This volume of essays examines a short one month period in the life of the Catholic Church in 2013. From the anuncement of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) on 11 February 2013, through to the election of Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio SJ) on March 13 these essays come from a number of writers, theologians and poets. It is a contribution to what will be an ongoing assessment of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, an examination of the days of the 2013 conclave and gives some background to the Argentinian, Jesuit of many years standing, Pope Francis. Ave Atque Vale -Hail and Farewell-is how the Roman poet Catullus ends his elegiac tribute to his deceased brother and has always been used to mark an end and a beginning. Whether it was 600 or 900 years since a pope resigned, the action is unprecedented in the modern papacy. What led Benedict XVI to resign is a matter of pure speculation, and the confirmation of what motivated the action really relies on one source-Joseph Ratzinger. Was it exhaustion and the effects of his advanced age? Was it the recognition that his vision and practice, far from helping the church, actually contributed to the chaos the church w finds herself in at an administrative level? Only one person can give that answer. With the election of Jorge Maria Bergoglio SJ to the See of Peter, the script has changed and new sets of players, promising to kick towards different goalposts, are w coming into place. There are rising expectations that, inevitably, will have to be qualified by experience. A new style can lead in many directions. The new pope is heavyweight theologian. He is an intelligent pastor. He kws things are t working. But what will he do? At 76, and with some health issues, Pope Francis cant be expected to be in office for a long time. He may follow Benedict's precedent and the customary habit in the Jesuits of six-year terms for leaders. Whatever his tenure, it is bound to be an experience of a very different pope to the last two. The volume of essays is edited by Michael Kelly SJ and includes contributions by Andrew McGowan, Constant Mews, Andrew Hamilton SJ, Joel Hodge, Brian Lucas, Michael Mullins, Neil Ormerod, James McEvoy, and Philip Harvey, as well as poets Barry Gittins, Brian Doyle, Anne Hunt, Anne Elvey, Rachael Kohn BA Breen. Most of the pieces first appeared in Eureka Street in February and March 2013.
Michael Kelly SJ grew up in Sydney, joined the Jesuits in 1971, founded Jesuit Communications and Eureka Street, started Church Resources in 1998 and its premier publication Cath News soon after and, since 2008, has been Executive Director of UCA News, online news and information service serving the Churches of Asia.