The past couple of weeks have been very exciting in Rome and it is because of all of the goings-on that I haven’t been able to blog. Between friends visiting and the election of a new pope things have been somewhat hectic around the Eternal City. But now that the friends have left and the new pope has been officially enthroned things can start getting back to normal!
On the evening of March 13, the Catholic Church made a “Great Leap Forward.” It listened to the wishes of the world and the College of Cardinals elected the first ever Pontiff from the Americas. Pope Francis, or Papa Francesco as he is known in Italy, has inherited a Church that is in crisis. My own views of the Church still remain extremely negative, but I do respect the Cardinals for taking a chance and realizing that the world is changing. The Church no longer belongs to Europe, it belongs to the world. Catholicism has reached every continent and has over 1.2 billion followers worldwide. By electing a pope from South America, the Cardinals have sent a clear message that the future of the Church lies in the “global south,” which consists mainly of the developing world.
Despite my strong opposition to many of the Church’s teachings, as a Journalism student I could not deny myself the opportunity to witness what was perhaps the most crucial turning point of the Catholic Church in modern times. Below are some of the pictures that I took in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, March 13 leading up to the white smoke. Tomorrow, I will post my story of what it was like to be in the square and see the white smoke with my own eyes.
As a side note, right now I find myself in Ireland on my spring break. My visit to the Emerald Isles will include Galway (where I am now), Dublin, Cork, and Dungarvan (County Waterford). I am so excited to finally be in Ireland and learn more about my ancestors and the many Irish traditions. I am also most looking forward to staying with family who I have in Dungarvan in addition to seeing the Cliffs of Mohar & other fantastic landscapes that make this country one of the most scenic in all of Europe. But for now enjoy the pictures that were taken just before the start of an historic papacy: