Wednesday, August 14, 2013

“I just hope he isn’t old”

by Project Interfaith 
Communications Intern, Jessa Diebel

Those were my mom’s words as we watched the white smoke plume out of the Vatican…from our living room in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Imagine my mom’s dismay when she found out the chosen leader of the Catholic Church was, in fact, old. Jorge Mario Bergoglio is 76 years old and has one lung. Not someone who would be considered a young buck ready for action by any means.

It is not that my mom dislikes old people, she was just hoping for a fresh face with a new vision for Catholicism, which she had begun to, like many others, walk away from. The numbers of ‘nones’ (religiously unaffiliated) are rising dramatically – among millennials, Gen X’ers and even Baby Boomers.

According to the Pew Forum’s recent study on the rise of nones, people who are unaffiliated with a religion tend to think that, “…churches and other religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules, and too involved in politics.” (Pew Forum, 2012).

I agreed with my mom. At first glance, I cannot relate to Pope Francis and this is for a couple of reasons; first of all is our disconnect in religious views as well as the 55 year age difference.

Pope Francis on the cover of Italy's Vanity Fair
(Of course he was named Man of the Year)
But, surprisingly, I can relate to him.

Pope Francis has been making bold statements with both his words and actions, which have many, including myself, intrigued. For the first time in my life, I actually follow any and all news about the pope.

That is something I never thought I would write.

A couple of intriguing pieces of information that have me so interested in the new pope are that he is a Jesuit and he is addressing the issues many are dealing with in the Catholic faith. I think Jesuits are awesome. They make it a point to live simply and only use what they need. They have a special dedication towards education and the poor on top of their dedication to their beliefs. 

If you look back in history, which I haven’t (at least not since I was in high school), I am sure you’ll find a lot of good popes with good heads on their shoulders. From what I have been reading, Pope Francis seems to be one. 

Many of Pope Francis’ remarks have been headlining news, which has a lot to due with the fact that he is the leader of one of the largest world religions. But more than that, his remarks are out of the normal spectrum of what a pope is expected to say. Pope Francis is making waves, breaking the status quo, and most of all, grabbing the attention of the world. It is what he decides to do with the attention is what I am curious about and excited to see.

Jessa Diebel is the current Communications Intern at Project Interfaith. She is a senior Graphic Design and Advertising major at Creighton University, with a penchant for social media and web design. She loves Omaha almost as much as she loves her hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota. She is passionate about learning and sharing valuable information.  She enjoys looking at pictures of cute dogs, traveling when she has the means, watching classic movies and being with friends.

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