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Francisco Javier Otaduy Guerín, Associate Dean of the School of Canon Law of the University of Navarra.

A new name


Thu, 14 Mar 2013 12:15:00 +0000 Published in Colpisa

One is the one who enters the conclave and the other the one who leaves. In this case, Jorge Mario entered and Francis left. What I want to say is that it is dangerous to speak of Francis based on Jorge Mario's references. One is the one who enters the Sistine Chapel and the other the one who goes out onto the balcony of St. Peter's. When the Pope looks out onto the balcony he realizes that his old name is over. I say this not only because of the magnitude of the commission. I say it also because he meets the Christian people who were waiting for him. They were waiting for him before they knew who he was going to be and what he was going to be called. Hundreds of thousands, millions of faithful (I am not just talking) who prayed for him without knowing him. To a large extent all that prayer must be like a new identity, I think. A different spiritual identity.

That is why I do not have much confidence in forecasts about a pontificate. We have just seen what happens with electoral forecasts. The parameters that seem to be the most objective fail in a pathetic way. Anyway, we have an obligation to say something, and for that we have some data that cannot be underestimated. The first is the name, Francisco. It takes courage to give yourself a name that no one has ever employee before. When a Pope chooses the name Francis, we can be sure that it is a name with intention. No one innovates without reason. At the beginning I thought, and I have said so to some media, that it was Francis of Assisi. Evangelical poverty. And above all strong spirituality, the counterpoint of all secularism. Later I was made to consider that no, that it is Francis Xavier, that we are before the first Pope of the Society of Jesus and that this appeal to the great missionary would be completely logical now that the Church is engaged in the new evangelization. It seems very reasonable to me.

The rest of Jorge Mario Bergoglio's story is interesting but seems to me less representative. He was ordained a priest with a certain amount of life experience, at the age of thirty-three. He has a vigorous and deep intellectual training in Philosophy and theology. His parents were Italian. In his first public appearance he made it clear, in very good Italian, that he is the Bishop of Rome, and greeted his diocesans. Of course, from now on he is also the principle of unity for the universal Church, but he is so precisely because he is the Bishop of Rome, because he sits where Peter sat. Tomorrow he will place the Roman See, as he has said, in the hands of Mary.