On Monday the Cardinal’s entered the Conclave just as a group of us from Nativity traveled to the “Drive Conference”, at Andy Stanley’s North Point Church in Atlanta. On Wednesday we finished up the Conference around the same time white smoke appeared above the Sistine Chapel. Interesting timing.
The news, consistent with everything that has happened in Rome in recent days, was stunning. As someone who closely followed the developments and commentary, Jorge Bergoglio was not a name that was mentioned as a candidate, nor one I was familiar with.
Certainly, that he is an Italian-American is interesting, as is his Jesuit background (as someone who spent 10 years in Jesuit schools, I have a love-hate relationship with them ). It seems he is a conservative, with the common touch of a pastor. Early signs suggest a humble man of simple approaches (this morning he returned to the hotel he had been staying in to pay his bill); if that proves to be a consistent pattern, there could be some welcome changes in store for Vatican life.
But to me the most significant development is the name he has chosen. As I mentioned in my previous post, it was Francis of Assisi who led the rebuilding and renewal efforts of the Church, in one of her darkest periods. Let us hope and pray we have another Francis now to lead us through the current darkness.
The Drive Conference, by the way, was great. Andy definitely brought his “A” Game. Basically, he was discussing the necessity of rebuilding the Church by being churches focused on the unchurched. Exactly what we’re talking about in our book.
God bless Pastor Andy and God bless Papa Francisco.