The Featured Image
Pope John Paul II Names Jorge Bergoglio Cardinal
The featured image is a photograph signed by the new Cardinal Borgoglio. He is very popular as a relatively new Holy Father, but he was somewhat unknown as a cardinal in many respects, and his autograph for that reason is very rare. Yet I have this autographed photo of him.
The reason we talk about him with Pope John Paul II is because it is an autographed photo of Cardinal Bergoglio as he is being elevated by John Paul II. So it’s a photo of the two of them together, signed by Cardinal Bergoglio, who would soon be Pope Francis.
Again, it’s very rare—the fact is that we know how simply he lived as a cardinal in regard to spending money. He never would sign autographs for people through the mail. You could only get an autograph in person. And so that makes it very hard to get any autograph of Pope Francis in any form but especially when he was a cardinal.
I’m always impressed by the brotherhood of the priesthood. You can also see that in this photograph as well as the recognition that Pope John Paul II has now been canonized by Pope Francis. They were really brothers in this life and especially in their priesthood. Sharing the priesthood: you can see this in this photograph.
Another thing that is interesting is the humility of Pope Francis, because his signature on the top line just simply says, Bergoglio. The bottom line says, Bishop of Buenos Aires, in German, because it was a German who actually got this item in person.
This photograph was taken during the conclave of the consistory that elevated Bergoglio to the cardinalate. It was the largest consistory elevation of cardinals in the history of the church. Historically speaking, in more than one way, it was choosing the future pope. It’s also interesting that Pope Francis is the first pope, obviously, that was made a cardinal by John Paul II—the last three popes were elevated by Pope Paul VI.
I love the fact that he puts Bishop of Buenos Aires below his name. He takes such pride in his role as bishop. And he’s assumed the great role of being the Bishop of Rome now as one of John Paul II’s successors.
It’s a very nice item to have in the Collection with the association of the two of them together. —Father Richard Kunst
There is a special link between Pope Francis and John Paul II. Not only was he the pope who made Jorge Mario Bergoglio a cardinal but, years later, it was Francis who decisively promoted the canonization process of John Paul II.
Now a new book gathers Pope Francis’ reflections on Pope Wojtyla. It is titled “San Giovani Paolo Magno” and will be published Feb. 14. The volume is the result of the conversations that Pope Francis had with Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco between June 2019 and January 2020. This work also has about some unpublished episodes about Pope Francis’ own life.
Pope Francis likes the writings of this young priest and author very much. In December, the pope delivered one of Epicoco’s books to all Curia members after the traditional speech he addressed at the end of the year.