The god of irony is everywhere and never sleeps. Who would have guessed that the first pope from the global South would be an ethnic European, from the most European southern country? …that this third non-Italian pope in several centuries would be from the most Italian country outside Italy and have Italian parents? Who would think that he would be right about poverty (against it, woo hoo) – and wrong on every other social issue, along with a dirty war history that, let us say, has not been trotted out by the Vatican flacks for our admiration.

If he’s not what the church needs, of course, it won’t be stuck with him forever, as he’s only nine years younger than the guy who just ran out of steam and resigned.

Popes can be surprising, like Earl Warren. But I’m not betting the farm that the church stops taking on water.

[Originally posted at The Reality-based Community]

Michael O'Hare

Michael O'Hare is a Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.