Two CNN analysts said on Wednesday that by naming himself after St. Francis of Assisi, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was sending a strong signal to the world.
“Francis is one of the, if not the most evocative name, in the Catholic spiritual tradition,” analyst John Allen said. “What it says to Catholics, at a glance, is poverty, humility, simplicity — and a moment of rebirth, reform, and rebuilding the Catholic Church.”
Meanwhile, the Rev. Edward Beck told CNN that “I see humility, and I see a little fear” in Pope Francis’ face as the 76-year-old pontiff spoke to millions of well-wishers in St. Peter’s Square and around the world.
“One of the most famous lines attributed to St. Francis of Assisi is when he went into a broken-down church, saw a crucifix and heard from the crucifix, ‘Francis, rebuild my church,’” Beck added. “Those are the most famous lines from Francis, so he started to rebuild the church. Little did he know that it would be symbolically as well.”
Allen noted that Pope Francis “before he chose to speak, he chose to be silent. That, too, is symbolic.”
In addition, Allen added that Pope Francis is the first to be named from Latin America in more than 1,000 years, how he chose the name Francis — and “before speaking, he chose to listen to God and to listen to the people.
“This is all sending a signal that this is not going to be business as usual,” Allen said.
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