Hugh Hewitt

“Anyone who tells you they aren’t surprised is lying.”

That is what then Congressman Chris Cox told me on the KCET television set on election night 1994 when the GOP, led by Newt Gingrich, seized the House majority.

That was very early in my broadcast career, but in the 20 years since I don’t think I have seen so many people as surprised as by Wednesday’s announcement of the election of Pope Francis.

The election of Pope Francis will be discussed for, well, decades and even centuries.

I was able to talk on air with four individuals within two hours of "Habemus Papam" being pronounced:

Father Robert Spitzer, S.J., former head of Gonzaga University and president of the Magis Center of Reason and Faith --the transcript is here;

Father C. John McCloskey, a priest of the prelature of Opus Dei and a research fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute --the transcript is here;

Rocco Palmo, a Catholic layman, journalist and prolific blogger at Whispers in the Loggia --the transcript is here; and

Dr. Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological seminary --the transcript is here.

In each case the surprise that these very serious men felt comes through, and the honest commentators and journalists will own their shock.

As the world’s media scrambled to put together a profile of the new pope, only two “mini-profiles” were quickly available.

John L. Allen of the National Catholic Reporter had filed one on March 3rd, an obligatory nod towards the man who had allegedly received 40 votes in the last conclave.

And Jose Maria Poirier had written a profile on March 13, 2005 for the United Kingdom’s Catholic Herald which layaround for eight years waiting to be read by hundreds of thousands.

Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt is host of a nationally syndicated radio talk show. Hugh Hewitt's new book is The War On The West.