March 14, 2013
(UPDATED) Must-Reads on the New Pope: The First Latino, Jesuit, Francis
More background on Jorge Bergoglio, former archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Update (Mar. 15): We've updated our list of must-read articles on Pope Francis. Updates now appear first on the list.
News outlets went wild Wednesday after the surprisingly quick election of a new leader for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, flooding social media and online news feeds with countless articles on Pope Francis.
Presuming you don't have time to read everything—and assuming you've already read CT's coverage of reactions from American and Argentine evangelical leaders (including Luis Palau)—here are CT's picks for the most helpful articles on former archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Bergoglio (in no particular order).
Updates appear first on the list.
0) We recommend the links below, but we also recommend our own reporting: American evangelical leaders say they expect good things; Argentine evangelical leaders say Bergoglio is an "answer to our prayers;" and Luis Palau, who straddles both communities, says he approves both as an evangelist and as a personal friend.
1) It's a new era at the Vatican, RNS reports. But Pope Francis'S actions during his first day on the job appeared to be consistent with his "every-man" status as a cardinal: "After the blessing from St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis shunned the official Vatican state car that had been prepared for him, and rode back to the Santa Marta residence in a van with the other cardinals."
2) CT reported yesterday that evangelist Luis Palau said Pope Francis always has been "more spiritual than administrative." But RNS says he will get a chance to flex his administrative muscle from here on out: Running the Vatican will be a big task for "gentle" Bergoglio.
3) Philip Jenkins offers a very helpful examination of Argentina and poses an interesting question over at the Chronicle of Higher Education: "Might Benedict XVI earn his place in the encyclopedias chiefly as the last European pope?"
4) The Telegraph has put together an interactive infographic, which features details on every pope in history—including Pope Francis.
5) The National Catholic Reporter (NCR) offered a helpful pre-election profile of Bergoglio, reporting that he was "the main challenger to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger" during the 2005 conclave which elected Ratzinger to become Pope Benedict XVI. NCR's John Allen reports that what appealed about Bergoglio to cardinals in 2005 is still relevent: He is seen as "someone who personally straddles the divide between the Jesuits and the ciellini, and more broadly, between liberals and conservatives in the church."
6) Bergoglio's Jesuit heritage makes him a somewhat improbable choice for Pope, writes Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at large of America magazine, on CNN's Belief Blog. Martin's column offers helpful answers to important questions, including why Bergoglio's election was improbable; what it means to have a Jesuit pope; and what St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, would have thought.
7) Bergoglio's choice of the name Pope Francis, a first, is prompting debate: Is the name "Francis" a connection to St. Francis of Assisi, an Italian friar known for his poverty, or to Francis Xavier, one of the 16th-century founders of the Jesuits? National Post and Associated Press detail the "symbolism" behind the name, noting both Bergoglio's "austerity" and his pastoral work.
8) RNS notes that Pope Francis' election is a paradox, given the global state of the Catholic Church. While his election is, in many ways, precedent setting, "the cardinals have again tried to get back to basics in order to face the future, but without taking too many risks," RNS editor David Gibson writes.
Editor's note: This list will be updated as more helpful articles come to CT's attention.