very hard to keep fighting the good fight, but you do so much good and we need your ministry. God bless you and God bless our Papa Francis

  33. Therese says:

    “At present, even a nominal amount of sharing it/using it has cost me (and my wife and kids) my current position, as the people in charge are glad to see my ‘voluntarily’ resignation.”

    You have lots of company, jacobianflaherty. Thanks for your courageous witness, and I’ll remember you and your family in my prayers. (Those who were glad to see you go are trying to hold back a tsunami.)

  34. Miss Jensen says:

    jacobianflaherty, I’ll pray for you and your family through work tonight. I hope your path becomes clear and God blesses you with good work and a good home.

    Someone recently mentioned that Catholics seem to be more stressed out than ever. This seems to be related to the unfortunate tendency to immediately wonder what bad things might be in store (I am as guilty of this as anybody!), even in connection with the election of our new Pope. I don’t suggest turning Pollyanna-ish, but it might not hurt to think of all the great and good things Pope Francis could accomplish, and pray that he can accomplish them.

    I was what you might call an “occasional” pray-er for the Pope until about a month ago. One major lesson these changes have impressed on me is the importance of praying for the Pope every day.

    God bless Pope Francis and the whole Church!

  35. PatriciusOenus says:

    “I fielded requests for confession.”

    That doesn’t mean what I think it means… does it?

    “Hey, yous… Yous got something you want to confesh?”

  36. Patricius, I think in fact Fr. Z’s use of the verb ‘field’ means precisely the opposite of what you are suggesting.

  37. Thank you for your reflection Father…my first reaction was “who” as I didn’t fully hear his name being called…Pope Francis needs our prayers…I do sense a humility in him…I am more worried about the Liturgy, we will see how his pontificate holds.

  38. Thank you, Fr Z. You’ve made me feel a lot better. I went into shock because I knew nothing about HH. He’s already been trashed by the left and right extremes. I am tired of it all.

  39. green fiddler says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z. It is wonderful to have your perspective. What a beautiful day this has been. We are so loved by our Lord! Yes, tears were shed as our Holy Father gently led us to pray together the prayers that we know as children. What a precious moment in time.

    Thanks be to God for giving us Papa Francis to tend and feed us. In holiness and humility he will guide our Church. Even without knowing him personally as you do, Father, one can sense that our new Holy Father has fixed his heart on Jesus and that he trusts everything to the Lord. He will continue to draw us together in prayer. The image from today that will stay with me: the reverent way that he kissed his papal stole after blessing us.

    God bless our new shepherd, Pope Francis!

  40. Gratias says:

    For me it is a very sad day. Benedict XVI’s pontificate ended in what I think will be a disaster, a Jesuit pope.

  41. Stumbler but trying says:

    “He’s already been trashed by the left and right extremes. I am tired of it all.”
    Amen! I agree with you on that comment for sure! I am shocked and sad to see so many negative comments about our new Holy Father on other sites and, some here, on this site. I have not experienced that before and so I realize much prayer will be needed.

    While I do not pretend to know everything there is to know about our new Holy Father, I know what I saw and felt the moment he stepped out onto that balcony. I was moved to tears in gratitude to our Lord Jesus for such a Papa. I sensed holiness, humility, and a quietude that runs deep.

    Yes, I will admit, at first, I was unsure when his name was read but after thinking and praying and wondering, I will trust in the workings of the Holy Spirit.
    These words came to me from our Lord Jesus Christ when I was pondering this wonderful day:
    “Be not afraid, for I am with you even unto the consummation of the world.”
    Who am I to question?

    Let us lift up our hearts trusting in our Lord Jesus Christ, in our Mother Mary, and in St. Joesph, Patron Saint of the Universal Church.

  42. MarcAnthony says:

    After learning some more about him I already love him for his holiness. Now whether he will make a good Supreme Pontiff obviously remains to be seen but I am very optimistic. His theology is very orthodox, and if he becomes a Pope that sees reaching out to the poor and right to life issues as the main points of his pontificate I would find it hard to see that as a bad thing as long as he emphasizes orthodoxy and doesn’t roll back the liturgical reforms (something I seriously doubt will happen).

    Also, if his reputation as a reformer is true that can only be a good thing. Good things are going to happen!

    Vivant Papa Francisco!

  43. Rock24 says:

    His Holiness Pope Francis seems to be very devoted to Our Lady! He mentioned toward the end of his speech that he would “go and pray to Our Lady” tommorow. May she look after and protect our Roman Pontiff.

  44. Clinton R. says:

    I too share with traditional Catholics in the consternation regarding a Jesuit pontiff. It will be interesting if Pope Francis continues in the promotion of Summorum Pontificum and the restoration of TLM. I pray he will. And above all, I hope Pope Francis does the will of God and leads all men to the Catholic Church, the Pillar of Truth. May God Bless His Holiness Pope Francis. May Our Blessed Mother pray for him. May St. Peter pray for his successor. +JMJ+

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  46. Gratias says:

    No Latin Mass allowed in Buenos Aires. There is a chance, I hope not, that this Jesuit Pope may reverse Summorum Pontificum. His masses are all guitars and addressing God in the “tu” or “vos” familiar form. Msgr. Guido Marini was left holding the Papal stole. A fateful day for the Church, I fear.

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  48. Bea says:

    Talk about egg shells.
    I feel the whole Church is on egg shells.
    Fear and Trepidation has a positive counter effect.
    I had been praying for a certain cardinal in Rome. I will now double my prayers.
    And double my prayers for the Church. May God have mercy on us.
    Thank you for such a beautiful account , Father.
    I almost felt like I was there. What a moment it must have been for you.
    Many in my parish feel the same loneliness we had when Pope Benedict left us.
    We don’t know what to expect.

  49. Supertradmum says:

    Malta has no TLM. The bishop remains. I grew up in a wasteland of liturgy. Read my comment on my blog. I was touched by this Pope’s gentleness and humility. And he has a huge task ahead. But, we cannot pretend that he is not Burke. I shall pray for him and support him in all his hard work for fighting the evil times in which we live. Immorality is spreading like fire across the world.

    I know that liturgy and morality are connected. That some are upset is natural, but we are not a cult which worships a person, we are a Church which has had good and bad leaders. I am sure this man is good. I am thrilled he is not a Liberation Theologian and that he has had to buck his own order.

    I pray he is open to talks and reconciliation with the SSPX.

  50. Mariana says:

    Thanks, Father, I feel a lot better now.

    It is midday on Thursday morning where I am and last night people were having vapours over at Rorate, and were rather worried at New Liturgical Movement, so I didn’t know what to think. Thank goodness I woke up to this considered post today!

    As it is Thursday, maybe a holy hour this evening for the new pope?

  51. feargalmac says:

    “Wonked”?? What one does when tired, wet, cold yet exhilarated.
    e.g. ” I wonked a bit when they saw my press pass” :)

    Thank you Fr Z. This is the post I was waiting for.

  52. Glaswegian says:

    It was said people came to see Pope John Paul II and to listen to Pope Benedict XVI…. if they come to pray with Pope Francis I, that can only be a good thing…

  53. Ambrose Jnr says:

    Dear Fr Z,

    You mentioned: ‘will this Pope turn back Benedict’s vision? No.’

    Would your statement include Benedict’s liturgical vision for our new Holy Father as well?

    South American traditionalists seem convinced that our new pope is very anti-TLM and reverent Latin novus ordo masses…is all of this exaggerated panic?

    Or will we only know when the curia has new people at the head of the key congregations, especially the CDWDS?

  54. NoraLee9 says:

    Lots of SSPX in Argentina, including the seminary. I saw all of two “dioscesan” TLM Masses listed for the Argentine Nation. I was non-plussed when Benedict XVI was elected. And I was wrong. Let’s hope Holy Father Francis realizes that the Traditionalists are important…. He also was shepherd of the Eastern Rites in Argentina. I find this to be a good sign.

  55. Pingback: Waiting on @FatherZ : “How I received our new Pope” - Catholic Father Z Pope Francis I - Catholic FatherZ Pope Francis -

  56. Ambrose Jnr says: Would your statement include Benedict’s liturgical vision for our new Holy Father as well?

    We must wait and see.

    But I suspect that Francis is not going to come in with a wrecking ball aimed at the pontificate of Benedict XVI – who is STILL ALIVE.

    Papa Bergoglio is a smart guy. He is not going to make problems where there aren’t any.

    However, I’ll bet that he would have little patience with the abrasive style that some traditionalists have.

    Time to unclench, roll up the sleeves and work very hard now to build on what we have… quickly.

  57. Christopher says:

    God Bless our new Pope, Pope Francis.

    God Bless.

  58. JonPatrick says:

    Finally was able to get to this blog today, as last night Fr. Z’s Law struck and we alternated between cable and internet outages, fortunately not both at the same time so we were able to watch the announcement of Pope Francis and his first appearance and blessing.

    One thing that struck me in seeing the shots of the crowd at St. Peter’s, was how unique the Catholic church is in its universality, how many times do you see such a gathering of people from all over the world, rich and poor. Of course Catholic means universal.

    It was nice when doing our rosary last night to pray for “Francis our supreme pontiff” for the first time. May God be with him.

  59. Juergensen says:

    “Rare is the Jesuit who is also a good liturgist”

    Cardinal Bergoglio has been nothing but orthodox, and was one of my favorites (along with Cardinal Ratzinger) during the 2005 conclave.

    Your concern over the liturgy under Pope Francis appears to me to be premature and unfortunate.

  60. Juergensen: Is that so? I didn’t call into question his orthodoxy in theology. I am wondering what his liturgical vision is. My experience of Jesuits and liturgy hasn’t left me thinking “high liturgical style”. We shall see.

  61. sw85 says:

    I came across this video of one of Bergoglio’s liturgies, a children’s Mass, which is a festival of the usual postconciliar banalities ( That said, he seems to be of unimpeachable orthodoxy, so we can perhaps hope that he will be too busy reforming the Curia to give a hard time to those of us whose genuine spiritual needs include liturgical reverence.

    Fr. Z., your last post raises an important question to my mind, which is how far filial piety obliges us to go when speaking of the Pope. This is more of a general question and not about this or any Pope in particular. I am alarmed by what I see as a tendency toward sycophantic and unseemly flattery by many (one friend suggested, scarcely two hours after Francis was named, that God told Benedict to resign because He wanted Francis as Pope all along — !!!), which seems to me a paltry imitation of the genuine filial piety we’re supposed to have. To my mind, that means treating the holy father as if he were actually our father. You should obey your father in everything but sin, show him respect publicly and at least deference privately; but, on the other hand, it does not oblige you to pretend that your father is free of fault, enjoy your father’s decisions (“but dad!!!”) or even, in extreme cases, wish that someone else was your father.

  62. iowapapist says:


    Father said “rare”, not “unheard of”. Our American experience with Jesuits has been disappointing for the most part, but there have also been some very holy men to emerge from this order (e.g. Cardinal Dulles, Father Hardon, etc.). I know very little about Pope Francis, but I always take heart knowing that this is Christ’s Church and the office will forever eclipse the man. When Pope Paul VI was elected the dissidents were rejoicing. They thought that he would change Church teaching on birth control and abortion. They were horror stricken to discover the contents of Humanae Vitae. Also, if indeed Francis of Assisi is the Pope’s namesake, it is reassuring to recall that Franciscans accompanied the Dominicans, who were dispatched by Gregory IX, to battle the various heresies occurring in Europe in the 13th century. Fear of the unknown is normal, however, it must be overcome by faith; the gates of hell will not prevail.

  63. RobertK says:

    God Bless Pope Francis!!.
    I read that he was in charge of the Eastern Catholics in Argentina and many Byzantines speak very favorable about him. My only concern from the start was hearing about his age. But we must pray earnestly for Pope Francis. West Europeans are not the same as South Americans when it comes to Christianity. Pope Francis is going to need all the prayers he can get. Most Western Europeans today barely tolerate Christianity, unlike Eastern Europeans, which seems to be rediscovering Christianity after communism. The EU is not to happy with Hungary right now and Russia has been criticized by the secular West for defending moral issues, that as Catholics we all would stand by Russia for. I liked when Pope Francis’ asked St Michael to pray for us, as well as asking us to pray for him. I do agree he seemed to be a bit frightened, but we were all shocked as well. He may not be Benedict XVI when it comes to Liturgy. But then again his talents will lie elsewhere.

  64. wrightfam says:

    Thank you, Father. I was shocked and disappointed when Benedict XVI resigned. Yesterday I was sad and not sure what to expect with Pope Francis. The Holy Father being a Jesuit does not sit well with me. I will remain patient and prayerful and hope that my prayers during the conclave will be answered. I prayed that the cardinals would go to confession before entering the conclave and that they would all be open and obedient to the stirring of the Holy Spirit. If that was accomplished then Pope Francis will lead us to the path to Heaven. If not….I will pray.

  65. boxerpaws1952 says:

    Whenever we want a good perspective thank God for Fr Z’s blog.
    Like everyone here was floored when His Holiness,Benedict the XVI,stepped down. I took for granted-like we all did-that he would take the same path as Blessed John Paul II and stay until his last breathe. Popes-except in very rare circumstances-just don’t step down.

    However,one huge difference between a man today and the Popes who reigned years ago is that it would be just as rare they would survive an illness or even the the normal decline of aging that a man does today.I also recall that the Pope was the head of the Church who resided in a place called the Vatican and there he reigned. I doubt any Pope will be as well traveled as Blessed John Paul II was but it was even amazing to me that a Pope would step one foot outside the Vatican at all. When a Pope was ill you just didn’t hear of it either. This was a well guarded private matter.
    I have to wonder as Benedict the XVI was at the side of John Paul II through his Pontificate that he has insights we may not have. Yes,we learned the lesson that Blessed John Paul II taught us and what a blessing to us. His Holiness Benedict the XVI may have witnessed the other side-though not as important as the lesson we were taught-of governance as Pope in declining health.
    As i look at the images of Benedict the XVI when he began the Petrine Ministry and the Mass he celebrated shortly before his announcement the difference in his appearance was obvious. They said he used the platform to go to the altar so the crowds could see him better. True but i realized the other reason he used the platform was just as likely difficulty in walking.
    I hear too that his sight and hearing was failing.
    For anyone here who has been with an aging parent the care that they can require is enormous.
    Yes,even mentally they can be affected. My father had difficulty sleeping so he was given medications. It was a nightmare. My mother would call and tell me about the hallucinations he would have during the night and keep her up as well. I’m not saying that every person who ages has difficulties such as these-it varies as we know. It is something we can consider.
    I’ll be honest. I was praying for His excellency archbishop Georg Ganswein to be elected. A dream it was. He was eligible of course but not very likely. I was also just praying for whoever would be elected and good weather as Fr Z asked. When they announced the name it was,like someone else mentioned,that Blessed John Paul II moment. “WHO?”
    Fr Z’s correct. He will not permit contraception,abortion or gay ‘marriage’ . He may take his strengths and do some of the things that the Church needs done.Perhaps his references to Bishop of Rome wasn’t a negligence of the Universal Church but a extension of his hand to the people or Rome. He is now their bishop and he knows he’s an unknown. Perhaps it was nothing more than that. Some people said he looked like he had a peace about him when he stepped out. I sensed that but the first thing i picked out from his expression was that he was stunned. In only his first hour of his Pontificate maybe he has no idea what to expect anymore than we do. One other person had it correct too. We don’t have cult (in the new sense of the word) leaders in the Church. We hope for saints.We have been blessed so far by the reigns of Blessed John Paul II-26 yrs! Then His Holiness,Benedict the XVI,who is still with us.
    I have all the same concerns mentioned here as much as the joy mentioned here but Fr Z said it well, “We shall see.”

  66. ckdexterhaven says:

    Headed off to Mass this morning. So excited to offer thanksgiving for our new Holy Father, Pope Francis. Thanks, Father Z, for your on the scene reporting. Great reflections!

  67. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Good morning!

    Today is the time for quiet reflection on what The Holy Spirit is telling us in the choice for pope. That choice seems to have something to do with humility. I’ll need some time to gather my thoughts. Somewhere in our libraries or on the Internet are St. Benedict’s rules for humility.

  68. robtbrown says:

    Juergensen says:

    “Rare is the Jesuit who is also a good liturgist”

    Cardinal Bergoglio has been nothing but orthodox, and was one of my favorites (along with Cardinal Ratzinger) during the 2005 conclave.

    Your concern over the liturgy under Pope Francis appears to me to be premature and unfortunate.

    Not really. Historically, Jesuit life does not have communal office or community mass–all masses said privately. Perhaps, in the past several years some have concelebrated.

  69. Traductora says:

    More than anything else, I wanted to thank Fr. Z for taking out horrible comments and for announcing that he is not going to let his blog be used as a platform for trashing Pope Francis. I have been appalled by some of the things I have read on traditionalist blogs, both in English and in Spanish, and I know that at least one of the Spanish blogs has attempted to do what Fr. Z is doing (weed these posters out) and now the posters are attacking the blogger as well!

    I don’t see how any of this is going to help gain more acceptance for the Latin mass or any more sympathy for its advocates. One thing many posters may not know is that the SSPX is very big in Argentina, and possibly one of the sources of Pope Francis’ lack of enthusiasm for the old rite is that there have been conflicts with this group in the past. However, just for that reason, he is ideally placed now to actually resolve this conflict and finish the work that BXVI started with respect to the SSPX. But there has got to be good will and a desire for unity, and no vituperation and hatred.

    Perhaps Bergoglio isn’t the one I expected or particularly hoped for, although I would like to say that at the very beginning of this process, I posted that I hoped the new pope would take the name Francis, so I got part of my wish, at least! However, I think he’s going to bring something entirely different. BXVI has fought the doctrinal battles, and now we will have a pastor who can implement the gains.

    As for the Latin Mass, one thing people should bear in mind is that Pope Francis thinks that the public expression of the Faith is very important. He has had many processions and celebrations of Benediction and masses in public places, as well as public prayer to Our Lady, all this in the hostile climate of Argentina (the Kirchner government hates him). Perhaps if the traditional rite people saw this as an opportunity to show what they have – in charity and with an evangelical heart – they could be an important part of this.

  70. LarryW2LJ says:

    Fr. Z,

    Thanks for your account, it was beautiful.

    As always, my prayers will continue unceasingly for our new Pope, the bishops, all our clergy, religious – and of course, special prayers for you and your ministry.

    Thanks for being our eyes and ears.

  71. Thank you, Father, for well-needed and thoughtful insight.

    I have to admit I didn’t know what to think…but your words and thoughts kind of put things in the proper perspective.

    Viva il Papa! And, oh, Happy Pi Day!

  72. kurtmasur says:

    For all of us with a passion for beauty and tradition in the liturgy, and concerned about the future of it during this next pontificate, I stumbled upon an article from 2007 (in Spanish), in which it says that when Pope Benedict XVI issued his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, the then-Cardinal Borgoglio (now Pope Francis, of course) within 48 hours ordered a Holy Mass celebrated in the Extraordinary Form in a designated parish in his Archdiocese, to accomodate the faithful interested in the EF of the Mass. I don’t know about you, but I say that definitely is a good sign, don’t you think? If you can read Spanish (or just use google translater), the link is here:

  73. Juergensen says:

    robtbrown says:

    Not really. Historically, Jesuit life does not have communal office or community mass–all masses said privately. Perhaps, in the past several years some have concelebrated.

    I didn’t say anything about historical Jesuit life. I said that raising questions about the liturgy 12 hours after the election of a Pope who by all accounts is orthodox seems a bit “premature” and “unfortunate” to me.

    And in any event, Jesuits do not say “all Masses privately”. I personally know of a beautiful Jesuit church in a downtown not far from me that offers several Masses daily, with confession available for hours on end each day. It’s a good thing.

  74. Father, that is a beautiful post. Thank you for the details.
    Yes, a Jesuit for the first time ever. A ‘blackrobe’ – interesting that the “Black Pope” prophecy of St Malachi seems to fit.

  75. Christopher says:


    He immediately supported Summorum Pontificum within 48 hours of it’s announcement by Benedict XVI. Father George Byers over at Holy Souls Hermitage had something on this. May the Holy Spirit strengthen Pope Francis.

    God Bless.

  76. netokor says:

    God is in charge of His Church and Fr Z of his blog. I will attend the Latin Mass this Sunday. All is well.

  77. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Ha! In your face, Pseudo-Malachy!

    Also, good job assuring the Roman people that he’s taking his responsibility to them seriously. They’re the foundation of every papacy and they know it, folks. That’s why JPII made a point of telling them he knew it, and so did B16. Pretty much every wise pope does, if he’s not a Roman by birth. (The unwise popes got riots, historically, so even though they probably wouldn’t pull that nowadays….)

  78. An American Mother says:

    Thank you Father Z for those beautiful and introspective thoughts.
    I was so moved, I instantly handed my iPad to my husband and said, “Read this!” (I never do that.)
    My straight-up straight-ahead scientist husband was deeply moved.
    Thank you.

    . . . and thank you for keeping the lid on the comments, I’m sorry you were put to that trouble.
    Folks, either you believe the Holy Spirit is working here . . . or you don’t. Have patience, don’t panic, and pray for our new Holy Father.

  79. Ambrose Jnr says:

    Thank you, Fr Z, for your wise advice.

    Let’s pray and do penance to support our new Holy Father.

    Hopefully our new Holy Father will keep Msgr. Marini as organiser of the papal liturgies throughout his pontificate — that would be a very encouraging sign.

  80. lizaanne says:

    Thank you, Dear Father, for such a wonderful post.

    I was most blessed yesterday to be with the staff of ChurchMilitant.TV shortly after the white smoke appeared. Short of several key folks who are currently on the retreat at sea (and in a communication black out – they can get news, but can’t communicate with the outside world (Michael has to be going crazy) ).

    We all watched anxiously with the rest of the world to learn who our Holy Father would be – laptops and research at the ready to write news reports and special updates as soon as the blessing was complete.

    When Pope Francis asked us to pray, we all prayed with him. And when he gave his blessing, everyone in the room when down on bended knee to receive it. I have to say it was one of the most humbling and emotional moments I’ve ever experienced.

    I too am anxious about the unknown – but I have faith, and my faith will sustain me regardless of what does or does not happen in the years ahead with our new Pope.

    May God bless him, and Our Lady pray for him. And for all of us.

  81. Skeinster says:

    This is lovely, Fr. Z. Thank you!
    The new Holy Father won me over with his appearance on the balcony. Many prayers for him.

    And thank you for the clean-up, as well.
    I’ve been attending the EF for over twenty years. with occasional breaks due to circumstances. I love it dearly and truly recognize it as the keystone for liturgical renewal, and all that will bring along with it for the Church.
    Because of that, it is an everlasting frustration and sadness to watch us repeatedly shoot ourselves in the foot, with our public persona.

  82. TundraMN says:

    God bless you Fr. Z! We are truly blessed to have such frank, honest, and hopeful commentary on all these things which you discuss. I feel that I have a personal debt to you for the way you have allowed the Holy Spirit to work through you to dispel the darkness of confusion that is one of the Evil One’s greatest and most terrible weapons against us in the world today. How many are those who are not practicing Catholics or are anti-Catholic because of personal confusion on what Holy Mother Church teaches and why? Again, thank you Father for working so hard to keep us informed and upbeat. I am calmed by your take on our new pontiff and urge everyone who reads this comment to pray for both you, Father, and our new Holy Father.
    Pax Tecum

  83. PA mom says:

    Thank you, Father. This was worth the wait.
    the children told me when I picked them up at school. The whole school was watching the white smoke in the classrooms. We raced home to turn on the TV (HUGE treat). I even had open the names as he was announced. We grew a bit alarmed as the crowd remained SO SILENT. Was I happy? Asked my daughter. I don’t KNOW…. Prayed for him last night, and will continue. Certainly the media has responded favorably, which the Church could use some of, to buoy the spirits of Her followers. My liberal paper has no ‘dirt’ at all, for once.
    Well, I do believe that you asked us to pray that it be resolved quickly…. ;).

  84. Andy Lucy says:

    As a historian, perhaps my opinion of Jesuits is a bit …. off… from that of everyone else. Having spent may years perusing the 70+ volumes of the “Jesuit Realtions and Allied Documents,” and their minute descriptions of Jesuitical missionary work among the Iriquois, Huron and other tribes, I can’t help but feel the spirit of those zealous 16th and 17th century missionaries in our new Holy Father. He is on the throne of Peter for a reason… the Holy Spirit put him there. I trust the Holy Spirit to do what is right for the Bride of Christ… and I ask my fellow traditionalists to just trust. Give the guy a chance.

  85. deliberatejoy says:

    I actually see the immediate hue and cries of disgust and disappointment as a good thing. :) It means that the Evil One is having palpitations, and is hard at work cultivating paranoia and hatred amongst the faithful in the wake of a totally shocking and unexpected revelation that can only work toward the good. Can you imagine his horror and shock when he realized what he has to work with now? A true and humble missionary of a Jesuit who takes the name Francis, never mind the bus?

    Hee hee. Here’s to you, Papa. Long may you reign, and may the smile on your face and the soles of your sandals never wear thin.

  86. david andrew says:

    I waited patiently all evening to finally get to your blog, Fr. Z, knowing that you would give an even-handed, serious-minded, well-reasoned, and above all else calm and reassuring assessment of the situation.

    Thank you, Fr. Z.

  87. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    “Personally, I worry about a Jesuit Pope, not because he might be Jesuitical. I suspect there are a lot of liberal, slightly Catholic Jesuits spinning this election like doomed Grimm’s figures, bizzarely working gold into straw”

    That is exactly what the Jesuits here at Boston College philosophy/theology departments were doing yesterday. “The conservative definitely won” or some variation was heard from several mouths…

  88. JPMedico says:

    Thank you Fr Z for your commentary. I am quite excited about our new pontiff. Do I have liturical concerns? Yes, but most likely the EF will get benign neglect. It seems to me there is a paradigm shift happening here, one that becomes more obvious with each pontificate.
    There is no question in my mind that the world is suffering from horrible pride, and now we have a Holy Father who can be described in one word as “humble”. What a blessing for us! I won’t be surprised to hear that he has gone to a soup kitchen, that he had “lepers” for dinner in the Apostolic Palace, etc… What we won’t see is the tiara or the “kingly” trappings.
    I would just say this: The age of the secular kings is over. The King-Pope isn’t the right messenger for our time. The world needs Jesus. The world needs humility. The world needs “real” love and evangelization. The messenger is changing, but the message remains ever the same. If this man is the “real deal”, and by every indication he is, I expect we’ll see many conversions due to his humble example alone, expecially among athiests. Long live Pope Francesco!

  89. chantgirl says:

    Thank you for the description of his first prayers, Fr.Z. My internet feed went out right after I saw a quiet, terrified-looking man come onto the balcony and I missed all of that.

    Last night I prayed to every Francis saint I could remember, including Frances of Rome, for our new Holy Father. He has a job no one in their right mind would want, and at an advanced age too. God bless and keep him!

  90. robtbrown says:

    Juergensen says:
    robtbrown says:

    Not really. Historically, Jesuit life does not have communal office or community mass–all masses said privately. Perhaps, in the past several years some have concelebrated.

    I didn’t say anything about historical Jesuit life. I said that raising questions about the liturgy 12 hours after the election of a Pope who by all accounts is orthodox seems a bit “premature” and “unfortunate” to me.

    And in any event, Jesuits do not say “all Masses privately”. I personally know of a beautiful Jesuit church in a downtown not far from me that offers several Masses daily, with confession available for hours on end each day. It’s a good thing

    I did a poor job explaining because I assumed you know more than you apparently do.

    1. I was referring to SJ houses , e.g., at a university. In those places, unlike, say, a Dominican house, there is no community mass and no communal office. The Jesuit life is not considered liturgical, unlike the Benedictine life, which has both and in which sanctification is through the liturgy

    2. Obviously, in SJ parishes there are public masses. In Rome at the Gesu, there are hourly public masses till noon said by a Jesuit. Confession is also available. During my Roman years I often took advantage of both.

  91. Thom says:

    Thank you, Father, for this post.

    May God in His mercy bless Pope Francis.

  92. jacobianflaherty says:

    Night came, morning followed, the first day…

    Sleep does wonders, my friends. My late-grandpa used to tell me to never send a letter the day you write it; I pray that I would be better at following his advice.

    I prayed for faith and I received it. Several times today already the Lord’s words, “You are Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” have flooded my heart, like the rushing of water putting down a fire.

    Count me in as a prayer warrior for our Holy Father, Pope Francis. Masses offered, Rosaries, sacrifices… I know I can stand to grow by these and I know he can use our prayers.

    I was also thinking: maybe we all, at times, perceive our identity too much from being persecuted. Yes, I know persecutions come, but do we fight them with the spiritual weapons at our disposal or by “woe is me” kind of comments that do nothing but make ourselves feel as victims? I know I suffer from this at times. Every person with every kind of ideology suffers from this from time to time and yet we have the only effective weapon against it: Christ and His promises.

    May God open our hearts to learn what he seeks to teach us through this papacy of Pope Francis!

  93. Kathleen10 says:

    Good words, Jacobianflaherty.
    Amen to your prayer!

  94. LauraL says:

    Boy, I needed this. It’s one of your best. Thanks for “taking us there,” Father Z.

  95. MuchLikeMartha says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z, for your reflection. Thank you also for removing unkind comments. There is enough doubt and frustration in this world that I don’t want or need those of others floating around suggestively in my head. If I wanted that, I’d go back to Facebook. A friend made a somewhat unkind comment regarding Pope Francis yesterday, and it left me feeling very unsettled. Then I remembered how he looked out on that balcony and how I felt watching him at that moment: an overwhelming sense of peace and reassurance; a little pat on the head from God and a feeling that all was right. It felt unseemly to immediately begin to pick apart our new Holy Father. I told my kids that this is Lent (for crying out loud!) and reminded them that God never lets our prayers go unanswered.

    May I offer a gentle reminder of several things? Our kids are watching us. The world is watching us. God is watching us!! If we persist in picking at every thing he has said or worn/not worn, then perhaps it’s time for some deeper Lenten reflection of our own hearts and motives. I’m sure we all prayed that the Holy Spirit would install the right man for the job. Do we really want to question and criticize His wisdom in that choice? Humility is the word that keeps coming up in regards to Pope Francis. Perhaps we should follow his example and show some faith in the recognition that God’s ways are not always our ways.

    I feel a deep and profound sadness that any articles I might like to read regarding His Holiness (either here or elsewhere) might be followed by unkind, uncharitable and frankly, un-Catholic comments by Catholics. The not-knowing is so scary; I get that – and felt it very strongly yesterday! But please, I beg of all of us to be very careful in what and how we say things regarding His Holiness. The world is watching, and the picture I personally would like for them to remember is the cheering, emotional crowd praying for our Papa – not one of more fuel being added to the fires of discontent and division within our Holy Church. I would challenge us all to be better Catholics than that.

    For the 10 or so posts ahead of this one, thank you. You all have said it beautifully, and I couldn’t agree more. Fr. Z, again, thank you from the bottom of my heart. May God bless you for your continual efforts in the purpose of this most awesome blog. You are loved and prayed for.

    And may God bless Pope Francis.

  96. WaywardSailor says:

    I, too, was initially disappointed when I heard “Bergoglio” announced by Cardinal Tauron. When I first heard “Georgium”, I thought “it’s Pell!” and was deflated to hear a different name. Then the announcement of the papal name “Franciscum” buoyed me and I found myself on my knees in front of the television in tears (of joy) praying the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be along with our new Holy Father and the throng in St. Peter’s Square and praying that the plenary indulgence granted by Pope Francis’ first blessing extended to those who could only be in Rome in spirit. Not knowing much about Cardinal Bergoglio, I went in search of information about him. I was impressed by the descriptions of his humility and doctrinal orthodoxy, but more than a little disturbed by some of what I read about the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires (many of which were beyond nasty), especially vis-a-vis the attitude toward the TLM in Buenos Aires and I feared for the “reform of the reform”. And then I stepped away from it all and reflected. How many prayers have I said, have we said, has the whole Church said, in the past month imploring God for the election of a holy and faithful Pope? How many Our Fathers imploring God that “Thy will be done”? And I was ashamed at my reaction to this election, like a child at Christmas who receives something wonderful but doesn’t get exactly what he wants and pouts. My doubts, my misgivings about Pope Francis had some element of “non-serviam” about them. In those doubts and misgivings I was only considering what I wanted for the Church and not what God wants (despite my prayers that His candidate be elected). My doubts and misgivings have turned to joy for the election of this humble and holy man. To paraphrase Blessed John Henry Newman, God knows what He is about . . . therefore I will trust Him. And in doing so, I am reminded of the words of Saint Francis de Sales:

    Do not look forward
    to the changes and chances
    of this life in fear;
    Rather look to them with full hope that,
    as they arise, God will deliver you out of them.
    He has kept you hitherto – do you but hold fast
    to His dear hand,
    and he will lead you safely through all things;
    And, when you cannot stand,
    He will bear you in His arms.
    Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow;
    the same everlasting Father who cares for you today
    will take care of you tomorrow and every day.
    Either He will shield you from suffering,
    or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
    Be at peace then,
    and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.


  97. mysticalrose says:

    Well, I’m used to written Latin, NOT spoken Latin. Was I the only one who thought they elected Francis Cardinal George?! At any rate, I am unsure if Pope Francis’ liturgical sensibilities will correspond to my own, but I am sure that he has my love and my loyalty.

    Thanks for the reflection, Fr. Z.

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  99. Jesuits and liturgy – my experience has been that South African Jesuits give sermons leaving one wondering if they even believe in God, never mind miracles. My first exposure to a Latin Mass (Ordinary Form) was at a Jesuit-run parish / school in London. Too young to know if they were liturgically good or bad, but I was impressed. Fr Hardon, a well-known Jesuit, had a deep faith. Clearly Pope Francis does too. We did have one Jesuit here who added in lovely traditional post-Communion prayers that really made a difference to me. So I think we should wait and see before we sit in judgement of His Holiness’ holiness. And even then, when we think the time has come to judge him, we should first look at ourselves, and wonder whether maybe, just maybe, the Holy Spirit is still running the show in spite of our own fallible opinions. I am struggling with the idea that maybe my views on what the Church should be (Extraordinary Form being the norm, lots of incense, fewer rainbow Masses, no puppets – liturgical things mostly, as they bring worship to a higher level for me) are not as infallible as they seems to me to be – after all, everyone else’s opinions are equally obvious to them. The next few popes will tell me. I might have to eventually say that holding hands during the Our Father and priests facing the congregation and hugging at the sign of peace and so forth are not so bad – maybe even guitars! I do think we have maintained a strong moral voice on abortion etc., and vocal dissenters aside, we’re teaching the right things to a world that doesn’t listen. I just don’t want another conclave soon.

  100. deliberatejoy says:

    I’m quite sure that our new Papa is aware of the anxiety rising over the liturgical issues. He can hardly be *un*aware, considering the efforts that his predecessor put into reassuring those of his flock with the burning need and desire to worship traditionally – and PARTICULARLY since Benedict is still alive and kicking and physically here to remind him. I have every confidence that he (Francis) will address these concerns, and again, that the Holy Spirit will prompt him to speak in accordance with God’s will.

    Have a little faith, folks. :) It really does work miracles.

  101. AnnAsher says:

    at your words, my hope grows deeper.

  102. Elizabeth M says:

    I know this isn’t completely about the story, but thank you Father for making it apparent to the people around you that you are a priest and heard confessions. So many times we are introduced to someone and then it comes up they are Father so-and-so.

    Many prayers for our new Holy Father! If we comment on his actions from the past and say already “Oh, it’s going to be awful!” then we need to remember St. Peter. He publicly denied Christ 3 times.

  103. jacobianflaherty says:

    WaywardSailor, Deliberate Joy: AMEN! BEST posts of the day! Thank you!

  104. MarcAnthony says:

    One thing guys: The liturgy is very, VERY important, yes. But there are a LOT of important things in the Church besides the liturgy, and I don’t see Pope Emeritus Benedict’s liturgical reforms any time soon since, you know, Benedict IS still alive, among other things.

    So things besides the liturgy may be focused on. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but we’re all assuming it is.

    Also: At one time, the Jesuits were a very Holy order, and in many places, it still is. I think the way we speak of the Jesuits is very disrespectful in itself. They’re a very old order with a rich history, and they deserve more respect than they’re getting.

  105. monmir says:

    At the announcement I was speechless because I did not know who he was. I am sorry he did not wear the whole papal outfit for the occasion, but I had to accept it joyfully as he seemed as shocked as I was. We may have a new cure d’Ars, very humble for himself and doing everything to have beautiful liturgies and vestments and in the process winning all hearts.
    This is what I am hoping for, because I am not going to sulk for “n” years, each of us has a job to do assigned by God.
    De profundis clamavi at te Domine, Domine exaudi vocem meam

  106. acricketchirps says:

    One bit of bad news: My old parish priest’s quip that S.J. after a guy’s name stands for “Soft Job” no longer cuts it.

  107. The Masked Chicken says:

    Sherlock Holmes said, “I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

    I know nothing about Pope Francis except that God permitted him be elected to the office and God always has a reason, a purpose, and a plan, be it for a blessing or a curse as we shall see. Let us not commit the capital mistake of reading the future out of past history. I have no opinion. I cannot have an opinion and keep a good conscience. The threat of rash judgment binds my speculations. May it bind us all in these early day of Pope Francis’s pontificate.

    I do, however, have a question about the Conclave. It concerns Europe. Does this Conclave signal the eclipse of Europe? Pope Francis is borne from Italian stock, transplanted to Latin soil. He is a hybrid. Will the next Pope break the tether completely? Pope Emeritus Benedict was Europe’s last great supporter. I keep thinking that one day we will all be sad when we discover that the Europe that gave us Aquinas, Francis, and Teresa is no more.

    The scientist, Jacob Bronowki, in his landmark tv series, The Ascent of Man, was able to see the trend 40 years ago:

    “And we are really here on a wonderful threshold of knowledge. The ascent of man is always teetering in the balance. There is always a sense of uncertainty, whether when man lifts his foot for the next step it is really going to come down pointing ahead. And what is ahead for us? At last the bringing together of all that we have learned, in physics and in biology, towards an understanding of where we have come: what man is.

    Knowledge is not a loose-leaf notebook of facts. Above all, it is a responsibility for the integrity of what we are, primarily of what we are as ethical creatures. You cannot possibly maintain that informed integrity if you let other people run the world for you while you yourself continue to live out of a ragbag of morals that come from past beliefs. That is really crucial today. You can see it is pointless to advise people to learn differential equations, or to do a course in electronics or in computer programming. And yet, fifty years from now (he wrote this in 1973), if an understanding of man’s origins, his evolution, his history, his progress is not the commonplace of the schoolbooks, we shall not exist. The commonplace of the schoolbooks of tomorrow is the adventure of today, and that is what we are engaged in.

    And I am infinitely saddened to find myself suddenly surrounded in the west by a sense of terrible loss of nerve, a retreat from knowledge into – into what? Into Zen Buddhism; into falsely profound questions about, Are we not really just animals at bottom; into extra-sensory perception and mystery. They do not lie along the line of what we are now able to know if we devote ourselves to it: an understanding of man himself. We are nature’s unique experiment to make the rational intelligence prove itself sounder than the reflex. Knowledge is our destiny. Self-knowledge, at last bringing together the experience of the arts and the explanations of science, waits ahead of us.

    It sounds very pessimistic to talk about western civilisation with a sense of retreat. I have been so optimistic about the ascent of man; am I going to give up at this moment? Of course not. The ascent of man will go on. But do not assume that it will go on carried by western civilisation as we know it. We are being weighed in the balance at this moment. If we give up, the next step will be taken – but not by us. We have not been given any guarantee that Assyria and Egypt and Rome were not given. We are waiting to be somebody’s past too, and not necessarily that of our future.

    We are a scientific civilisation: that means, a civilisation in which knowledge and its integrity are crucial. Science is only a Latin word for knowledge. If we do not take the next step in the ascent of man, it will be taken by people elsewhere, in Africa, in China. Should I feel that to be sad? No, not in itself. Humanity has a right to change its colour. And yet, wedded as I am to the civilisation that nurtured me, I should feel it to be infinitely sad. I, whom England made, whom it taught its language and its tolerance and excitement in intellectual pursuits, I should feel it a grave sense of loss (as you would) if a hundred years from now Shakespeare and Newton are historical fossils in the ascent of man, in the way that Homer and Euclid are.”

    The Chicken

  108. JuliaSaysPax says:

    Two things especially fill me with hope:
    1) His Holiness’ apparently strong Marian devotion.
    2) The fact that my grandmother, who unfortunately usually has nothing good to say about the Catholic Church (notable exceptions: agreeing sexual morality and life issues, sending my father to a Franciscan pre-school/kindergarten that laid the seeds for his conversion, rejoicing in every aspect of Thomas Aquinas College, and liking Mother Theresa) tried to say something negative about Pope Francis… and couldn’t. She just admitted that she didn’t know why, but she had an immediate impression that he is a “good man who really knows the Lord”. If he can get such a response from someone who’s mostly anti-Catholic, if he does have the Marian devotion that he appears to, and if he doesn’t do any harm to the liturgy (which I doubt he will, I think things will mostly stay the same as they are now for the duration of his papacy- not ideal, but not backsliding either)- then maybe he’ll achieve some good in helping to draw some of our non-Catholic brethren towards the one true church.
    I don’t think that’s overly optimistic to say. No pope will ever be perfect, and Pope Francis does seem to have some very important strengths.

    God bless the pope!

  109. Juergensen says:

    robtbrown says:
    I did a poor job explaining because I assumed you know more than you apparently do.
    You’re half right.

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  111. Stumbler but trying says:

    Rock24 says:
    14 March 2013 at 2:21 am
    His Holiness Pope Francis seems to be very devoted to Our Lady! He mentioned toward the end of his speech that he would “go and pray to Our Lady” tomorrow. May she look after and protect our Roman Pontiff.

    I discovered another little treasure today with regards to Papa Francesco that made me smile and gave me much to look forward to. Papa Francesco prays the fifteen decades of the Holy Rosary DAILY! Is that not a cause for joy? Does this not confirm him to be a little son of the Holy Virgin? What man or woman can be led astray if you belong to the Mother of Christ?

    And if he will follow in the spirit of the “little poor man of Italy” St. Francis of Assisi, he will be simple yet fervent in his approach in faith and worship. Though it be too soon to tell, if I do not see the beauty of his vestments, I will see the beauty of his faith in worship of our Lord Jesus Christ and that is all I want…a holy and simple yet Christ loving Papa. Amen!

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  113. Lora says:

    Thank you for this vivid account Father. I loved your rain stopping Rosary! Watching and listening for the news by internet and cell phone, we were in awe of the events though separated from them by time zones. It was a joyous event we will never forget. God is good, and we can see this goodness especially when we trust in Him.