The Catholic community has experienced one
surprise after another. The retirement of Pope Benedict XVI – the first pope to retire in 600 years – left the College of Cardinals scrambling to re-elect a new pope before Easter. About two weeks later, Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio was elected and chose the name “Francis,” the first pope ever to do so. He was also the first pope to be from the Americas and the first pope to be elected outside of Europe in over 1,200 years. Saint Francis was known for being a thorn in the side to the church and the establishment. But Pope Francis, on the other hand, will be a thorn in the side to those who fail to understand what their job is: to help the followers of Christ, said Edwin Rowley, associate professor of the Department of Art, Communications, and Theatre. “I see a man who has a subtle understanding of communication. The pope came out and asked for the prayers of the people assembled in St. Peter’s Square…instead of soaking it in,” Rowley said. Described as a “humble man” by the New York Times, he is a man who lived in a simple apartment, cooking for himself and riding the bus to work. “What he’s trying to illustrate is that he understands the regular things that regular people have to do.” Rowley said. It’s a necessary first step in any relationship building, said Rowley.