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'Isn't This the Best Pope Ever?!'

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"Isn't this the best pope ever!"

I turn on TV last night and Jon Stewart on The Daily Show is talking about the Pope. Last week, Chris Hayes says, somewhat jokingly, on his nightly MSNBC news show, "Isn't this the best pope ever!" Curious, I pick up a copy of America magazine, a Jesuit publication, to read an interview with Pope Francis. The pope says that he isn't going to hammer away on the hot-button sexual issues of abortion, gays and contraception. What is going on?

I have some hope that this pope may be cut from a different papal cloth than Benedict and John Paul. I must confess that I am a former Jesuit from many years ago. Although I share the same spiritual roots as the pope, there are no guarantees that we think alike. My Jesuit priest friend of many years, Bill, initially told me that Pope Francis is a very reactionary conservative. After Bill did more checking with his Jesuit brothers, he learned otherwise.

I think we have some clues about Francis from what he has done so far. He is not afraid to make controversial statements but he is not bombastic. He will hang out with the poor, the sinners, prostitutes, homeless, republicans, democrats. He will not condemn the rich but he will invite them to share their wealth. He will drive a used car, live in modest surroundings and occasionally take public transportation.

I think he will challenge everyone, include everyone and invite everyone to see that we are all in this together.