Buenos Aires, Argentina – For all those curious as to whether Pope Francis can deliver the reform of the Roman Curia that was so much in the air during the pre-conclave period, the right person to ask would probably be someone who knows the Vatican from the inside out, and who also watched then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio work in Argentina.
Pope Francis has expressed an affinity for Pope John XXIII, calling the late pope's secretary on the phone Monday and saying "I see him with the eyes of my heart," according to the Vatican's semi-official newspaper.
Francis, according to a report Tuesday in L'Osservatore Romano, called John XXIII's former secretary at the late pope's summer home to personally thank the secretary for a letter he had sent to Francis suggesting an official celebration of the 50th anniversary this June of John's 1963 death.
It probably shouldn’t be a surprise that the election of the first-ever pope from Latin America is causing a mini-Catholic boom in his home country, but however predictable, signs of a “Francis effect” in Argentina seem almost ubiquitous.
Among other indications of ferment, local Catholics say there’s probably never been a better attended series of Holy Week celebrations in the history of Argentine Catholicism than what transpired in late March 2013.
Bulletins from the Human Side: The pope's decision to only temporarily reappoint the Vatican bureaucracy has already brought change.
With a name like Francis, it’s not hard for a pope to draw the attention of environmentalists.
It's even easier when the Francis in reference is Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and ecology.
For some, the namesake indicated Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio would place respect and protection for creation as a central tenant of his papacy, following the footsteps of his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
While the outside world forms general impressions of Pope Francis, insiders tend to see any new papacy through the prism of their own particular interests.
Liturgical traditionalists, for instance, have already voiced some reservations about Francis’ penchant for informality and setting aside the rules, while the church’s peace-and-justice constituency is almost giddy with enthusiasm.
On Saturday, another camp got its first glimpse of what Francis might mean for their concerns, and their early verdict seems mixed: Shroud of Turin devotees.
The pope called washing another's feet an important act that shows that "the person who is most high among us must be at the service of the others."
Analysis: If Pope Francis undertakes curial reform, the first question is not where might he begin, but how long does he have?
The bond Rabbi Abraham Skorka and then-Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio formed bridged the religions after some episodes of less-than-cordial relations in Argentina.
Commentary: Pope Francis has a solid foundation that could help him rebuild a church crumbling under clergy child abuse, disillusioned Catholics and a scandal-plagued bureaucracy.