Laughing, Weeping, Living

Life happens. You laugh about it or cry about it, sometimes both.

Surprise! I’m Writing about the Pope

on March 13, 2013

Okay, so how could I not write about the election of the new pope today? I had planned to join this link up with a post about decorating my living room, but then the pope had to go and get himself elected and all, and now I have to write about that.

No, actually I am super-duper, extremely jazzed to write about the pope! I have been obsessed–I don’t want to say obsessed but I’ve been obsessed–with the papal election conclave that started yesterday. Pretty much as soon as I recovered from the news that Pope Emeritus Benedict was retiring, I started to get excited about the election of a new pope. In 2005, I wasn’t actually engaged in my faith, and I don’t remember the death of Blessed John Paul II and the subsequent election of Benedict being a huge deal for me. They were guys important to me because they were Popes, but I didn’t really feel a personal connection to either of them, or really know much about them. Especially, Benedict was a mystery to me since I had no knowledge of who Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was or what he did, or the books he had written or the theology classes he had taught. Right, and I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic school until I was 13, and my dad took me to mass every weekend, and I was deeply involved in my local college campus church music ministry. We’ll leave a discourse on the sad sad state of Catholic Catechesis for another post.

Anyway, so I guess this time, I was making up for my lack of enthusiasm in 2005. I’m sure my dear sweet husband did in fact get tired of me asking, “So when is the next vote going to happen?” “Is it very likely they will pick a pope during this ballot?” “Who are the favorite cardinals?”

He didn’t act sick of me, but I know he was. I even got that pope alarm thing for my cell phone (“What if the alarm goes off in the middle of the night?” “Can we get up and watch the announcement and then go back to bed?” “What if I sleep through the alarm?” “What if my alarm doesn’t work and we miss the announcement of the new pope? sniffle sniffle.”) He got the pope alarm too, so I’m sure we were covered, but, you know.

We took a quick trip to Costco this morning, but I made sure to stipulate that we be home with the T.V. turned on in time to catch the black smoke/white smoke. (“If the smoke goes off while we’re in Costco, we won’t be able to watch!” “Maybe we could go to the Catholic bookstore after Costco and they’ll be following the story.”)

We just barely made it home in time…


white smoke

I was so happy. I can’t remember the last time I felt that happy, so happy I was almost crying and I did a little dance. Even Stephen was really excited. He was dancing around the living room too, clapping whenever a cheer went up on T.V. and watching me and Jeremy and laughing.

Then we waited for an hour, biting our nails. I didn’t actually know who any of the cardinal electors were, except the five or six super famous ones who are always in the news. But I was still excited to see the Big Reveal.

When the cardinal deacon guy came out to make the announcement, I admit it was a bit anti-climactic because I didn’t recognize the name. Jeremy and I looked at the new pope’s picture in our diocesan paper and were like “huh.” But then the commentator said “Archbishop of Buenos Aires” and Jeremy remembered that this was the cardinal he’s been praying for with that Adopt-a-Cardinal thing! He told me he could never remember the guy’s name, so he just prayed for the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Neat, isn’t it?

Then Pope Francis walked out on the balcony and I had a weird disorienting feeling because I was looking at a guy wearing white and it wasn’t Benedict. He gave a beautiful address and blessed the people with the traditional first blessing of a new pope and that was that. More misty happy tears.

pope francis

I do have a few final comments.

1) He is going to be great because he has a lot of cred with “conservative” and “liberal” Catholics alike. He’s outspoken on abortion and traditional marriage, but also very passionate about serving the poor and social justice.

2) We had better be prepared for endless comments from mainstream media about how he should just retire already. He’s old–nearly as old as Benedict was when he was elected. And as Archbishop, he’s already ticked off some media outlets with his orthodoxy regarding Catholic social teachings. We can be sure that any time Pope Francis says something against abortion, or gay-marriage, or ordination of women, or whatever, newscasters the world over will collectively shout “RETIRE!”

3) This is an amazing time to be Catholic. We have a cool new pope from South America, and we have a cool retired pope praying for the Church as his job. I think there are wonderful things ahead for the Church.

I can’t wait to see what happens.



One response to “Surprise! I’m Writing about the Pope

  1. Deb says:

    I was right there with you, Judy! I got the PopeAlarm, too-my Cardinal was a neighbor of our new Pope, Cardinal Ossa from Chile-I made Tim late back to work, making him wait for the balcony wave!

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