|Times have changed since the last Papal Inauguration|
|Pope Benedict XVI as a Hitler Youth|
Joseph Ratzinger had a successful career in the Vatican prior to becoming pope. By 1981 he was named prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Pope John Paul II. Ratzinger and the pope shared similar conservative viewpoints and grew close over the next twenty years. His right-hand man status along with his conservative views gave many the impression that Ratzinger was an enforcer of sorts, and earned him the nickname “God’s Rottweiler”. Despite requesting permission to resign on two occasions, he was appointed Dean of the College of Cardinals. Ratzinger’s promotion made him the Vatican’s foremost cardinal and the second most powerful man in the Roman Catholic Church. In retrospect it could be argued that Pope John Paul II was grooming Ratzinger to be his successor to the papacy.
|White smoke signifying the selection of a new pope|
Pope Benedict XVI’s conservative views did not stop him from being the first pope to resign in almost six hundred years. Many believe his unprecedented decision against Vatican convention will have far reaching consequences. Susannah Cullinane of CNN states “modern popes have felt that resignation is unacceptable and could encourage factions within the church to pressure pontiffs to step down.” The papacy is supposed to render its avatar infallible and the Vatican does not want groups with ulterior motives controlling them. The Church also fears schisms created from members choosing to follow the Emeritus Pope instead of the current pope. However, this could also be a modernizing step for the role of pontiff. Most current positions of world leadership view resignation as a common occurrence. Whether it be president, prime minister, or some other government position most people can recall at least one instance of resignation in their lifetime. This would be helpful in the case of a pope who is physically unable to carry out his duties, because it would insure there is always a capable pope. On the other hand, this resignation could just be a one-off and have minimal lasting effects. Either way it will most likely be a long while until anyone knows.
|Saint Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus|
The next logical question is one of whether or not Pope Francis has the audacity to carry out reforms to match the ideals of the Society of Jesus. To answer this question one must look no further than his recent decisions. While he was a cardinal he supported civil unions in Argentina, although he was opposed to gay marriage and their adopting of children. He also publicly denounced priests refusing to baptize children born out of wedlock, and even washed the feet of hospital patients with AIDS. At his election as pope he refused to sit in the ceremonial throne and instead stood at the same level as his cardinals. Pope Francis still wears the black shoes (previous popes have traditionally worn showy red leather shoes) he wore before being elected and forwent the red ermine cape worn by Pope Benedict XVI. He has also been known as a man of simplicity. While in Buenos Aires he lived in a one-room apartment, cooked all his meals for himself, and took the bus to and from work daily. Pope Francis was even revolutionary in choosing his name. He is the first to name himself Francis, which is especially surprising in a profession where there have been twenty-two Pope Johns and sixteen Pope Gregorys. Pope Francis chose his name out of respect for St. Francis, a monk known for his service of the poor, love of nature, and choice to live among the beggars at Saint Peter’s Basilica. It is obvious that Pope Francis has more than enough courage to stand up for his convictions.
|Pope Francis rode the bus daily as a cardinal|
Reese, Thomas J., and Kenneth E. Untener. "What Now?" America 3 Apr. 2013: 16-21. EBSCOhost. Web. 4 Apr. 2013.
Russell, Ruby, Janelle Dumalaon, and Sumi Somaskanda. "From a Humble Start Benedict Made Mark." USA Today 2 Dec. 2013: n. pag. EBSCOhost. Web. 4 Apr. 2013.
Weigel, George. "THE REAL BENEDICT." Newsweek 2 May 2005: 48-49. EBSCOhost. Web. 4 Apr. 2013.
Wilson, A. N. "The Real Ratzinger." Newsweek 15 Feb. 2013: 1. EBSCOhost. Web. 4 Apr. 2013.
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