From what I have seen and read, I like the new Pope. I am not a Catholic, but I recognize the significant leadership potential that resides in the papacy, and I have been a huge fan of the last two incumbents, who have each in their own way had enormous influence on world events.
Obviously, John Paul II was a rock star and a huge player in the defeat of Soviet communism, but I applauded his intellect more than his celebrity, particularly his encyclical Fides et Ratio, which gave new meaning to me in the assimilation of faith and reason.
Pope Benedict XVI was not so much a celebrity, but was also a great intellect, and his lecture at Regensburg in 2006 was a definitive crystallization of the philosophical issues dividing the West and the Islamic world as well as a call to the West to mend its ways in terms of its drift toward “the dictatorship of relativism”.
Pope Francis is a Jesuit, but defied the move of many of his colleagues to liberation theology. He has also confronted the leftist Argentine regime and he clearly was selected as a reformer, particularly of the Vatican Curia, which is obviously long overdue. It remains to be seen whether he has the intellectual depth of his immediate predecessors, but he has shown that he will be a man of the flock and will, according to Catholic scholar George Weigel, advance the concept of Christ-centered evangelical humility, devoid of willfulness, self-absorption, and careerism. Good for him.