Francis, the Vicar of Christ

Vicar of Christ

At the initial joyous announcement of the name of the new Pope, Francis, most television commentators assumed that the new name was in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, and understandably so.  Of course, with Bergoglio being a Jesuit, it was also quite likely that the name was in honor of St. Francis Xavier, the great Jesuit missionary. This reminded me of a novel I read in the 1980s entitled The Vicar of Christ.  In that work of fiction, the author, Walter Murphy, has a fanciful story of an American marine and later Supreme Court Chief Justice who ends up being elected, while still a layman, as the new Pope!  It was a good read, as they say.  However, the new pope chooses the name Francis, for both saints, to honor the simplicity of the saint from Assisi and the zeal of Xavier.

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