WASHINGTON, D.C. – Speaker of the House John Boehner has tasked Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and leader on many international human rights efforts, to lead the bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation to attend the investiture of former Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis.
“It is an honor to lead this bipartisan group of House members to this international event,” said Smith, who chairs the House Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations Subcommittee. “The world is a challenging place, in terms of wars and peace, basic human rights and freedoms. The Holy Father has a major role to play in global affairs. I wish him well as he begins his pontificate and am honored to be a part of this historic occasion. The Pope is more than a spiritual leader for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, he is an inspiration of holiness and goodness, and above all, the faithful proclamation of the Gospel.”
There’s little doubt that the newly-elected Pope Francis I is a conservative like the rest of the College of Cardinals of which he is now an alumnus, Save Jerseyans.
The man who used to be called Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is also known a “compassionate conservative” and a straight-shooter. I thought this block quote from the former cardinal in today’s Washington Times, purportedly from a speech delivered back in his home archdiocese of Buenos Aires, was very revealing:
In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don’t baptize the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage,” Bergoglio told his priests. “These are today’s hypocrites. Those who clericalize the Church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it’s baptized!”
Bergoglio compared this concept of Catholicism, “this Church of ‘come inside so we make decisions and announcements between ourselves and those who don’t come in, don’t belong,” to the Pharisees of Christ’s time — people who congratulate themselves while condemning all others.
Hmm. The Church now has a man who, at first blush, seems to have the ability to articulate, in clear language, fundamental Christian principles without coming across as mean or divisive. If he succeeds in turning the Church around, perhaps he can teach the CPAC crowd a thing or two about outreach?
Moments ago, a dramatic scene unfolded inside the Vatican’s walls as cardinals processed, two-by-two, into the famous Sistine Chapel as a full choir sang the “Litany of the Saints.” The conclave’s singular goal? Keep voting until the Roman Catholic Church has a new Supreme Pontiff.
I’m a Catholic so I’ve always been fascinated by this stuff, Save Jerseyans. A plurality of New Jerseyans are Catholic. In fact, the Garden State is one of the most Catholic states in America, with approximately 37,000 Catholics per 100,000 state residents according to the 2010 census and a growing bench of Catholic public officials.
Click here (or on the image to your right) to visit the official Vatican Radio website for more audio/video coverage of the conclave. Just don’t expect another peek inside the Sistine Chapel until after white smoke appears and the bells ring out… and keep your fingers crossed for Timothy Dolan!
Vatican video of the procession into the conclave, oath of secrecy and other rituals straight up until “extra omnes!” is below the fold…
As the Catholic Church patiently awaits the appointment of its new pope, Save Jerseyans, followers wonder what type of leader they can expect in the near future.
Will he be staunchly opposed to expanding the rights of women in the church? Or will he be more liberal, and champion more lenient views on sexuality and contraception?
Traditionalist groups favor a strict governing of the church. They would prefer that the Catholic faith has fewer followers that adhere to the “letter of the law,” as opposed to a larger population that favors reform and relaxed church policies.
However, there are groups within the church that feel like the institution would become stronger and more revitalized if some of the previous laws were more relaxed, to attract new members and entice other members to return after previously leaving due to conflicting views.
The new pope, although he is not expected to “upset the apple cart” so to speak, has the power to make fundamental changes to the church and to inspire followers of the faith to subscribe to his beliefs. But is this the “right” direction to take? Or should the church continue to adhere to past encyclicals?
Although on somewhat of a different scale, we have similar opinions within the ranks of the Republican Party.
Here’s the full text of Benedict’s statement released through the Vatican earlier this morning:
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. [Contd...]