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Pope Francis: What's in a name? Papal monkier is a powerful hint

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 13th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has assumed the title of Pope Francis. The choice of the name Francis says much about the man and what he might regard as his mission.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Adopting a name inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, has hinted strongly at who he will emulate during his tenure.

Saint Francis is legendary within the Church for his aestheticism and piety. Francis was born into a wealthy and privileged household, but abandoned his comfortable life to follow a difficult and disciplined life as a monk.

Saint Francis often slept in the open and his followers were asked to do the same, living and working amongst the poor.

The man who is now Pope Francis grew up poor himself, the son of an Italian immigrant to Argentina.

In his preaching, Francis has called for a renewal of commitment to the poor. He has also spoken out against sinful living, including homosexuality, and has called for compassion towards victims of HIV and AIDS. He has previously made a public statement by washing the feet of AIDS patients.

Francis is also a new name for a pope. Often, a new pope will take the name of a former Holy Father which he may seek to emulate. In this case, by taking an entirely new name, Pope Francis may be signaling a new direction for the Church.

A new direction has been called for by the public, weary of scandals tied to pedophile priests and clergy who lived immoral lifestyles, such as the former Cardinal O'Brien of England. Also weighing heavily on the minds of many have been the financial scandals which rocked the Vatican over the past few years.

Let us hope and pray that Pope Francis inspires as much positive change and reform as his saintly inspiration.

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