The election of a 76-year-old indicates that the new pope was elected not for the long term, but to meet a very specific need and take on a very specific task — in this case, the need for curial reform. This will be the “Larry the Cable Guy” papacy: They elected someone who will “git ’er done.”
And the man they settled on is a genuine surprise. Last Saturday, Italy’s Corriere della Sera asked eight of its experts for their top three predictions. That’s a total of 24 choices, made by some of the top Vatican mavens in the business — and nobody had Bergoglio in the top three. (I follow this stuff pretty closely, and I admit Bergoglio wasn’t even in my top ten.) The College of Cardinals had a plan, and they brought it to fruition swiftly and efficiently. May it accomplish some genuine good! There are a lot of people praying for the success of the new pope.