In the News 2013

New Pope 2013: How Ready Enough is Pope Francis for the Job?

It is now early morning in Vatican City and a few hours after Pope Francis revealed himself as the newly proclaimed spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic church. Since he can no longer go back to his homeland Argentina by virtue of his acceptance of his new post, followers of the faith along with the cynics, doomsday sayers and kibitzers are all eyes as to what could be his first order of business for the day.

Will he order for a massive reform shake-up within the spiritual institution that he represents? But more so, just how ready enough is he for the job?

“We do not expect very many changes, but sincerely hope that the culture will change to better reflect the needs of the church and of Catholics,” Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, said in a statement shortly after the Vatican City ushered Pope Francis at the balcony to show him to the world.

“As Cardinal Bergoglio, he was outspoken against the recent liberalization of Argentinian laws on abortion, stating flatly that ‘abortion is never a solution.’ But this is no surprise, as he and his fellow electors were all appointed by his two conservative predecessors, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II.”

Apart from the loosening spiritual foundation of the Roman Catholic church, there is also the allegations of corruption within its very own pillars that the new pope needs to attend to and address, if not totally extinguish.

But Sergio Bergman, a Buenos Aires rabbi, believed Pope Francis, first pope from the order of the Jesuits, has been honed to tackle head on with the job.

For one, he has 10 solid years of proof to his credentials of actively slugging it out with political leaders of Argentina over issues that he believed run contrary to the teachings of the Catholic church.

“You have to choose a pope that accepts challenges, and he managed to resist gratuitous attacks for 10 years,” Mr Bergman told Bloomberg. “I think it factored into his selection.” Mr Bergman has worked with the former Argentinean cardinal for already 20 years.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) await with eagle eyes the movements of the new pope.

“St. Francis was the greatest reformer in the history of the church, Pope Francis must do the same,” SNAP said in a statement.

Although a relative conservative, Pope Francis champions the plight of those affected by social injustices.

“His stance on social justice is really progressive and he has been a champion of social justice in Latin America,” Chester Gillis, a professor of theology at a Jesuit school in Washington told Bloomberg.

With his chosen papal name, it is believed that his tenure will have a great devotion to justice, peace and to the poor.

“Pope Francis will preach that we need to promote access to food, water, education, employment and health care for every person, without discrimination… This pope will stand up for the rights of poor people, migrants and workers,” Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, a religious organisation that works on financial reforms to aid the poor, said in AsiaOne.

“You have to have character, you have to have courage, you have to have patience and at the same time be moderate,” Mr Bergman said. “He has all that and showed it.”

This piece was originally published by the International Business Times.

Catholics for Choice