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Pope Francis

Pope Francis: the first Space/Information Age pope

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A high tide of conventional analysis of Pope Francis -- is he conservative or progressive, a reformer in fact or a pastor at heart -- misses the central significance of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation and Pope Francis' election. They constitute one event whose meaning cries out for our attention but is drowned out by the re-enactment in our time of the myth of Babel, in which Yahweh turned the talk of the self-important tower builders (TV towers today) into babble.

In U.S., Jesuit pride pours for Pope Francis

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When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina stepped onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Catholic world met its first Jesuit pontiff.

The Society of Jesus formed in 1540 under St. Ignatius of Loyola, but never before had one of its members served the church as the Bishop of Rome. Part of that was due to the order’s oath of obedience to the pope, but also to Ignatius’ own requirement not to seek advancement. Add in past Vatican suspicion of the society, it became somewhat surprising to many American Jesuits that one of their priests ascended to the Throne of Peter.

European bishops: 'Immense joy' for Pope Francis

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The Council of European Bishops' Conferences, which represents the 33 bishops' conferences on the continent, has said it welcomes Jorge Mario Bergoglio's election as Pope Francis with "immense joy" and feels a "pressing need" for the promotion of unity among Christians, especially on environmental issues.

Francis is the first non-European pope in 1,200 years and the first pope from the southern hemisphere.

US priests, brothers 'inspired and challenged' by Pope Francis

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The election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis is a "moment of encouragement, inspiration and challenge," wrote the group that represents U.S. priests and brothers in religious orders.

In an open letter to the new pope, who is a member of the Jesuit religious order, the 17,000-member Conference of Major Superiors of Men said Thursday it is "inspired and challenged," particularly by the pope's choice of name.

Following is the letter.

Most Holy Father:

Greetings in God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ!

The unfailing hope of progressive Catholics

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I just came back from lunch when a co-worker scurried to my cubicle.

"White smoke," she said. "There's white smoke."

My feet had a mind of their own as I ran to the nearest television, absolutely transfixed. I remained glued to the news coverage, with the Latin names of who I thought were likely choices on a Post-it note in front of me (Georgium wasn't on the list). My pulse was racing. My stomach was in knots.

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July 4-17, 2014

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