Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Papal resignation and conclave - 14

Today's photos:

 

Since I wasn't able to get a good picture of the white smoke, this is what the second morning ballot produced.

 

Television media from around the world were positioned above Bernini's magnificent colonnade.

 

It was almost worth standing in the cold and rain for three hours just to see this magnificent sight.

 

Pope Francis. (He really shouldn't be called Francis I until another Francis comes along).

 

 

Papal resignation and conclave - 14

 

Well, friends, this papal election has once again demonstrated who is calling the shots in these conclaves, and it's not the media. A simple, humble and holy man has been elected pope, and I'm convinced that he was the right choice. I think Pope Francis  might be just what the Church needs. No one paid much attention to him in the pre-conclave period, but remember, this is the man who almost became pope in 2005, so he was certainly not an unknown to the cardinals.

 

I just returned home at 9:00 p.m. after I finally managed to get out of St. Peter's Square. Busses were impossible to find or too full to squeeze into, so I walked home to Trastevere, sharing the streets along the way with thousands of other people. I had said that I would be in the Square for all the votes, but I didn't quite make it since I missed the first one. However, I spent the better part of the day and evening there today.

 

I was present when Benedict XVI was elected in 2005. I remember it being crowded then, yes, but nothing like tonight. It was much more crowded than last time, and of course the rain didn't help much, either. Almost miraculously, what had been a steady rain all day long stopped moments after the white smoke went up. I think the vast crowd was due, in part, to the unusual circumstances surrounding this event, namely the resignation of the previous pope instead of his death, and the almost unprecedented amount of publicity that the entire process generated.

 

I often try to imagine the feelings of a newly elected pope. His entire life changes immediately, from one moment to the next. It's not like being elected to political office because the politician has been campaigning for months, and he has had time to prepare himself for it. And he knows that his election is for a set number of years, not for a lifetime like the papal election is . . . usually. The politician has a few weeks after his election before he takes office, time to get organized and prepared. The pope has to go to work from the moment he is elected. I think it's a totally unique situation.

 

This will be our last Sights of Rome post, at least for a while, but you will be hearing from me soon about another little project I have been working on for the past few months. My thanks to the many of you who have written to me during the past few weeks. I think this has been a learning experience for everyone, myself included.


1 comments:

Charles Prewitt said...

Many thanks for the enlightening and informative blogs. They have been the next best thing to being there.

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