It was never going to be a 45 year old Pope who was going to march in: ordain women, end celibacy and sanctify gay weddings.
But on the whole it is good to see the world seems to think that a Pope: who has assumed the name Francis; who might have some concern for the poor; who has shed some modicum of the trappings of kingly rule in the past; might be what a world like our is looking for.
It is of course early days and we will have to wait and see whether the man will beat the machine Indeed even if he is inclined to do so.
Some sub-textual signs that you may or may not have picked up this morning make me optimistic:
1. Did you notice the way he spoke to the crowd? Almost with a look of amazement as if to say "Look who they've gone and chosen.,..!" and then said affectionately "Fratelli e sorelli" (brothers and sisters). Certainly the Italian speakers picked it up in the crowd.
2. Did you notice he quickly invited the faithful to pray? Not some pompous liturgical Prayer but the three simple prayers: Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary and Gloria Patri. And how reverently he did it and they joined with him.
3. Did you notice how he prayed in Italian not Latin? Seemed significant to me that he chose vernacular rather than liturgical language
And of course he called himself Francis.
We all know about the little man. But do we remember the story about the vision he had about San Damiano...the little ruined church. "Rebuild my church" Francis heard, and so he set about the task of setting stone upon stone to physically rebuild the ruined Church of San Damiano....in the mean time the Franciscan movement grew and grew recalling the church back to its genuine roots of poverty and service and away from the decadence and debauchery that had so degraded it.
A century later the Church was being rebuilt but not in the way that Francis had first imagined, but in a much profounder and more expansive way.