We’re still reading up on the new Holy Father, but for now, here’s a bit to get you started:
Catholic Culture has an informative story on today’s events, and Thomas L. McDonald is rounding up news and reactions as they arrive. CBS and other outlets have published the full text of Pope Francis’ brief speech. Zenit reports that the new pope has already spoken with his predecessor and will meet with journalists on Saturday.
CNN confirmed with a Vatican spokesman that “the new pope took the name Francis in honor of St. Francis of Assisi because he is a lover of the poor” and the new pope should be known as Pope Francis, not Pope Francis I.” CNN also quotes reporter John Allen as calling the choice of name “stunning” and “precedent-shattering.” Rocco Palmo states that when Bergoglio was made a cardinal in 2001, he “urged Argentinians not to come [to Rome for the ceremony], but donate the money they’d spend to the poor.”
John Allen’s recent article and a 2002 profile by Sandro Magister detail Pope Francis’ personal simplicity, and his Wikipedia page fills in some more biographical details. He is the author of several books and the subject of a biography called El Jesuita (The Jesuit), but if Amazon is any guide, none of those are available in English. The Associated Press quotes the biographer Sergio Rubin in its story, however, and Our Sunday Visitor has announced plans to publish an English-language biography of Pope Francis by Matthew Bunson called The New Pope.
Zenit has covered some of Pope Francis’ writings and actions as a cardinal: his 2010 letter to catechists, his 2007 celebration of Rosh Hashana, his defense of traditional marriage, and his take on bishops’ call to holiness. Dawn Eden quotes his 2001 meditation on divine mercy, and one blogger has translated some of the then-cardinal’s homilies and talks (such this year’s Lenten letter, plus 2008’s Palm Sunday and Easter Vigil homilies). Life News calls him a “staunch pro-life advocate,” citing a strongly worded 2007 speech on the subject.
George Weigel told NBC News that the new pope is “a very brave man”:
“He will be a great defender of religion around the world.”
“The papacy has moved to the New World. The church has a new pope with a new name,” he added. “I think it speaks to the church’s commitment to the poor of the world and compassion in a world that often needs a lot of healing.”
Olga Khazan of The Atlantic says “the humble, compassionate Bergoglio could be the right man for the job.” John Haldane shares his thoughts in “A New Pope for a New Chapter in an Old Story,” and Ross Douthat shares his on his New York Times blog.
Finally, Pope Francis’ episcopal motto was “miserando atque eligendo” (lowly and yet chosen)—which sounds like the feeling he must have as he ascends to the papacy.