It’s often said that the unchanging God is also a God of surprises. Somehow the Church which appears on the one hand to be so predictable can also give us a great surprise. Cardinal Bergoglio certainly was not the most talked about papal candidate but now he will be known for ever as Pope Francis.
The choice of the name is both beautiful and significant. Francis of Assisi is a character universally loved and admired. He is also a model for the rebuilding and renewal of the Church, as Pope Innocent III saw in the thirteenth century: "Go, Francis, and rebuild my Church which as you can see is falling down." A later Francis was also one of the Church’s greatest missionaries and a model for the Church’s more energetic promotion of Jesus Christ, and His gospel of truth and conversion in the modern world.
This will be a papacy of great promise and expectation. All Catholics and people of good will will pray for the 266th Pope. He holds an office in today’s fast changing world unparalleled in both longevity and influence.