The Jesuit Pope

Gerald O?Collins SJ

A Jesuit theologian reflects on the election of Pope Francis and contemplates what he may bring to the papacy. Gerald O?Collins SJ is now an adjunct professor at Australian Catholic University.

On the morning of 14 March my inbox began to fill up with messages ? from Boston, Chicago, London, Melbourne, Rome, Sydney, and other cities around the world. Friends congratulated me almost as if, being a Jesuit, I was somehow responsible for the election of the first Jesuit Pope. No e-mail gave me greater encouragement than that of an Italian friend who works for the European Union in Khartoum. I have known Laura since she was a teenager and at school in the Alban hills, just outside Rome. Now she wrote: ?Congratulations to the Society of Jesus for a great happiness to be shared with the entire world. I believe that there is need of a great Pope in this moment of grave difficulties for all. The election of a Jesuit, and what?s more a South American, gives me much confidence. I stayed up till 2 a.m. to watch on television this wonderful election.?

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