Saint Francis and Sultan al Malik found something special from God in each other that changed their worlds for the better. In their memory, I wish Pope Francis all the best, and all the blessings God can give him in his life and his service.
It feels once again that a pope is about to let fresh air run through every aspect of the Church. He may transform its grinding politics, financial imbroglios and leadership vacuum. He has the ability to deal directly with the serious sins of the recent past and clean house. Let the wind blow!
The idea that, by choosing a non-European as pope, the Vatican leadership has signaled that it understands the need for change is laughable.
While yet again this week passes with no pope elected in the Jewish community, the motto of the new Holy Father is echoed in our weekly Torah reading and provides a profound lesson for all fellow seekers of purpose and meaning.
What may matter more than the new pope's nationality is his commitment to allowing the growth of lay leadership and culturally sensitive worship that is at the heart of the success of the Pentecostal movement.
Maybe the new pope will realize that to be universal, the church needs to embrace differences and expand love rather than embracing limiting and separatist beliefs.
If you don't like the fellow whom the cardinals elect, then there are always other elections to look forward to. It seems a safe bet that our fascination with the practices and outcome of that future election will be just keen then as it is now -- just as it was 500 years ago.
When so much about the Catholic Church seems both antiquated and sick at this moment, like a building whose foundation is crumbling, maybe it needs to come down and be rebuilt differently.
The Vatican has been happy to let us know how serious they are about security, anxious to tell the world they can indeed keep a secret. But no cardinal is fooled by the slamming door; they all know they cannot keep the world out.
Cultivate simplicity. Learn to communicate in non-verbal ways. When you use words, have them say what you mean. If there is a key to your mystery, let people have it so they can understand you.
According to most, no claimant to Divine office remains on Earth, at least until the next pope is elected. On the contrary, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the world's only Khalifa, continues his lifelong Divinely appointed tenure to the office of Khilafat.
Does the Catholic church need to worry about being innovative? I'd like to hear from both Catholics and from critics. The church's recent very-public crises certainly demonstrate a lack of adaptability and agility.
The choice will depend on whether the 117 Cardinals voting will lean more toward seriously reforming the Catholic Church -- notably as it relates to the continuing problem of pedophilia and lack of transparency -- or roughly keeping to the status quo.
As the conclave begins on Tuesday, much of the Muslim world looks at the future of the papacy with a hope that the new pope will build on the positive aspects of the previous two papacies and create a relationship of deeper dialogue and mutual understanding with the Muslim community.