After the whole Catholic Church was rocked by surprise with the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, it rejoiced soon after when Pope Francis I was elected on the second day of the conclave. The change of guard in the Catholic Church is expected to bring changes in the church that has been facing problems related to scandals involving priests. This is the very first in modern times when a previous Pope still lives while a new one has been elected.
It all started with the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI due to his failing health. The issue about his health has been known for quite some time and was somewhat expected considering his advanced age. The Vatican denies the question of external pressure, explaining that the Pope had the right as well as the duty to resign if he feels he can no longer perform the duties expected of him. He stepped down last February 28 to make way for the election of the new Pope.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected the 266th Pope of the roman Catholic Church on the second day of the Conclave. Taking the name of Pope Francis I, he comes with many firsts including being the first Jesuit Pope and the first Pope coming from the Southern Hemisphere. He was born in Argentina but is of Italian descent. It is to be noted that he was the closest competitor during Pope Benedict XVI’s election before he reportedly bowed out of the election.
The Two Popes
Pope Francis I is the official Pope of the Catholic Church while Pope Benedict XVI takes the title of Pope Emeritus. Although the latter will still be given all the honor befitting a Pope, he is expected to be away from the limelight to allow the current Pope to perform all his official functions accordingly. One of the first things that Pope Francis I did was to visit his predecessor. The meeting of the two Popes is considered a historical event. Both Popes continue to wear white.
The New Direction
Many are in the belief that Pope Francis I’s papacy will be more or less an extension of his predecessor’s especially with regards to the basic Catholic doctrines. However, there is reason to believe that the Catholic Church will be headed towards a new direction because of a sensed difference in approach that goes beyond papal vestments. At this time, the change of guard in the Catholic Church brings new hope to its followers.
Teresa is a researcher-writer who covers a wide range of topics in search of useful information.