Very few things can bring the world together. A large portion of world is joined as they watch athletes compete in the Olympics or World Cup. Another large portion joins together when there is a horrific tragedy, such as tsunami or earthquake. Yet another gathers when a celebrity dies, such as Michael Jackson or Princess Diana.
Today, I joined the largest of all gatherings. I watched the announcement of our new Pope. Of course, Catholics watched. This is the leader of our religion-not simply a pastor, or bishop-but the leader of our religion world-wide. Others watched too. Some watched because it was on every major news outlet, twitter, facebook, etc and there was no escaping it. Many others watched out of curiosity. Very few elections are held in such secrecy. Very few occasions cause people to run from their homes in order to hear a name announced. Whatever the reason, BILLIONS watched from all over the globe.
I am Catholic. I am one of those who have become disillusioned by the politics, the scandal and cries of poverty that come seemingly every week. I still pray and try to be a good person. I consider my relationship with God to be personal, just between Him and me. But still have hope that someday, I can bring myself to enter a Church without cringing with hypocrisy.
As I watched the announcement of our new Pope, I was filled with hope. As I waited, I imagined him in the Room of Tears, crying with the crushing weight of the responsibility placed on his shoulders. I prayed for God to give him the strength to do what is right for us and power to explain his choices to us. I prayed for God to give him guidance as he steps down this new path of his life.
The announcement of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to the papacy has given me hope. Just by choosing to be called “Pope Francis” he is breaking with tradition. He is the first Jesuit, the first ‘Francis’, the first non-European. I am hoping he will be merciful in his dealings with gay issues, allow more participation by women, and wield a heavy hand on those involved in molestation.
This is a new chapter in Catholicism waiting to be written.