About an hour after the world saw white smoke, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis, stepped out to offer the crowd his blessing. But before that, he asked for its prayers. This is a humble man, a prince of the church born into a working-class family who’s noted for riding public transportation and cooking his own meals.

George Weigel on NBC News says that Pope Francis is “very much a man of the new evangelization.” But the new pope is also a veteran of old battles. When many of his brother Jesuits sought to move away from parishes and embrace liberation theology, he insisted on traditional forms of work, and his order’s beloved Ignatian spirituality.

The choice of a familiar face like Bergoglio (he was the runner-up in the last conclave) may signal the college’s desire for a transitional, placeholding pope. But transitional popes have been known to effect transitions for the whole church.

More soon . . .

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