Election of Francis I Means Rome Wants Reform – But What Kind?

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Early indications are that Pope Francis I is someone who appeals to a wide audience.  That’s not to say he’s a moderate, just that he can appeal to that broad middle ground.

The National Catholic Reporter put together biographies of the candidates for Pope – in the days running up to the conclave.  The whole biography can be found here.  However, they buried the most important paragraph at the very bottom of the story:

(remembering that Bergoglio was runner-up to Ratzinger in 2005) Whether Bergoglio catches fire again as a candidate remains to be seen; one Italian writer quoted an anonymous cardinal on March 2 as saying, “Four years of Bergoglio would be enough to change things.” Given his profile, however, Bergoglio seems destined to plan an important role in this conclave – if not as king, then as a kingmaker.

If “four years of Bergoglio would be enough to change things” was a feeling on March 2nd – and mix in the fact that his election was über-quick – I’d say that we can expect sweeping changes that appeal to the broadest swaths of Catholics across the globe.  Not to mention that the gathered Cardinals quickly gathered support behind someone who showed that kind of promise.

The good news is that the church can be hopeful that issues of Vatican corruption, child rape and care for the poor will probably be addressed.  For those looking for movement on issues like ordaining women, contraception and LGBTQ concerns, you will have to continue to wait.

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