Pope Francis emerges from the Vatican balcony onto the global stage. Live blogging a new Pope.

Here I am sitting, waiting to see who will emerge from the Vatican balcony. I really haven’t been out of bed for too long. I “slept in.” That translates to my arising just before 8 a.m. and making calls for 30 minutes trying to find someone to whom I might report my sick leave for the day. Upon completing that one task, I promptly hit the bed once more. Sleep is vastly underrated.

During the middle of the night I slipped on something by the stove and did a split, just catching myself on the counter which prevented a fall. As a result though I am kind of sore today but otherwise all right. So I didn’t play hooky to see if a Pope would be chosen. Cheese Louise! I don’t think I have ever called in sick for some televised event though I can admit to having announced my sickness for a day for reasons of much less import. Some folks don’t play hooky. I do. It’s good for you. Not habitually mind you. But I think it was Ann Landers or perhaps her sister, Dear Abby who advocated taking a sick day. Hey, people get sick of work.

I am not Catholic …  Wait, someone is peeking out the curtain of the Vatican balcony. It doesn’t matter to me, in a spiritual sense, who is chosen Pope.

But to some of the nearly 1 billion Roman Catholics worldwide it does matter who steps out on that balcony. And whether you want to believe it or not, our world is not of a one-world government but rather an interconnected community. There are perhaps two handfuls of people whose ascendancy to a position of leadership has significant global effects. the president of the U.S. is one, the leader of the Russian Federation is another. China, India and a few other world leaders of other significant countries are also among the governing “elite.” And then there is the Pope, the leader of the teeny, tiny nation, The State of Vatican City.

Oh, here it is now.  To paraphrase the late great Pigmeat Markham, “Here comes the Pope, Here Comes the Pope … ”

The name announced: Cardinal Mario Bergoglio, from Argentina, born Dec. 17, 1936, Pope Francis. The first Catholic leader from the American hemisphere.

“Brothers and Sisters, good evening,” said the now former Archbishop of Buenos Aires. “You know that the charge of the conclave was to give a bishop of Rome. “It would seem that my brothers went to the end of the world to choose him,”


I am watching NBC coverage. All major networks are covering it. He is the first Jesuit priest to become Pope, from what we gather from that coverage. Gazing at his entry in Wikipedia, Pope Francisco, had his share of controversy. He was accused of conspiring with the brutal dictatorship, which took over Argentina in 1976, of the kidnapping of two Jesuit priests. No evidence was ever found to prove the allegations. This was also during the era of the so-called “Dirty War” in which 20,000 people were killed or “disappeared.”Bergoglio also was likewise stung by criticism of failing to stand up to the state-sanctioned brutality.

Argentina is 77 percent Catholic, according to NBC’s Brian Williams, although the CIA World Factbook stated the country is 92 percent “nominally” Catholic. Wikipedia says 89 percent of the Argentine population is Catholic. So, there’s no telling I suppose. The nation’s ties with the church go all the way back to the South American country’s beginning. The first Argentine constitution of 1853 allowed religious freedom and offered state financial funding to the church. That document also started a state patronage system for religious authorities which was only changed in the mid-1960s.

Bergoglio is seen by church observers as being very conservative on issues which include abortion, gay marriage and birth control. He has stood at odds with current Argentinian leadership on some of those matters. The stance of Pope Francis on just those three issues will say a lot about the future relationship between the world’s Roman Catholics and the rest of the globe. He is also known for his compassion. What will that say about his leadership in the future?

On a personal note, I find the history of the church and of its leaders fascinating on certain levels. I am not Roman Catholic. My background is Southern Baptist, some of whose members aren’t the biggest fans of papacy from the start. Millions of people both nationally and worldwide have followed this story and will continue to devour this story. I enjoy writing about large stories and applying my thinking into these events. I still like to learn.

That is it! Time to edit. I hope to write about a different topic next time. Happy Pope Francis Day.

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.