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The Surprise of Francis

Mad Max Wrote: Mar 15, 2013 8:01 AM
Papal infallibility is not a claim of impeccability. It is merely a shorthand way of saying that the Pope is preserved from speaking error on matters of faith and morals when speaking to the Church at large ex cathedra. Very few statements of Popes are regarded as infallible under this definition. No Pope is considered sinless. No Pope is considered preserved from error outside the limited circumstances to which the charism of infallibility applies.

“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...