Thursday, March 14, 2013


OF ARGENTINA IS NAMED NEW POPE Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected in a surprise choice to be the new leader of the troubled Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday, taking the name Francis I and becoming the first non-European pontiff in nearly 1,300 years. Pope Francis began his first morning as leader of the Catholic world by hopping in a simple Vatican car and heading to St. Mary Major church, a Roman basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary. He knelt before an icon of the Madonna, and left flowers at the altar where St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, celebrated his first Mass 600 years ago. 
After the visit, Francis stopped by a Vatican-owned residence in downtown Rome to pick up the luggage he left behind before moving into the Vatican hotel for the conclave. He asked to pay the bill. It was a remarkable show of simplicity and humility for a man who could easily have dispatched someone to do the job for him.

He had displayed that same sensibility immediately after his election, shunning the special sedan so he could ride the bus back to the hotel with other cardinals, and refusing even an elevated platform from which he would greet them, according to Timothy Cardinal Dolan. “He met with us on our own level,” Dolan said. After the meeting, he joked with the cardinals, asking God to forgive them for electing him. In another symbol of his style, Francis has decided to wear his pastoral cross, the same cross he wore as bishop, in keeping with his humility. Bergoglio’s decision to call himself Francis after St. Francis of Assisi was a metaphor for unity. 
The 76-year-old Bergoglio, said to have finished second when Pope Benedict XVI was elected in 2005, was chosen on just the fifth ballot to replace the first pontiff to resign in 600 years. The visit to St. Mary was intentional. Like many Latin American Catholics, Francis has a particular devotion to the Virgin Mary.

Yesterday, Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected in a surprise choice to be the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church, and said he would take the name Francis. He is the first Latin American as well as the first Jesuit to become pope and is known for his work with the poor in Buenos Aires’ slums. As the 266th pope, Francis inherits a Catholic church in turmoil, beset by the clerical sex abuse scandal, internal divisions and dwindling numbers in parts of the world where Christianity had been strong for centuries. Known as a compassionate Argentine archbishop who focused on the poor, Pope Francis, exhibiting simplicity and humility, has chosen his name that reminds of Saint Francis of Assisi who was a symbol of bhakti in the Christian tradition.


Q. I am an initiated devotee of Krsna who finds inspiration in the lives and teachings of Christian saints, such as St. Francis of Assisi and St. Theresa of Avila. Is it okay for initiated devotees to seek inspiration in other religious traditions?
A. There is no harm in taking inspiration from other traditions. When we see good qualities, intensity of practice, and dedication in other traditions, we should be inspired by such examples to apply ourselves that much more within our own tradition. Our sadhana may differ from those of other spiritual traditions, but wherever and to the extent that we see the fruit of our sadhana appearing in others, regardless of their tradition, we bow our heads. Having said that, it is important to note that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu teaches that the gopis are the best example of devotion.

Śrīla Bhakti Vedanta Tripurari Mahārāja :
"Where Real Life Begins"
Sri Caitanya Sanga
June 9, 2006, Vol. VIII, No. 6  -

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

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