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April 12, 2013

Pope prompts reflections on Jesuit past

(Continued)

With the surprising resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in March, Pope Francis, the former Jesuit Archbishop of Buenos Aires, became the first pontiff of the Americas. 

“I think he’s an extraordinary fit at this time,” Yonkovig said. “Pope Benedict XVI was an expert in church doctrine. Pope Francis is an expert in compassion. I think the pope has a deep sense of the value of human life and of God’s creation. He will very humbly preach that divine origin of all life.”

This is illustrated by Pope Francis’s calls to Buenos Aires, to which he has not returned because of his papal election. His farewells included his paperboy to thank him for his service.

“He sees a value and worth in the human spirit and not the job that you have, clothes that your wear or car you drive,” Yonkovig said. “Every single human life is created in the image of God and is of great value.”

Many were surprised by the speed with which the papal conclave of 2013 elected the first non-European pontiff in 1,200 years and the first Jesuit to lead the Catholic Church.

“Our God is a God of surprises,” Yonkovig said. “He certainly did not disappoint this time. We thought it would be an Italian. That’s the power of the Holy Spirit. You cannot confine or define how the Holy Spirit will work. We’re all surprised. I think Pope Francis is equally surprised. The Jesuits are the best educators within the church. It’s a very good choice.”

Email Robin Caudell:rcaudell@pressrepublican.com

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