Pretty stunning, and now we must brace ourselves for all the usual speculation, analysis, and drama that accompanies the election of any new pope.
I don’t have a lot to say; while I was a huge fan of the man when he was a cardinal, I have had decidedly mixed reactions to his pontificate; I thought him very good on social doctrine, making clear what had been ambiguous before he took office, and making it much more difficult for libertarians and neocons to pose as faithful adherents of Catholic Social Teaching.
And I thought him very good on liturgy, making the old Mass more available and overseeing a much-needed translation of the new.
But I found his speech at Regensburg, which so offended Muslims, a huge misstep, as well as a missed opportunity for a long overdue examination of our own violent history.
And I thought that when he basically redefined “subsists” to mean “exists in its fullness” it was a setback in relations with the Orthodox. It was a far cry from his proposals for reunion when he was cardinal, and to my mind a step back.
But right now all we can do is pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as the Church prepares for a new pope….