Creighton theology expert: Pope Francis brings hope, new perspective

Mar 14, 2013

A Creighton University associate professor of Theology says Pope Francis will bring enthusiasm, hope, and a new perspective.

Pope Francis
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Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen Wednesday as the new Pope. The 76-year-old will be known as Pope Francis. He was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is the first Jesuit Pope.

Eileen Burke-Sullivan is the Barbara Readon Heaney Chair in Pastoral Liturgical Theology at Creighton University. Sullivan says Pope Francis’ background gives him a different perspective than his predecessor, Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI.

“They’re both traditional in the theological sense, but I think the traditional approach to pastoral implementation might be different in that this is a man who has not lived in the first world for most of his, for any of his life to the best of my knowledge, but certainly not for most of his life, and has indeed lived among the poorest of the poor.”

She says the choice of Francis for the new Pope’s name has a great deal of significance.

“There is a very significant Jesuit, Francis Xavier, as well as Saint Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscans, and both of those persons would have an important role in the Latin American spirituality. And so it well could be either those or other Saint Francis’ in the church as well. But both would symbolize a person of evangelizing fervor, a commitment to the gospel, and both would signal a concern for the poor.”

Pope Francis’ inaugural mass will be next Tuesday, March 19, the Feast of Saint Joseph.

Francis is the 266th Pope in the history of the Catholic Church.