The Silver Linings of an Argentinean Pope

Maradona calls it "the hand of God".
Maradona calls it “the hand of God”.

While it’s true you can find a number of red flags in Francis I’s resume (staunch opponent to gay marriage and contraception methods, friendly to the Videla dictatorship), there are also a number of elements that make me — a lapsed Catholic — feel hopeful.

Francis I is Argentinean Jorge Mario Bergoglio is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Just by being born in Latin America, Francis I has been more in touch with extreme poverty than any other pontiff in recent memory. Also, Argentineans are known for their bold, larger-than-life personalities (see Maradona, Messi), and the Catholic Church is in desperate need of strong leadership.

He is a Jesuit Not only is the Jesuit order known for their modesty and work with the poor — this group is also singularly pragmatic. This approach may signify changes in the way the Catholic Church deals with hot-button issues like the abuse of minors, AIDS and thinning Catholic ranks.

He picked Francis as his Pontiff name Bergoglio is the first ‘Francis’ ever, which signals a desire for a clean break. On top of that, the Argentinean wanted to honor the co-founder of the Jesuit order, St. Francis Xavier, a socially-minded missionary who ventured in areas untouched by Catholicism.

Seems healthy Benedict XVI looked sickly from the get-go and bailed out after a few years. Also, Francis I is more of a doer than an academic, as opposed to his predecessor.

His actual name is Jorge All Jorges are trustworthy, lovely people. By the way, it’s pronounced ‘Hor-he’, not ‘George’.

Author: Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Journalist, film critic, documentary filmmaker, and sometimes nice guy. Member of the Vancouver Film Critics Circle. Like horror flicks, long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners. Allergic to cats.

21 thoughts on “The Silver Linings of an Argentinean Pope”

  1. Well said, Sr. Castillo; balance, of a sort, struck. As to Francis I’s health, I think I remember reading that he’s missing a lung. That hasn’t kept him from his pastoral duties so far.
    Among the positive things about the Jesuits, at least when they first got started, was that they had to be well educated (15 years of study), and also had to have a trade.

  2. Steve: I know him well.
    Barb: I’m partial to Jesuits, they actually try to be active within the community.

  3. I understand his choice of name was at least partially based on his love of the films series Francis the talking mule. ..Donald O’connor was one heck of a Wilber!

  4. Reasons for concern about this new pope thing:

    – Seems the old pope isn’t exactly leaving the Vatican. He’s keeping an apartment there and isn’t even reverting back to his old name. He’ll still be a holiness of some sort.

    – The new pope and the old pope are going to be sharing a personal secretary — who will be the old pope’s personal secretary. And, apparently, the old pope and his secretary were VERY close. I mean, very VERY close. Like, not so much employer and trusted employee close but more like the closest of confidantes close. European tabloids go so far as to suggest they’re closer even than that.

    – Where did this guy come from? I mean, the Rationalist Association had his popability (yes spellchecker, I know that’s not a real word) at 33:1 odds — only candidates like the skeleton of Pope Formosus and Cardinal Brennan from Father Ted were considered less likely than Bergoglio. And UK bookmakers, last I checked, also had him down as a total longshot. And he gets selected after what? a few days? And he earns more votes than Benedict? How does that happen?

    So here’s this guy from Argentina, a relative outsider, dropped into the snakepit of the Vatican which, from what I’ve read, is completely rife with infighting — like, moreso than usual. Might he have to lean pretty heavily on the wisdom and support of his predecessor?

    I’m telling you, this whole thing was rigged! And I’ve already started writing a conspiracy thriller screenplay!

    Yeah, Barb, I know you probably think I’m a total nutter but, seriously, bet you dollars for donuts that Francis I is for all intents and purposes a puppet pope. Basically, Benedict XVI Part II.

  5. On the topic of conspiracy theories, which seems to turn your crank, what’s your take on the JFK assassination, Princess Diana’s death, and 9/11? And, for the big bucks, the international Jewish conspiracy? Inquiring minds are dying to know.

  6. Re: #7 Because Vatican conspiracy stuff makes big bucks. Have you seen the numbers for the Da Vinci Code?

    As for those other conspiracies, they’re all bunk. But you should hear my theories about the origin of Chartreuse. (The herbal liqueur, I mean.)

  7. @Barb,

    If you want my opinion on those events: 1. JFK: Obvious conspiracy. There’s no way Oswald hits his target from the school book building; plus, there’s the video of Kennedy’s forehead being blown off, clearly from a frontal shot.
    2. Princess Diana: Dude was wasted, ppl got killed.
    3. 9/11: Criminal negligence, causing massive amounts of death. Warnings were there, solutions were there, Bush/Cheney ignored them. They wanted a reason to invade a country that wasn’t even involved. Worst. President. Ever.
    4. International Jewish Conspiracy? I’m okay with it, as long as they’re not Catholic.

  8. Dear, dear Talbot: I asked Paul, not you.

    Paul: there are actual news stories out there, begging for you to check them out – that is, of course, if partisan interests would let you.

    It’s too bad that ordinary Christian living excites fewer people than laughable retread crap like the Da Vinci Code, and exorcism.

  9. What impact will this have on the dispute between Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands I wonder?

  10. @9) So tell me Paul. Does the Pope and the Roman Catholics even get a dime of the profits made with the Da Vinci Code conspiracy?

    Why is it anytime a new leader of a specific institution gets labeled as being part of some conspiracy?

  11. Partisan interests? I have no idea what you’re talking about. Unless you’re referring to how I’m partisan to Superman: The Animated Series and the watching thereof with my kids. Which has been my primary distraction this evening.

  12. Didn’t you guys get the memo I sent?
    Frank 1976 kidnapping?

    #8 c’mon Barb ,you must have seen the BBC tower 7 video…

  13. @11 This is an open forum…this is the Internet, a message board, and those are just evergreen non sequiturs ppl use to throw off any sort of whiff a’ controversy which need to be addressed. You should probably open a private chat box with Paul if you really want his thoughts.

    As for the Pope, I kinda get the sense you got a little David Cassidy-thing going for this Pope Francis. Could it be…

  14. As you’ve pointed out, Talbot, this is an open forum, and it’s neither my nor the forum’s fault if you can’t detect a rhetorical question. As to non sequiturs, I leave those to you.

  15. So it turns out this guy is one of the people responsible for all of those “disappeared” people in Argentina in the 1980s.

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