The New York Times, perhaps using the occasion of Lent to atone for its many sins, has a nice profile of Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas. Flores is one of the brightest members of the bench and has a personality that allows him to engage people of diverse viewpoints without being overbearing or boring, which is a nice thing to discover in a bishop.
A dear friend called yesterday and reminded me of something I had almost forgotten. “So, based on these early days,” my friend said, “I am thinking you were a bit closer to the mind of the cardinals than George Weigel.” The reference was to the essays, published in the Wall Street Journal, by Mr. Weigel and myself, among others, in which we were asked to complete the sentence: “The new pope should be….” Mr. Weigel wrote that the new pope should be a culture warrior.
Politico has a story about Sarah Palin today with the captivating headline: "Sarah Palin's next act: Candidate or 'Kardashian"? The problem with the headline is obvious. In her first act, Palin was both a candidate and an honorary member of the Kardashian clan. Why would it be different the second time round? Does anyone think she has read a book in the past four years?
At National Review, George Weigel gives his take on both the conclave and the man who emerged as pope from that conclave. I will only offer a prediction: Within about a year, Weigel and his neo-con cohort will be expressing "palpable unease" at the new pope's actions. You heard it hear first.
In this morning's Washington Post, Eugene Robinson discusses Pope Francis' involvement with the Argentine junta, the crimes of which were legion. Robinson quotes a human rights activist to the effect that then-Father Bergoglio did not rise to the occasion and confront the junta. He cites another book that makes a similar claim. Robinson finishes by asking Francis to atone.
The speculation in advance of the conclave betrayed a myopia that sometimes afflicts journalists, myself included. From the brief and fragmentary comments that came from the cardinals during their pre-conclave meetings, we all deduced that the cardinals were looking for a strong manager to reform the curia, and that they wanted someone who could carry on the New Evangelization with vigor and attractiveness, and that they wanted someone younger, and that…..We forgot the most important thing. They wanted a man of God.
JewishJournal.com reports on the welcome of Pope Francis coming from various Jewish groups.
Here is an article from Traces that includes some beautiful reflections by then-Cardinal Bergoglio in 2001, in which he talks about Don Luigi Guissani's book "The Religious Sense." (h/t to Santiago Ramos for sending it along.)
The hard core Trads are not happy. Check out some of these comments at the blog Traditio.
Here is the text of a beautiful sermon delivered by then-Cardinal Bergoglio. These are the words of a man of deep faith, accessible yet profound, and obviously quite capable of an abiding friendship. (h/t to Tim Hermann for sending it my way.)