The man who almost became Pope during the conclave of 2005 is Pope today. What are we to make of the new Pope? In the journalistic arena from which this is being dispatched, one feels the pressure to say something definite almost immediately or risk dying the death of being ignored amidst a welter of “first impressions.” But this writer is going to let the story evolve.
It is said that as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, the former Cardinal Bergoglio was hostile to the traditional Latin Mass, but it is far too soon to make any prognostications in that regard. And now that he is pastor of the universal Church, in which the Latin Mass is returning to use on every continent, it is difficult to see him implementing any such merely parochial prejudice contrary to the letter and spirit of Summorum Pontificum and the liturgical restoration it has already launched. Indeed, as we learned today at the Vatican press conference, the first papal Mass, this evening in the Sistine Chapel, will be in Latin, even if it will not follow the 1962 Missal.
As further revealed at the Vatican press conference, after he prayed before the famous icon of Mary under the title Salus Populi Romani (Protectress of the Roman People) at the Basilica of Saint Mary Major early this morning, Pope Francis made it a point to pray as well before the tomb of Saint Pius V, who canonized the traditional Mass in perpetuity with his Bull Quo Primum. As one Italian traditionalist blog site observed of this gesture:
The conciliatory gesture escaped no one, seeing the terror that was wrongly spread among traditionalists and that some of their expressions of opinion have emphasized. Of Ratzinger it was said that he was a Rottweiler of the Catholic Faith, but instead he was a very sweet German pastor. Of Bergoglio they now say he is a South American revolutionary, and instead is seen a Pope in the line of his predecessors, who salutes the Pontiff of the Missal rehabilitated by Benedict XVI.
What is more, it has been brought to my attention by the Fatima Center research department that Archbishop Bergoglio established a Latin Mass chapel within 48 hours of the issuance of Summorum Pontificum and that there are a number of diocesan-approved Latin Mass sites in Argentina. (The source for that information is found here.)
This much we know with surety from what we have seen thus far: that the new Pope is a humble man with evident Marian devotion. His first devotional act as Pope was to brush aside all concerns about security in order to pay a visit to the largest Marian church in Rome, bringing Our Lady a bouquet of flowers and leaving it before the icon of Mary as Protectress of the Roman People.
The most important question now before us respecting the new Pope is this: Will he perform the Consecration of Russia to Mary's Immaculate Heart? For this we must pray, wait, and hope with renewed determination.
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