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Pope Francis: A humble reformer?



I cannot tell you how surprised I was to learn about the man that was elected to be our new Pope. Cardinal Bergoglio is a Jesuit from Argentina. He is both the first Jesuit and Latino Pope. More amazing however is the Papal name that he chose, Francis. He is the first Pope to choose the name of the great saint from Assisi who dedicated himself to a life of humility and poverty as he sought to renew the Church by responding to the Divine commission he received to “build my Church;” a task that our new Pope must also undertake as he responds to the issues that his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, had begun to uncover towards the end of his pontificate.

Pope Innocent III's dream of St. Francis saving the Church. Painting by Giotto

Pope Innocent III’s dream of St. Francis saving the Church. Painting by Giotto

The greatest hope I have for our new Pope is that spirit of Francis of Assisi be his guide as he undertake the daunting task of renewing the Church that is currently limping in scandal. As the Cardinal of Buenos Aires Bergoglio demonstrated a lifestyle of prophetic humility and material simplicity that emulated the great saint. This is a breath of fresh air for a Roman Curia that has in many ways existed within its own aristocratic bubble. I am hopeful that in adopting an “option for the poor” lifestyle Pope Francis can re-orient the Church towards the poor and marginalized communities that Christ and Francis had served. Furthermore, I am hopeful because Pope Francis is very intentional in bringing about a renewal of the Church and society based on the vision this great saint. He recently shared his thoughts on adopting the name of Francis to the Press gathering at the Vatican and this is what he said regarding St. Francis of Assisi:

For me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation; these days we do not have a very good relationship with creation, do we? He is the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man … How I would like a Church which is poor and for the poor!

Posted by:
John Gonzalez
Long Beach, NY



  1. Pope Francis is turning out to be a rather complex reformer, first appointing reformers to a committee on the Curia and then reaffirming the last pope’s rebuke of the American nuns’ group. In http://deligentia.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/pope-francis-a-reformer/, I argue that the pope is a reformer (and outsider) only in a narrow sense. That the traditionalists have borrowed the term “reformer” makes the matter more complex though stil explainable.

    • jdgonzo73 says:

      Thank you free spirit. Reform at this level is going to be quite complex and will require much courage on his part and prayers on ours. Someone suggested that with regards to the LCWR issue the Pope is informed on this issue only from the inside, a reminder that he is now very much a part of the culture that he recognizes is in need of reform.

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