papal leadership
FutureChurch Reports from Rome

Dear Friend   


I was in St. Peter's square this evening watching white smoke billow out with some trepidation.  To my surprise and relief our new Pope Francis I is not a curialist. He is the first  non-European Pope from the Global South in over 1200 years.   


I was impressed with his pastoral touch, praying first for Benedict, pope emeritus, and then asking for a blessing from the thousands gathered  before extending his own blessing. A massive silence fell over the crowd as we watched our new Pope, dressed in simple white, humbly bending low to receive the blessing of his people.  


Let us hope that former Cardinal Bergoglio lives up to his namesake. 


I send below our media statement...... 



For Immediate Release     3/13/13


FutureChurch Statement on the Election of Pope Francis I


 FutureChurch congratulates Pope Francis I on his election as the Bishop of Rome and leader of the universal Church.


Pope Francis is the first pope from the global south where most of the world's Catholics reside. His rich history of compassion and advocacy for the poor will hopefully bring much needed new perspective with regard to the need for financial transparency at the Vatican.


Since Argentina has 33,389,000 Catholics and only 5,759 priests we are hopeful that our new Pope will restore the traditions of a married priesthood and a female diaconate thereby valuing Mass and the sacraments,the source and summit of our faith, above an exclusively male celibate priesthood. We pray he will consider a change in Church law and permit women called to the ministerial priesthood to test their priestly vocations.


FutureChurch applauds Pope Francis for humbly asking the blessing of the People of God before extending his own blessing. This powerful symbolic gesture acknowledges the mutual grace and giftedness of the People of God along with that of the hierarchy. This could bode well for greater participation of laity in church decision-making of the future.


Addendum  Sr. Chris will be in Rome until March 24 leading a pilgrimage to archaeological sites of women leaders in the early Church. She is also hoping to present to Vatican officials documentation of over 25,000 postcards asking Church leaders to restore the early traditions of permitting married priests and women deacons.

For full pilgrimage itinerary visit

This is third pilgrimage FutureChurch has conducted to Rome sites of early women leaders. For an account of previous pilgrimages see this link:

FutureChurch Statement on Papal Leadership for the 21st Century:



About FutureChurchHeadquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, FutureChurch seeks changes that will provide all Roman Catholics the opportunity to participate fully in Church life and leadership. It is a national coalition of 3,500 parish centered Catholics striving to educate fellow Catholics about the seriousness of the priest shortage, the centrality of the Eucharist (the Mass), and the systemic inequality of women in the Catholic Church. FutureChurch is a nonprofit organization that makes presentations throughout the country, distributes education, advocacy and prayer resources and recruits activists who work on behalf of its mission.




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I am posting regularly from Rome via email and you can also follow us on Facebook Like us on Facebook and Twitter Follow us on Twitterduring the conclave and the pilgrimage.!


Let us keep our new Pope and our Church in our prayer.


Chris Schenk CSJ


P.S. Our pilgrimage to sites of early women leaders begins Friday..If you are interested in learning more about archaeological evidence for early women leaders click here. And email us if you would like to go on the pilgrimage next year.


And you can order our Women Leaders in Early Christianity CD and Presenter's Guide to view and learn about many of the sites we will be visiting in Rome  



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