This past week, the Cardinal Conclave elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina to be the 266th Pope. He then took the name Francis (after Saint Francis of Assisi). He is the first Pope not from Europe since Pope Gregory III. He is also the first Pope from the Americas, not to mention the Southern Hemisphere. In addition, he is the first Jesuit to be elected Pope.
Since Pope Francis has been head of the Roman Catholic Church for only a few days, it is unclear what his papacy will be like. Some of the issues he has addressed include providing for the poor and being opposed to same-sex marriages. He also appears to be the political opposite of Argentina President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (herself a leftist).
Meanwhile, the Obama Adminstration will be sending Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi (both of whom are Catholic) to attend the Pope’s inaugural mass. I am sure both of them will be meeting with the Pope to discuss certain matters (e.g. abortion, same-sex marriages, Obamacare, gun control). I would not be surprised if they try to strong arm him on these issues. After all, Pelosi met with Pope Benedict XVI back in 2009. During the meeting, Benedict XVI told her that Catholics must be opposed to abortion. But for Pelosi, it was just an opportunity to actually meet the Pope, rather than listen to what he had to say. Then she issued a statement saying she praised him for helping combat poverty, hunger, and global warming, as well as being committed to religious freedom.
It is unclear if she actually said that to the Pope, especially since the meeting was only fifteen minutes — who knows? But she made no mention of abortion in her statement afterwards.
There is no telling what Biden and Pelosi plan to discuss with Pope Francis (if they meet with him at all). Aside from the topics previously mentioned, they could bring up matters such as the Catholic Church sex abuse scandals, organized crime, etc. in order to get the Vatican to support Obama’s agenda.
I’m surprised John Kerry was not part of the delegation, since he is also Catholic.
Meanwhile, will Biden and Pelosi try to receive Communion, despite being pro-abortion (in which they cannot receive Communion until they have been to confession and repented for supporting abortion)? I presume the Vatican is aware of their views on abortion, and will act accordingly on the issue (at least that is what I am hoping will happen).
Image: Papa Francisco; author: Tenan; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license