I said in a previous post that I didn't hold out much hope that the new Pope would be much different than the old. The choice of Pope was rather a surprise, and on the surface, at least, looks quite different from the previous Pope. He appears to be a "people person" and far more pastoral than B16. He is much more comfortable with people and has certainly already struck a different note - but then he is not an academic, nor is he from the Curia.
However, just like JP2, looks can be deceiving. It seems that he is a conservative in his theology. His concern for the poor is genuine in both words and deeds, but he is no liberation theologian (not that I am a fan of liberation theology - will do a post on that someday). He appears to be no friend to the LGBT community, no friend to the birth control movement - at least at this point. One of the first ominous signs is that he has appointed B16's 2nd in command as his 2nd in command. B16 is still around - the "shadow Pope" as they are calling him. No one knows how he felt about Vatican 2, for example.
Catholics want to see his election as a "breath of fresh air" or a "new spring". Hans Küng's interview with Michael Enright this morning was telling. I can't create a link to last week's interview with Küng because cbc.ca is having technical difficulties, but it is worth listening to as well.
A telling sign is listening to the media and the commentaries from Catholic priests and laypersons alike. It is almost as if the "Holy Spirrt spin doctor" has been working overtime. The Church is more than the child sexual abuse scandal - it is only 10% or so of the priests who are "bad" - the faithful make up the church (have I mentioned how Protestant the slogan that "the Church is the people of God" is?). Sure there are some bad apples in the priesthood and the Curia - nobody seems to remember the whole of that little saying: THE ROTTEN APPLE SPOILS THE BARREL.
I wish him luck. May his god advise him that there is more to worry about than the poor. The victims of sexual abuse still cry out. Zero tolerance is the cry of the angry; the cry of the wounded is for release and understanding and, for many, a way back into belief.
The universe unfolds as it will.
Time will tell and I'm sure that I will be writing more as the months go by.