First Impressions Of Francis I

Okay, so we’re not Roman Catholics, but certainly the person sitting on St. Peter’s throne in the Vatican has an influence through all of Christendom.

First off, there seems to be more than clever marketing behind Francis being called Francis, the guy rode the subway in Argentina back when he was an Archbishop:

Francis

It is hard to imagine Ratzinger/Benedict doing the same sort of thing once he had the means to ride around in company cars. Another subtle hint: no points for guessing which shoes belong to which pope:

pope-francis-shoes
I don’t pretend to know how Francis is going to run things in the Vatican, but he seems to have at least clued into the idea that, as had of a religion whose largest groups of followers reside in the developing world, it’s simply obscene for him to continue to revel in the ostentatious treasures of his new digs. He can however go further in this direction, the Vatican holds all kinds of art treasures and other extravagances, more than they can ever hope to display or use. Perhaps it’s time to start slowly divesting these things. I wryly tweeted something to the effect that only the Pope can be called a humble man of the people whilst riding in a convertible Mercedes SUV (journalists were making comments to this effect because he had his people remove the bulletproof glass that surrounded his predecessors . I guess given the Vatican’s starting point, it’s something.

There was some talk about whether or not Bergoglio collaborated with the Argentine government in persecuting a number of liberation theology priests in the 1970s though at least one of those priests has come forward to say that he does not hold Bergoglio culpable for his persecution. Given how negatively the current hierarchy views liberation theology, it’s hard to imagine someone from that school feeling compelled to absolve a new Pope.