I was in my car driving, on my way to the cardiologist’s clinic, when my iPhone rang:
“Who’s the new Pope?” My eldest son asked me abruptly
“Have no idea, why? White smoke?”
“Yeah, white smoke. Five minutes ago”.
I switched my CD listener (where Mika’s Underwater was softly moaning) to the most popular and highest range Radio Network in town and listened. Everybody was talking about the Pope, asking who he might be, and especially about this surprisingly quick decision by the Conclave. Pessimism overwhelmed me: if they were so fast in their decision, probably the most likely to be Pope, Cardinal Scola was the one chosen. I did not wanted an Italian Pope.  Church, in these last past years needed a total revolution in its habits, messages, examples of life and doctrine, so an Italian chief would not be the best to my view of. Italian priests have been too much conservatory but also not a good example to catholic and christian followers. This as to my personal opinion and view of the specific situation.
I parked and entered doctor’s clinic with this sense of oppression in my mind and heart, and while sitting in the waiting room, quitely scanned the net through my smartphone. A married couple was waiting too and they were smoothly chatting about the same thing: who might  this Pope be? I looked at them and – never do that, but this time I did – entered into their conversation, questioning about some news. They smiled at me and said no, they did not know anything about it either. Then I went back on Twitter and Facebook. Twitter is faster, news and comments bumping from an account to another were not optimistics. One voice for all, from the accounts I follow, no matter if Vip’s or common people: no italian Pope. Lots of italian status like “#noscolanoscolanoscola: nobody wanted  Scola as a Pope. I never enquired, during these past days about the probable Pope’s candidates, I was not interested. Benedict XVI resigning made me almost indifferent to this dispute. And a sort of sadness, bitterness of soul had invaded my mind and my heart. I have no hope. I was almost sure that Catholic Church would have tried to save herself  by choosing someone who can make everything in its positions, without changes, without moving from the ancient vision of world and humanity. And yet, world and humanity has changed, urges are different, hearts and soul are completely different. This sort of personal despair, I felt in the others’ opinion. The couple in front of me took their phones and made calls. To sons, daughters. Same question as above:
“Do you know something about the Pope?”
No was still the answer. Then was my turn to the doctor’s examination. Nothing bad, hopefully, I need to take care of myself, I must learn how to love myself. This is the most difficult part. I have no motivations.  I am too in a hurry to stop thinking I must do something for myself too. Therapy is given, I must go. The doctor, a nice and gentle half aged bold man asks me the same looping question:
“Nothing about the Pope’s name?”
I attempt a theory:
“Not yet, but they’ve chosen him too quickly. I’m quite sure he is italian”
“Bad thing, though!” he answers “we’ll finally end with changing our religion to survive”
I go away with an awkward sensation: nobody of us, italians, want an italian Pope. Strange. Weird. But it makes sense.Then it’s the way back home. The Radio is on again. And suddenly the news: the lights are on, the Pope is coming out. Everybody is waiting, silence heavy of expectations.  Jorge Mario Bergoglio. From Argentina. I believe in God. I have a fluctuating faith, but I accepted that being Catholic implies obedience and respect for Roman Church decisions in terms of faith and religion and life conduct. My religion. I love my religion. I could not live without it. I could not live without believing in some utmost entity and, after a long enquiry and researches and readings, I am convinced now that I would not like being other than a Catholic adept. But lately Church disappointed me a lot. I did not approve the sharpness of the last encyclic, I disapproved the violence of certain words and positions on equal rights demands, while a long history of bad behaviours have been written by clerical environment. But I need a religion, a way of conduct, a path to travel, rituals to repeat to pray my God and my Saints. And with this heavy load in my soul, I was coming home when the new Pope’s name was given through the Radio. Alone, in my car, driving. No images, no tv, no chances to stop and scan the web. Only the new Pope’s voice wandering on the air: “Good night”. He said. And then he asked to be blessed by the crowd before blessing the entire world. And a prayer. Silence came down immediately, immensly and light. I was shocked by the levity of that silence. But the fullness of that silence. I waited full of expectation and then shouted, cried, laghed all alone in my small car, praying together with this new Pope, happy. Yes, it is strange how happy I felt. That oppression and sadness I felt up to that moment vanished, leaving place to an immense sensation of happyness. That continues so far.
I had the sensation this Pope revolutioned in a few minutes the entire cerimonial history of Roman Church: Francesco. Not the first, not the second. Only Papa Francesco. Tributing to the poverello di Assisi his utmost respectful celebration and stating also that this would be the path to be followed now on. No elegant and precious clothes, just a simple white dress and a poor rough iron cross on his neck. No celebrating speech, but an immediate and spontaneous talk as if he was a simple priest that preaches to his crowd. A Pope that bows to the crowd and to the Virgin Mary, a Pope that preaches humility and severity of living.
I felt happy. Happy to be wrong in my predictions and this happyness continues today.
Welcome to Rome, Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio!


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