a new leader do they?
I am not a Catholic. I was baptised Presbyterian and brought up a mixture of mostly Presbyterian, some "Christian Science", Methodist, Lutheran and Church of England thrown into the mix. My father was/is the Presbyterian although he normally attends the local Church of England service. My mother was a Christian Scientist. In rural areas where there was neither church we went to the Methodist church. We lived next door to a Lutheran church in one rural location and I can remember all four of us children being "borrowed" one Sunday before Christmas to be part of a nativity tableau.
My father was a lay preacher for the Presbyterian, Methodist and Church of England. I suspect the rules were relaxed for the latter simply so that people could have a church service of some sort. If my father was preaching people tended to travel long distances. He was, teacher style, entertaining. The children's part of the service usually featured a puppet. (Yes, there was a moral of some sort attached to the homily.)
One of the schools I attended later was Lutheran too. We were expected to attend church twice on Sunday and chapel every morning.
I have since attended Catholic, Baptist, Church of Christ and Quaker services for one reason or another. I have also been to a synagogue, a mosque and a Buddhist temple. I would go to any of those places again if asked to do so. Other people's beliefs do not bother me - as long as they do not try to tell me what to believe.
I wonder how I would get along with the new Pope Francis. I rather like the idea of a man who uses public transport. You can meet people that way. You can observe them and talk to them on a much more casual basis. (Let's face it, most people would not know who you are.)
I know that Pope Francis and I would not see eye-to-eye on all issues by any means but I wonder if we could agree to disagree? Unlike some I will not criticise him for "failure to act" over some issues. I suspect those criticising him for this are really saying, "He did not prevent this happening. He did not solve the problem." Well, it is not always possible to prevent something from happening. It is not always possible to solve a problem. Speaking out publicly can sometimes exacerbate a problem. Do we know what he perhaps did behind the scenes? Probably not. He has to live with his conscience on those issues and would his critics have done better - or even as much? Possibly not.
I suspect he feels very lonely right now - and he will go on feeling lonely. It is a lonely job and a very difficult one. No wonder he preferred to share a mini-bus with his cardinals. I think I would too.
He will not be able to keep all that up. The demands of his office will not allow it. He must know that.
But, there has to be some hope for a man who likes to cook his own meals. I hope they let him do that sometimes.