A thoughtful non-Catholic friend, Mei Li, in largely Muslim Malaysia, wondered aloud in a Facebook chat after the election of Pope Francis: “How many people get to start anew like this? A new name, a new life, a new kingdom here on earth. He could be what keeps thousands, maybe millions of people from getting AIDS. Even if my vote does not count, so to speak, I have to care what he teaches.”
Yes, believers or not, we all have to care. The skeptics were right. Picking a Pope from the ranks of the nuns was expecting the current crop of cardinals to cast their net further than they could. But Pope Francis may yet prove to be a fisherman who casts a different kind of net.
Countries of the South, where Catholics still fill the churches, rejoice at the selection of a Pope with whom they might claim a closer kinship. It is unclear whether he can ensure the success of a soccer team, or even whether his election proves that God is an Argentine. But the fact that even the weary are tuning in is a good sign. Continue reading “Pope Francis: A Fisherman for Our Times? by Dawn Morais Webster”