....Years ago I did a review of this film, one of my favorites, by a great Italian director (Victorio De Sica) for this very blog. It's about the first non Italian pope in several hundred years, who was from a communist country (the film was 20 years before John Paul II), and how he had to deal with world famine and a threat of nuclear war. In the end the new Pope makes the one historic gesture we would all like to see, giving up half the church's wealth to feed the starving masses of the world. It seems we might have a chance to watch a real life drama with a historic gesture equally as important and sacrificial in some future day with Pope Francis at the helm. First, two things to get out of the way. One, don't cal him "Francis I" he's not "the first" until there has been a second. Until then he's just "Pope Francis." Secondly, I'm not catholic but I not only like Catholics but I feel that the Pope is sort of for everyone in a way. It's at least historically important. I think us Prots wish him well.
....We have heard of his social activism, taking the bus when he was a Cardinal, washing the feet of drug addicts and aids victims (as a Cardinal), even walking dangerous streets alone at night. He has been described as a Champion of the poor. The foot washing thing wasn't just for show, yesterday on ABC news I saw an interview with a drug addict who claimed that he washed her feet on a deserted street as he walked home from the bus. He's also written books on spirituality and medication. He's also called "Theologian." He's opposed to abortion and guy marriage but also baptizes children out of wedlock and wants to use the wealth of the chruch to help people. "That's why he is frequently seen wearing a black overcoat. Also, when he was declared a cardinal, he decided not to buy new clothing. Instead, he ordered the clothing of the previous cardinal be mended to fit him," the newspaper says." (ibid). The Name Francis doesn't just reveal his love for all living things, but also refers to the vision Francis of Assisi had of God commissioning him to rebuild the ruins of the dilapidated chruch he found, saying "rebuild my church." This is taken as a metaphor for the chruch at large.
He was born on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires. He was ordained for the Jesuits on 13 December 1969 during his theological studies at the Theological Faculty of San Miguel.....The election of Pope Francis represents the growing importance of Latin America, as well as the integral nature of liberation theology in that region. I am reminded of Liberation theologian whom I would bet Pope Francis knows, even though he's a Methodist, Jose Meguze Bonino.
He was novice master in San Miguel, where he also taught theology. He was Provincial for Argentina (1973-1979) and rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel (1980-1986). After completing his doctoral dissertation in Germany, he served as a confessor and spiritual director in Córdoba.On 20 May 1992 he was appointed titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires, receiving episcopal consecration on 27 June. On 3 June 1997 was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires and succeeded Cardinal Antonio Quarracino on 28 February 1998. He is also Ordinary for Eastern-rite faithful in Argentina who lack an Ordinary of their own rite.
March 9, 2009
Jose Miguez Bonino (b. 1924), a Methodist and the most prominent Protestant advocate of liberation thought. He was a special observer of Vatican II and served as president of the World Council of Churches. He is the author of Christians and Marxists: The Mutual Challenge to Revolution and Doing Theology in a Revolutionary Situation (1975)They are both from Argentina. I will never forget the one time I saw Bonino. I was at SMU (graduate student in seminary at Perkins School of theology) walking back down the hill from the main campus to what we called "the God quad," I suddenly began thinking about political action in Latin America, death squads and people being tortured. It wasn't that odd to think about it, I was already an activist in the local Committee in Solidarity With the People of El Salvador (CISPES). I was dealing with such issues all the time. Suddenly it became extremely real to me. i felt I was there in Latin America. I looked up and coming toward me was a whole group of people were walking toward me. At the head of the line seemed to be this one guy who walked straight and proud, he was so forceful I could feel greatness radiating form him. That's the only way I can put it. He seemed really brilliant and important. As I approached him I sensed a palpable presence of the death squads and the murder and torture and poverty of Latin America. At the end of the long line (maybe a hundred people) a friend of mine pulled up the rear. I asked him who that was, it was Jose Miguze Bonino going to speak after confuting a seminar class.
....Table any implication of extra sensory issues, let's just assume that I was involved deeply in activism so I was thinking about that stuff all the time, the guy was surrounded by people following him so it was obvious he was forceful and important. The point is the new Pope is from a milieu that is so powerful and evocative in terms of psychological impression and real danger, he knows what it means to confront real danger. Now he's in the most sensitive job he'll ever have, and it's in it for the rest of his life. This guy needs prayer. He is clearly a good man for the job, we positioned to see some interesting things. This century keeps getting more and more interesting.