First Argentine pope elected

Time for this music video yet again: Bafflin’ Smoke Signals – Lee “Scratch” Perry.

According to the Wikipedia article on the new pope elected today, Jorge Bergoglio is known for “doctrinal conservatism and a commitment to social justice.” So, he can go either way: either an improvement compared to his predecessor Ratzinger, or continuation of Pope Benedict’s disastrous policies.

Wikipedia also writes:

On 15 April 2005, a human rights lawyer filed a criminal complaint against Bergoglio, as superior in the Society of Jesus of Argentina, accusing him of involvement in the kidnapping by the Navy in May 1976 (during the military dictatorship) of two Jesuit priests. The priests, Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics, were found alive five months later, drugged and seminude. The complaint did not specify the nature of Bergoglio’s alleged involvement, and Bergoglio’s spokesman flatly denied the allegations.

Either Bergoglio’s denial of involvement in this crime is true; or it is not true. Also here: too early to know definitely which way the new pope will go.

This is the only thing which Wikipedia writes on Bergoglio during the days of the bloody dictatorship in Argentina. Did he oppose it, like the kidnapped priests Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics? Or did he support the military tyranny, like quite some Argentine clergymen? I don’t know.

Yet another side of the new pope points in two opposite directions. He is the first pope of the name Francis. The Franciscan tradition within the Roman Catholic church on the one hand has a tradition of more compassion for poor people and animals than the hard-line Right wing. On the other hand, during Hitler’s occupation of Croatia, a Franciscan friar, nicknamed “Father Devil”, was a nazi concentration camp commander. Like some other Roman Catholic clergy, some Franciscans are involved in child sexual abuse scandals.

The new pope is also the first Jesuit pope. Sometimes in their long history, Jesuits have been comparatively progressive compared to other Roman Catholic clergy. However, they also had links to inquisition persecution in the sixteenth century. And in the twenty-first century, this order is also not without involvement in sexual abuse scandals.

Which way for the new papacy? I don’t know yet.

From Associated Press:

Argentine cardinal now known as Pope Francis I

March 13, 2013 6:08AM

VATICAN CITY — Argentine Jorge Bergoglio has been elected pope, the first ever from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. He chose the name Pope Francis.

A stunned-looking Bergoglio shyly waved to the crowd of tens of thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter’s Square, marveling that the cardinals had had to look to “the end of the earth” to find a bishop of Rome.

He asked for prayers for himself, and for retired Pope Benedict XVI, whose stunning resignation paved the way for the tumultuous conclave that brought the first Jesuit to the papacy.

After announcing “Habemus Papum” — “We have a pope!” — a cardinal standing on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica on Wednesday revealed the identity of the new pontiff, using his Latin name. Bergoglio had reportedly finished second in the 2005 conclave that produced Benedict XVI — who last month became the first pope to resign in 600 years.

The 76-year-old archbishop of Buenos Aires has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.

Bergoglio, was born Dec. 17, 1936, to Italian immigrants in Buenos Aries. Besides his native Spanish, he also speaks Italian and German.

He was ordained as a Jesuit in 1969.

Elected on the fifth ballot, he was chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years, remarkable given there was no clear front-runner going into the vote and that the church had been in turmoil following the upheaval unleashed by Pope Benedict XVI’s surprise resignation.

A winner must receive 77 votes, or two-thirds of the 115, to be named pope. …

The conclave played out against the backdrop of the first papal resignation in 600 years and revelations of mismanagement, petty bickering, infighting and corruption in the Holy See bureaucracy. Those revelations, exposed by the leaks of papal documents last year, had divided the College of Cardinals into camps seeking a radical reform of the Holy See’s governance and those defending the status quo.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi said it was a “good hypothesis” that the pope would be installed next Tuesday, on the feast of St. Joseph, patron saint of the universal church. The installation Mass is attended by heads of state from around the world, requiring at least a few days’ notice.

Benedict would not attend, he said. …

Despite the great plumes of smoke that poured out of the chimney, neither the Sistine frescoes nor the cardinals inside the chapel suffered any smoke damage, Lombardi said.

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