Strange days indeed when I'm the most cheerful person in the room. I know nothing of Pope Francis's background as Cardinal Begoglio but the tradosphere is awash in gloom and doom. The office can change men. Conversion is central to our religion. But even if he turns out as bad as some Traditionalists think, that doesn't change our Blessed Lord's promises to us. I'll panic if he explicitly repeals Summorum Pontificum, but anything short of that I expect it to be business as usual at the parish and diocesan level. Benedict XVI was probably the most Tradition friendly pope I'll see in my lifetime. How much did the Church really change under his tenure?
For all their criticisms of Bl. John Paul II's "rock star" papacy, I wonder if even Traditionalists are buying too much into the modern tendency to idolize the person of the pope. I would cry tears of joy if Francis lopped off the heads of all those who richly deserve it, but I'm not going to hold my breath. I am surprised the cardinals elected someone who's 76 years old. Elderly popes can surprise us, both for good (Ratzinger) and for ill (Roncalli.) Catholics are supposed to keep their gaze fixed on heaven, not on earth. At the personal level, the papacy of Francis I will mean what it did for me under Benedict XVI: prayer, sacraments, learning the faith. I can hope that he'll be the sonofabitch pope the Church desperately needs, but it's not the end of the Church if he isn't.