Rome dispatch: Pope Francis opened his reign with a meditation on St. Joseph and the power and limits of the papacy.
Opinion: There is hope that the first Jesuit pope will focus more on the poor and will be more open to women in the church.
On Saturday evening, I had dinner with my neighbors, and we were discussing (what else?) the election of Pope Francis and what it might mean for the church and the world. My neighbor Ed is agnostic, though I usually describe him as "an agnostic who practices Christian values better than most Christians."
The world is watching every move Pope Francis makes. All are united in hoping for and praying for a successful new beginning for Francis and the church of Rome. Progressive and conservative Catholics alike are searching for signs of renewal from our new pope. There appears to be common ground on many issues at this time among the most conservative and the most liberal of Catholics.
There is an update to this blog: Update on Pope Francis' ring.
As his formal signet, Pope Francis will be using a silver and gold ring previously owned by the private secretary of Pope Paul VI, the Vatican confirmed Monday afternoon.
All popes wear a special ring, named the fisherman's ring after Peter's initial job as a fisherman.
Imagine getting a call from Pope Francis asking for your advice concerning the most important issues facing the Catholic church and the world.
If he asked you what kind of pope the church and world need at this moment in history, what would you say to him?
Well, if our new Holy Father asked me that question, I would first suggest he deeply reflect on the challenge given to him by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals.
Jesuits have always had a special relationship to the pope. It started when St. Ignatius was not able to follow his dream of preaching the Gospel to Muslims in the Holy Land. When he arrived in Jerusalem without a cent in his pocket, the Franciscans shook their heads and told him to go home. Thank God for the Franciscans! They were in charge of the Holy Land and obviously had more sense than he did.
Rome dispatch: One million people are expected to attend Pope Francis' inaugural Mass, which will be held tomorrow, on the feast of St. Joseph.
Although the early reaction to Pope Francis has been tremendously positive, it's largely based on matters of style and personality. The extent to which his expressed dream of a "poor church for the poor" will be translated into a program of governance remains to be seen.
So far, there have been two hints that the new pope sees himself as a genuine reformer, not just in words but also in deeds.
Cardinals who spoke to NCR on background following the conclave said what turned long shot Jorge Mario Bergoglio into pope was the intersection of three basic forces.