BY REV. MARK WM. RADECKE
The election of an Argentinean Jesuit who lived and worked among the poor as the first non-European pope in nearly 1,300 years reminds me of a statement made by Dean Brackley, who delivered the Alice Pope Shade lecture here in 2011.
Brackley wrote: “The middle-class cultures of the North are newcomers to world history and have only existed for about 200 years. We’re not all bad people; we’re just a tiny minority under the common illusion that we are the center of gravity of the universe. The poor can free us of this strange idea. Maybe 90 percent of all the people who ever lived have struggled every day to keep the household alive against the threat of death through hunger, disease, accidents and violence.
By distancing the non-poor from the daily threat of death, the benefits of modernity have induced in us a kind of chronic low-grade confusion about what is really important in life, namely life itself and love.”
I pray that this new pope, along with all people of all faiths and all people of good will, might not only gain but also retain that insight.