Viva il Papa, the subway rider

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In 2008, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (second from left) rides the subway in Buenos Aires, Argentina. "Padre Jorge" was known for taking public transport while archbishop. — AP | Pablo Leguizamon

In 2008, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (second from left) rides the subway in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “Padre Jorge” was known for taking public transport while archbishop. — AP | Pablo Leguizamon

 

Eight years ago, the elevation of the German cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger, to the papacy was met with derision by both serious and frivolous British papers. “God’s Rottweiler,” blared the front page of the Daily Telegraph. It’s not often that the liberal Guardian falls into line with the sassy but conservative Sun, but on Pope Benedict they agreed: “From Hitler youth to the Vatican,” said  The Guardian. “From Hitler Youth to… Papa Ratzi,” screamed The Sun.

Newspaper editors reflect their environment and know their readers.  In 2005, the blitzed British had a knee-jerk — i.e., a Basil-Fawlty-like goose-step — reaction to a German pope.

Maybe it’s impossible to make fun of Francis, the Argentine Jesuit who passed on the perks that came with being a cardinal — the chauffeur-driven car, the palace, the chef. Continue reading

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African popes

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Cardinals who could become the next pope include:  (Top row from left) Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, Honduran Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodrigues Maradiaga, Argentine Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Mexican Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, Brazilian Joao Braz de Aviz, Philippines' Luis Antonio Tagle, and Nigerian Peter Turkson. (Bottom row from left ): Austrian Cristoph Schonborn, Hungarian Peter Erdoe, Italian Angelo Scola, Canadian Marc Ouellet, Nigerian Francis Arinze, Nigerian John Onaiyekan, and USA's Timothy Dolan.        AFP | Getty Images

Papabili, or the cardinals who would be pope: (Top row from left) Brazilian Claudio Hummes, Honduran Oscar Andres Rodrigues Maradiaga, Argentine Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Mexican Norberto Rivera Carrera, Brazilian Joao Braz de Aviz, Philippines’ Luis Antonio Tagle, and Nigerian Peter Turkson. (Bottom row from left ): Austrian Cristoph Schonborn, Hungarian Peter Erdoe, Italian Angelo Scola, Canadian Marc Ouellet, Nigerian Francis Arinze, Nigerian John Onaiyekan, and New York’s Timothy Dolan. AFP | Getty Images

Seemingly within minutes of the increasingly frail Pope Benedict XVI announcing his resignation, Aussie, Irish and British bookies started taking bets on who would be his successor. Continue reading

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