Wednesday, March 13, 2013

White Smoke

At just a few minutes after 2 p.m. today, as Brigitte and I were watching CNN, smoke began to issue from a temporary chimney above the roof of the Sistine Chapel. The smoke was white and hence we knew: Habemus Papam. Media speculation went on for just about an hour before, at last, Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, the senior cardinal deacon of the Church announced the Pope’s name: Pope Francis. Until this event, he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. We were both immensely pleased by this choice. And it happened on the perfect day, for Ghulflings: the 13th. Bergoglio was also ordained on the 13th, December 13, 1969. Multiple firsts surround him: the first pope born outside of Europe (not counting Peter); the first Jesuit—and a Jesuit who chose St. Francis’ name as his, the first ever Francis. On a more personal note, he is also the first pope ever who is younger than we are. He was born on December 17, 1936; I was  then a baby five months old. We both send him blessings and prayers…as the caravan marches on.

My image is a snap from an ITV YouTube video available here. Too bad that none of the three seagulls, who had amused us for two hours, one after the other, as we waited for the conclusion of the last, of five, votes stuck around for the smoke. Perhaps we were watching, glued to the screen, because we’d had an intuition this was it. And Brigitte, whose second sight is sharper than mine, had actually guessed whom the College of Cardinals would choose. But as often happens with her, she hasn’t the faintest how she knew…

Added Later: Alas, I'm not well-informed about papal history. Therefore I repeated, without thought, the notion that Pope Francis is the first non-European pope after Peter. Herewith a corrective from the Washington Post (link).

1 comment:

  1. I had a feeling you two were following the news out of Rome closely over the last weeks. I join you in wishing Pope Francis all things good.

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