Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been chosen as Pope Francis, leader of the Holy See in Rome. That's all well and good, it's nice that heavily-Catholic South America is getting its due and I found it interesting that a Jesuit chose to name himself after a Franciscan.
While many inside the Catholic church (and always those outside) will find plenty to criticize - he is against both abortion and euthanasia and preaches tolerance for homosexuality but does not endorse it - we have one of the most cosmopolitan Pope's ever. He's the son of immigrants and became a Cardinal in Argentina and now runs a multinational church, its own nation, situated inside Italy. He rode public transportation, lived in a small apartment heated by a small stove rather than the ornate quarters provided to Cardinals and he cooked his own meals. He does a lot for the poor and, importantly for the 21st century, he has a master's degree in chemistry.
As I have noted before, we have had back-to-back Popes with solid support for science. It isn't going to satisfy every militant who thinks every form of biology should be embraced (yet don't complain at all that the Obama administration bans somatic cell nuclear transfer) but the Catholics have the oldest science institute in the world, Galileo was one of its first presidents, and this carries on a long tradition of advancement of science among Catholics.
Pope Francis is a humble man and that's good, because 21st century science is humbling. The world is going to change pretty fast.
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