I know. I know. I KNOW. I know. But! But. It can't be denied. The stuff about him cooking his own meals and living in a modest apartment and riding the bus to work? And then being super casual/common/ordinary on his introduction to the world as the new pope? And insisting the cardinals all ride the elevator with him right afterward?* And hopping into a minivan with all of them, leaving the papal car empty? And personally paying his hotel bill the next day? And ducking out the side door of the Vatican to pray in public? To say nothing of this detail:
Francis comes from Argentina, which was hit by a crippling sovereign debt crisis in 2001 from which it has not fully recovered.
Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France, recalled that he had asked Cardinal Bergoglio why he was not going to Rome last December when Benedict was naming more cardinals.
“And he told me that right now the situation in Argentina was too terrible; he couldn’t leave Argentina,” Cardinal Barbarin said. “For me, that was significant. In a moment where the country is going badly, he said, ‘I have to be here.’ He could have happily come to a party in Rome, but he didn’t.”
His colleagues were all hopping on jets to go do Jager bombs with Ratzinger; not this guy. Yes, he's opposed to common sense modernizing reforms regarding women, vis-a-vis reproduction and ordination, and that totally sucks, and I hate it. But! Let's all just admit the church could really use a shock to its system regarding its focus on poor people (hey Mario, howzabout you sell off every gold-encrusted Catholic-commissioned bauble in Europe and give all that money, every single cent, to the poor? Cuz you're the kinda guy who may just do that!). And the thing about hating all sex outside of marriage, including gay sex? Uh, I think that's inevitable when you're choosing among a bunch of cardinals in their 70s. Plus, I'm sure you've heard, there's a liiiiitle problem in the church with repressed gay dudes who have alcohol, absolute power, and fantasies about penises, plus no outlet for their fantasies except the bodies of innocent children they have absolute power over (and maybe also the bodies they find in local bathhouses). Francis's lifelong commitment to austerity and simplicity might be a sign that the Catholic church's evil, corrupt, nauseating attitude toward power over other people (a problem the church has had since day one) might be—might be! Let us hope!—coming to a close.