Pope Francis: Our New Shepherd

Fr. EndresWhat’s with Pope Francis, anyway? Not only faithful Catholics but really the whole world wants to know whether the new leader of “Holy Mother Church” is on their side. His popularity rating is sky high. His image glosses the covers of incredibly popular U.S. magazines–magazines that have not exactly been known for portraying Catholicism in a positive light. Is he one of us or not? Fr. David Endres, Assistant Professor of Church History and Historical Theology at the Athenaeum of Ohio, addressed such questions and provided his own thoughtful analysis of Francis’ pontificate at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Cincinnati, OH on February 10 of this year. Here below is the text of his talk.

Pope Francis: Our New Shepherd
Rev. David J. Endres

Introduction: A Pope of “Firsts”

It’s been quite a year. Pope Francis – the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio – was elected to the papacy on March 13 of last year. The new pope made headlines immediately – the first pope from the Americas and from the Southern hemisphere (hailing from Argentina); the first Jesuit pope – a religious order that traditionally shunned appointments as bishop, let alone to the papacy.

The new pope chose not to reside in the papal palace, instead taking up residence in the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse (where the cardinals lodge during the papal conclave). He has opted at times not to be chauffeured around Rome, but prefers to drive himself around in a 186,000 miles-worn 1984 Renault.

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