Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, March 18, 2013

New Pope, Old Pope

I was struck by, and agreed with, Amy Welborn's post on reactions to Pope Francis and the sense in which they tie in with our feelings about Pope Benedict. (As I was reading down the post and the comments it also struck me that as we were all adjusting to the end of John Paul II's pontificate and the beginning of Benedict's, it was Amy Welborn's comboxes over at Open Book where I'd discuss things with other online Catholics. That was prior to my starting my blog.)

I want to write more about the beginning of Francis's papacy when I have a little more time, but one thing that has struck me as I examine my own excitement about every story that comes out about Pope Francis (and read the excitement of others via the semi-stream-of-consciousness of people's Facebook reactions) is that there is something deeply appealing to the human person about monarchy. As a Catholic, I find myself joyful at the new pope simply because he is the new pope. Not because I think there was something lacking in prior popes. I felt the same deep attachment to John Paul II and to Benedict XVI. I was excited that John Paul II hiked and skied. I was excited that Benedict XVI kept cats and played Mozart. I am excited that Francis rode in the bus with the rest of the cardinals and dropped by his old hotel in person to pay his bill. It's not that I prefer one pontif's personality to another, I simply enjoy "getting to know" these deeply holy men who lead our Church on earth.


Anonymous said...

Makes me tear up as I read this.

Anonymous said...

I think we love novelty, love the new. We're almost conditioned that way with technology. I think if we could have a new pope every eight years or so we'd go for it.

RL said...

I don't know if novelty is apt here Anonymous. This more akin to veneration of the saints. We are often drawn to a variety of saints and with no common thread other than their being saints.

I know most of my favorite saints are vastly different from one another in personality and calling. I don't think there is any difference here, which is too Brendan's point (one I share as well).

Jenny said...

"I was excited that Benedict XVI kept cats and played Mozart."

I loved Benedict. He was everything I could want in a Pope! Kind, introverted, professorial, the cats, the Mozart, the lack of a cult of personality...

Stand back because I'm about to spout some heresy here. I wasn't a great fan of Pope John Paul. The whole larger than life persona did not appeal to me. Part of this is because in my emotional mind he is the Pope of the ugly, hot mess of a parish I grew up in. Not fair, I know, but that emotional link is there.

And our new Pope Francis reminds me more of John Paul. So while I respect him and he seems like a holy man, that immediate connection I had with Benedict is just not there.

I'm sure I'll come around.

Maiki said...

Interesting, Jenny. In many ways, I see Francis as also an introvert, like Pope Benedict. Especially based on descriptions of him coming from Argentina. I am "connecting" with both of those a lot better than JPII.

They are very different types of people, to be sure, very different sort of backgrounds and tastes, but I think their personalities share more in common than with JPII.