Sede vacante?!

Cardinals enter the Sistine Chapel for the papal conclave. Photo: AFP

“The Pope retired.”–Not something you hear often, not in the last 600 years anyway. On February 28th, Pope Benedict XVI became the first to do so instead of dying in office. The unprecedented event makes history because of the rarity but the actually act of retiring should be understandable. He’s a man and this is a job. But what do I know? I’ve only been in a Baptist church all my little life and my pastor is still preaching.

On one very optimistic hand, it is incredibly humbling to see a man with so much power admit he doesn’t have the strength for his job anymore- and that’s fine. I think it’s great to see such an influential person and position in all of its humanity. Not having to see him fall from grace, ridden with scandal but bow out gracefully says a lot. Pope Benedict, I’m sure will continue to minister in other ways, mentor younger generations and send prayers up constantly on behalf of the next leadership.

The last few tweets from Pope Benedict

The last few tweets from Pope Benedict

Ironically, progressiveness and the Catholic Church has been a hot button issue for awhile now. Sure enough, Pope Benedict XVI took a huge baby step when he decided to join Twitter. Amazing. So maybe this huge decision to retire aligns perfectly with the Vatican’s future plans. This could just be another sign that the Catholic church is slowly but surely changing some of it’s traditional ways.

On March 19th, Pope Francis (the first Latin American Pope & first non-European) was officially inaugurated as the Catholic Church’s 266th pontiff. Many articles tell of his more down to earth disposition and humorous ways.

“There’s been no shortage of praise for Francis as a passionate preacher and pragmatic man who prefers public transportation to private cars. It goes to his reputation as an independent thinker.”- CNN

With the new Pope not only hailing from Argentina but also being the son of migrants, the dialogue for new progress in Latin America has already started. Even in choosing his name, Francis- a humble friar who’s legacy surrounded his dedication to the poor. Pope Francis is thought to appeal to more of the masses and predictions of him moving a tad bit away from the norm might just give the people what they’ve hoped for.

Catholic or not, religious or not -Religious leaders effect society in whole. So let us put all of these hands together and say a prayer for everyone in every leadership position everywhere. We are all going to need it.

Pope Francis at his inauguration Photo Credit: CNN

How do you guys feel about the new pope? What do you look forward to him changing?


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