- Where were you when they announced the new Pope? My sister and I had a pact that whoever heard first would text the other. I was determined to keep up my streak of seeing Habemus Papam announcements live, even though there is no TV or video streaming access in my office. So when the words "White Smoke!" exploded across Facebook, I ran for my museum's education computer lab. I watched database training videos with the Vatican YouTube feed on in the background. The only other person in there was watching RuPaul's Drag Race and probably thought I was the biggest loser ever, but I don't care.
- To add to my earlier analogies, I realized that getting a new Pope is like when a new baby is born into a family. Even though you have no idea about this stranger's personality or talents, you love them immediately, and know without a doubt that they belong to you all. There is something about putting on the white cassock that makes a random cardinal instantly beloved.
- Or maybe it's the adorable awkwardness. Did you ever notice how nervous a new Pope is at first? It's not like he's a presidential candidate who's been doing photo ops for months beforehand. At Benedict XVI's inaugural Mass eight years ago he looked super tense and unsure of how to bless the cheering crowds.
- So when Pope Francis came out on the balcony and just stood there, I thought "Oh no, he is scared to DEATH." But then he started smiling. And cracking jokes. And talking with his hands. How could we not fall in love? He's going to do just fine.
- The Betrothed was educated by Jesuits in New Orleans, so of course he's overjoyed that the new pontiff comes from the Society of Jesus. Right now we're both chuckling over all the Jesuit conspiracy theories coming out of the woodwork. We're also shaking our heads at the Rad Trad internet freak-outs that a Jesuit Pope will start teaching heresy and stripping churches of anything traditional.
- With all this talk of humble simplicity and Cardinal Mahony crowing on Twitter about how glad he is to be "LOW Church" again, I have only one very silly concern - *whisper* I really hope the vestments aren't ugly.There is already an entire papal sacristy of beautiful liturgical treasures that give glory to God and were crafted in love and devotion. Papa Francis could "shop his closet" for years without spending a thing. There's a great Downton Abbey reference in this situation.
- Overall I am just thrilled, excited, and overjoyed with goosebumps going down my arms. You can be sure I'll be geeking out for the inaugural Mass on Tuesday, the feast of St. Joseph. We have a new shepherd, and he comes from the Americas. He rides the bus and doesn't put on airs. He took the name of a peacemaker saint, the man to whom Christ said "Rebuild my Church." There is much rebuilding to do, and I can't wait to see how Papa Francis does it.