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Monday, March 18, 2013

New Pope is symbol of Christian solidity

We have a new Vicar of Christ, and his name is Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina.  His chosen papal name is Francis in honor of the 12th century Italian Saint from Assisi who spurned wealth to pursue a life of poverty in the path of Jesus. 

And surely this has to do with healthcare, because religion follows us to the grave, and it has a lot to do with how people live and end their lives.  So religion is important especially when it comes to healthcare. Study after study after study shows that if you believe in God you get better quicker, and live longer.  It's not a myth, it's proven.  Plus people who know they will go to a better place are happier and more productive from cradle to grave, and are more likely to go out with grace and dignity.

Our new Pope's history proves he is a humble man in the eyes of the Lord, as he has shunned a perstigious lifestyle, prepared his own food, and rode busses to work.  He did this all because he wanted to live among his people, not above them. This was a humble gesture, one that allowed him to walk in the path of Jesus.

While his country moved in the opposite direction, he proved to be an ardent champion against abortion, contraception, euthanasia and gay marriage. Surely you can disagree with his position (as even I often do), yet you have to admire his sticking to his principles.  He was exiled because he refused to support his government in its quest to modernize their country and make contraception legal and gay marriage a possibility. 

Regardless of our own personal opinions, and regardless of our politics, Pope Francis stood above them all, and he stood up for the principles of the Church.  For this he was exiled by the Cristina Kirchner government. He was dispatched to the northern climes and the outposts of Argentina. He literally was cast out by the government, because he refused to support the government.  He was rescued by Pope John Paul II, who made him archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, and three years later a Cardinal.  

Our new Pope is 76-years-old.  As I began my hunt to learn about this new Pope, I was actually disappointed that another old man was selected to the papacy, because I was convinced we needed a young man willing to make the needed changes to adapt to a changing society; to get young people more interested in the Church.

As I studied his life today, I learned how he would not budge on his principles even while threatened with exile.  I learned that Church principles do not budge either.  No matter how much society changes, which it does often on whims and wishes, the church will always be the same.  It's like a rock, solid and always there; its principles etched in stone.  People might leave the Church/Jesus, but the Church/Jesus doesn't ever leave the people. 

So as the people get further and further from the Church, the Church will always be there for them, willing to guide any person in his or her quest for a more Faithful life.  I learned today that the Church must not change just to get more people in the church.  The Church must not change just because society does. 

Ironically, after I came to this realization, I opened my Bible, and right there was Isaiah 8:11.  That passage talks about how poeple must not listen to the people, they should listen to Jesus, who is like a rock.  The following was written by the prophet Isaiah, and is titled "The Lord warns the profit." Isaiah wrote:
With his great power, the Lord warned me not to follow the road which the people were following.  He said, "Do not join in the schemes of the people and do not be afraid of the things they fear.  Remember that I, the Lord Almighty, am holy; I am the one you must fear.
Because of my awsome holiness, I am like a stone that people stumble over; I am like a trap that will catch the people of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel and the people of Jeruselum.  Many will stumble; they will fall and be crushed.  They will be caught in the trap."
Now I don't agree with the Pope on all issues, and I don't agree even with the Catholic Church on all it stands for.  However, as Christians, we should see Pope Francis as a human symbol of how Christian principles are rock solid and do not change as society does.  When we fail in our effort at change, the church, Jesus, and Christianity will always be there for us.

We must continue to pray for him and his efforts to lead the Christian community around the world.  

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