Thursday, March 14, 2013

Habemus Papam: Pope Francis

Yesterday I was glued to CNN, watching the election of Pope Francis, the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.  It was an exciting day, if you care about such things, with speculation on everything from the Preferiti (Cardinals rumoured to possibly be the next Pope - the front runners, if you like), to the Pope's red shoes, to the seagull sitting atop the Sistine Chapel's famous chimney.

Consummate CNN Reporter, Anderson Cooper and his team, (CNN Reporter, Chris Cuomo, John L. Allen Jr., Senior Vatican Analyst for CNN, and Rev. Edward Beck, Faith and Religion Contributor at CNN, and others) had a long day commenting on every angle, while waiting for the white smoke to arise from the chimmney of the Cistine Chapel.

CNN's Anderson Cooper

CNN Reporter, Chris Cuomo (with N.Y. Cardinal Timothy Dolan)
I have to hand it this group; they were incredibly entertaining, as well as informative, with hours of air time to fill while waiting for the big moment.  They even discussed the Pope's famous red shoes (and no, they aren't made by Prada - only the Devil wears those!).
Shoes of the Fisherman:  Nada made by Prada
It was a pleasure to listen to John Allen, who seems to know everything there is to know about The Vatican, conclaves, Catholic doctrine, papal elections, and all the main players. He is obviously brilliant, without being arrogant or obnoxious about that brilliance; he is charm itself! Allen is the author of many books including, The Future Church: How Ten Trends Are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church, The Catholic Church: What Everyone Needs to Know, A People of Hope: Archbishop Timothy Dolan in Conversation with John L. Allen Jr, Opus Dei: An Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church and two books about Pope Benedict XVI. 
A Beautiful Mind:  John L. Allen Jr., CNN Senior Vatican Analyst
Rev. Edward Beck is the accomplished media contributor to CNN on matters of faith, ethics, morality and religion.  He is stunning looking - almost angelic - with the bluest eyes I've ever seen!  I had to laugh when I saw a comment on Anderson Cooper's 360 blog from a woman enquiring who "the hunk" was on CNN's Papal Conclave coverage -  I don't think she realized Father Beck is a Priest!

Father Beck, a Passionist, is also the esteemed author of three books, God Underneath, Unlikely Ways Home, and Soul Provider.
Angel Eyes:  Rev. Edward Beck, CNN Faith & Religion Contributor
And what of the seagull?  Actually, they were two different gulls (as Anderson Cooper pointed out) perched atop the Cistine Chapel's chimmney for about a half hour.   Captured by live cameras, it was the cause of much levity in the midst of the all the solemnity and tension.  Dubbed the "Sistine Seagull," the bird instantly became a Twitter superstar, with more than 3,000 followers in just a few minutes (I have less than 500 followers, after several years on Twitter!).
Sistine Seagull(s)
At the end of the night, we had a new Pope.  The former Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose the papal name "Francis" after St. Francis of Assisi, the humble friar who dedicated his life to helping the poor.  St. Francis is also the Patron Saint of animals (my children presented me with a statue of St. Francis for Mother's Day several years ago.  During the summer he holds court in my garden).
My St. Francis of Assisi Statue Waiting by the Front Door for Spring!
Pope Francis is the first Pope to choose the name, "Francis," the first from the Americas, the first Jesuit Pope, and the first from outside Europe since Gregory III in the 8th century (who was Syrian).
Habemus Papam:  Pope Francis