Monday, March 18, 2013

Listening, Watching, Praying: A Selection of Responses to the New Pope

I'm listening. I'm watching. I'm praying, in my own limping and half-hearted fashion.

And I'm trying to hold onto hope, a virtue that is never easy for me. Like most other people in the world, I have had hopes dashed, and unlike more robust and resilient souls, I hesitate to hope again for that reason. I listen carefully when Tom Fox says in his National Catholic Reporter article about Pope Francis and hope, 

We will have to wait to see where Pope Francis walks, in which direction he leads the church.  But there is little doubt he has already changed the tone of the papacy. 

And I agree. I am waiting to see where the new pope walks. I am also watching where he is already walking, and I welcome signs of change, of the thaw of winter (see Andrew Sullivan), while I remain at a distance from the fervor of many who seem to see something I don't in the new papacy: the arrival of an eschaton distant from me and my kind. I'm not sure I would see such eschatological promise in any papacy, to be frank, and I am evidently a bad Catholic because I cannot muster such eschatological fervor for any pope.

Among the many good statements about the new pope that have appeared in the last several days, over which I've pored and whose testimony I'm trying to hear, I'd like to recommend the following:

On the theme of Francis as a sign of hope and potential reformer, responses from various sides:

Colleen Baker, Enlightened Catholicism: "Pope Francis: A Vatican Lightning Strike? A Curial Earthquake? Or Just Plain Priest?"

Jayden Cameron, Gay Mystic, "Pope Francis Approved Adoption by Gay Couple"

Brian Coyne, Catholica, "Can Pope Francis Revitalize the Catholic Church and Re-Evangelize the World?"

Tom Fox, NCR, "Pope Francis Providing Much Needed Hope" 

Andrew O'Hehir (and Matthew Fox), Salon, "Is Pope Francis a Fraud?"

Hans Küng, CBC Radio, "Hans Küng on Election of Pope Francis"

Eduardo Peñalver, Commonweal, "Sobrino on Bergoglio"

Gerald Slevin, Christian Catholicism, "Pope Francis to Church: Reform and Forgive" (note that the link to Jerry's essay now seems to point to a different title, and I don't spot the other one any longer at his site)*

On the dirty war in Argentina, liberation theology, and Bergoglio's stance/involvement:

Daniel Horan, Dating God, "Living La Vida Justicia: Reconsidering Pope Francis and Liberation Theology"

Robert Parry, Consortium News, "Pope Francis, CIA and 'Death Squads'"

Eduardo Peñalver, Commonweal, "More on Bergoglio and the Dirty War"

Thomas Reese, NCR, "Francis, the Jesuits and the Dirty War"

Simon Romero and William Neuman, New York Times, "Francis Begins Reign as Pope Amid Echoes of Argentina's Dirty War"

*Please see Jerry Slevin's note in the thread below pointing out that he had changed the title of his article, and that there's now a follow-up entitled "Pope Francis, ex-Pope Ratzinger and President Obama." 

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