The selection of a new Pope is certainly one of the world’s most tradition-laden, ritualized ceremonies, rich with symbolism and meaning. For many well documented reasons, Wednesday’s election of Pope Francis has layers of symbolic importance that may take months to sort through. From his native land to his chosen name, the choice of Pope Francis seems both indisputably message-laden and somewhat mysterious.
What also is beyond dispute is the potential impact on not just the Roman Catholic Church, but the world, which is now in the grasp of the former Cardinal from Argentina. We’re not sure the world is better off with a strong and healthy Catholic Church, but we know it is worse off with a church burdened by scandal and international irrelevance.
There are of course issues within the church that the new Pope must deal with first. But its role in a changing world also awaits. We joined the world in heartfelt hope Pope Francis is up to the task.