In all the writing and (for lack of a better word) pontificating about the new pope, one area of discussion that has some of the most misinformation and misunderstanding has to do liberation theology and the new pope’s relation to it in the 1970s as the supervisor of Jesuit priests at the time. Sifting through some of the profiles of Bergoglio, done by people who understand both the church and Argentina, paints a portrait of the new pope that shows a deep compassion for the poor, disdain for those who seek to puff up their own importance (both outside and inside the church), and also a leader who requires obedience from those he leads.

At this point, everyone is reading tea leaves, including me. With that said, and given the possible other candidates who were mentioned as Benedict’s successor, I’m mildly optimistic about Francis. A pope who isn’t automatically bound by how things were done before, and who sticks up for the poor, single mothers, and those on the margins, has a lot to teach some of the rest of the hierarchy of the Catholic church.