The new pope is Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires. He is the first Jesuit pope ever and is of Italian descent.
He has taken the name Pope Francis (Franceso).
Between the time that the white smoke went up and they announced the new pope, I had been thinking that his mission was the same as the one that God gave St. Francis — “Rebuild my church.”
So I was both shocked and delighted to hear that his name will be Francis. He may have chosen it because of his commitment to the poor rather than the need for repair, but whatever the reason, I take it as a hopeful sign.
When I was baptized six years ago, I took the baptismal name Francesca, the female form of St. Francis, so I’m especially pleased.
Journalist Emily Yoffe has a story up on Slate called “My Molesters.” She talks about being molested three times before she was 20 — once by a cousin, once by a friend’s father, and once by Fr. Robert Drinan, when he was serving as her congressman.
That last accusation caused my jaw to drop. Fr. Drinan, a Jesuit priest who died in 2007, was famous for his anti-Vietnam War protests and for being the only Roman Catholic priest to serve in Congress. He was a Massachusetts congressman in the 1970’s, until Pope John Paul II forbade priests from holding elected office in 1980, and Drinan didn’t run again. He taught at Georgetown Law School, where he specialized in ethics and human rights.
Since, like Yoffe, I grew up in Massachusetts (she is four years younger than I am), I followed Fr. Drinan’s career very closely and always admired him. I was dismayed to read her piece today, another tarnished hero.