God bless our Pope. Thanks be to God that the Church is no longer sedevacante (the See of Peter is no longer vacant).
I confess, my initial reaction to the election was, uncharitable. I became aware my wrong, and I have subsequently corrected it (cf. Mt 7:1-5). But continually among Catholics and media alike there has been a clamour of “the Holy Ghost has chosen…“, “this is the work of the Holy Ghost…” or variations thereof. These statements are assumptions at best and outright lies at the worst.
Let me explain…
Our Catholic Faith teaches us that we possess Free Will. Our Catholic Faith also teaches us that God absolutely respects Free Will. He does not manipulate, He does not force.
So in all things, there are two things in action; our own Free Will, and Gods Will.
Our Will is subject to the stains of Original Sin (so we have a natural tendency to sin, and a natural aversion to the good), it is also subject to the world, and it is the predation of Satan (who has no qualms about messing with Free Will).
Gods Will is not subject to anything, bar our free consent. (cf. Lk 1:38)
So the Cardinals voting had to make a choice (use their Free Will).
On one hand they may have been deeply pious and holy men, who were prayerful, reflective and open to the Holy Ghost, Who, in turn, expressed His Will to them. They may have voted according to this Holy inspiration. But, we will only know if that was the case, at the End of Time, when all things shall be revealed (cf Mt 10:26).
Alternatively, the Cardinals may have had mixed motives, tended to selfishness, envy, pride (ambition) or any number of personal sins. They may have been influenced by the media, or peer-pressure or any number of the means of the world. They may have been tempted by Satan to follow their own will and not God’s (Satan is far too clever to just suggest following his will…).
But, while it is likely that our Supreme Pontiff was elected by a mix of the latter,
God is not limited in using what sinful man has chosen.
Sinful man chose to Crucify our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and by that choice, God redeemed the world.
O felix culpa, quæ talem ac tantum méruit habére Redemptórem!
O happy fault, that was worthy to have such and so great a redeemer
– Exsultet from the Easter Vigil
So evil, never has the last laugh. Thanks be to God, for straightening with crooked lines. Thanks be to God, that He now has a subject to infuse His Holy Ghost into. Please God, Pope Francis will be open to the Holy Ghost and whatever He desires.
Of course, just as a matter of completion, Pope Francis is still free. God forbid, he can choose, if he wish, to fall to any of the same motives that may have caused his election. He is free to choose not to do Gods Will. Things could “go horribly wrong” (as many Traditionalists are worrying), but rest assured victory is assured (cf 1 Cor 15:54-57), no matter how dark, how terribly dark, things may become, the Dawn is coming.