His Holiness Pope Francis - viva il Papa!
I have just got back home and onto my computer, so apoloies for not being as quick in posting as some others in the Catholic blogosphere. I called in on my Dad on the way home from work, arriving at about 7.15 this evening, and was told the news (apparently Dad was just about to 'phone me on my mobile to tell me). I have to admit that my first thought was 'WHO??' I have now had the chance to briefly find out a little about our new Holy Father, and like what I have read so far. There is a very good overview on the Canterbury Tales blog, and Fr. Tim seems to be blogging information about the new Pontiff at a rate of knots. I see that Mulier Fortis, Bara Brith, Defende Nos and Bones have all also been quick in wishing His Holiness well, as, of course do I.
It would appear that Pope Francis is a humble man, orthodox in his faith, and willing to speak out in defence of the moral teaching of the Church - all good signs.
When reflecting on potential papal names and the sort of pontificates with which they are associated, I have often thought that Francis would be a very good one, presumably looking towards the inspiration of St. Francis of Assisi, a saint of great humbleness, but also a passionate defender of the Faith, known for his great love of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother. Franciscan spirituality has played a significant part in my own life, and so I would welcome a pontificate that looks to this charism for its inspiration.
The fact that this was an unexpected election, made fairly quickly would suggest that the Holy Spirit has been very active over the last day.
I cannot help but also wonder about those who speculated at this, and the previous, conclave that we might have a Pope from Latin America - I suspect this was not quite the sort of person they had in mind.
Let us pray for our new Holy Father, and, as he requested in his first words to the faithful, with him, and let us give thanks to God.
Solemn 'Te Deum' by the Monks of Solesmes