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Pope Francis: ABC7's Gordon Peterson on the new pope and Jesuits

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The cardinals have chosen a Jesuit to lead the church.

Millions celebrate election of Pope Francis

Millions celebrate election of Pope Francis 18 Photos
Millions celebrate election of Pope Francis

Jesuits swear an oath of obedience to the pope but they have not always been on good terms with him.

In the 18th century, one pope shut them down. A troubled Paul the 6th saw fit to demand their loyalty.

Jesuit theologians such as the late John Courtney Murray have often found themselves out of favor with the Vatican. At one point, an angry Pope John Paul suspended the Jesuit constitutions and installed two of his own men at the head of the society.

And when he came to Washington, John Paul ordered the late Father Robert Drinan, S.J., to get out of congress or get out of the Jesuits. Drinan left congress.

John Paul was especially aggrieved by the participation of Latin American Jesuits in liberation theology. But during the years of the military junta, when many Jesuits in Argentina were moving toward liberation theology, the new pope, then the Jesuit provincial, argued for a more traditional, pastoral role.

However, the devotion of this man to social justice and the plight of the poor is unquestioned. He speaks of, "the unjust distribution of goods...that cries out to heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller live for so many."

Although to date there is no daylight between the new pope and his predecessor on abortion, birth control and same sex marriage, he is clearly a man of compassion.

A priest who visited a hospice to kiss and wash the feet of aids patients, as Francis of Assissi embraced the leper at San Damiano. Francis of Assissi, who gave up a life of privilege for one of abject poverty and devotion to the least of his fellow humans.

The new Pope Francis, as cardinal, ignored the perks of his high office, living humbly, cooking his own food, riding the bus.

A Latin American pope, from the part of the world where one in four Catholics resides, where the Catholic church faces great competition from evangelical churches.

The first pope non-European in more than a thousand years.

They tell us the Catholic church resists change.

We'll see.

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