BOSTON (CBS) – Sean Cardinal O’Malley, the Archbishop of Boston, is the happiest man on the planet today, because he’s not the new Pope.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Cardinal Sean basically said as much a few weeks ago when he held a press conference on the announcement of Pope Benedict’s resignation, and said he was buying a round-trip plane ticket to Rome and planned on using it.

Related: WBZ Coverage From The Vatican

So the Vatican’s loss is Boston’s gain, and people of goodwill everywhere wish Pope Francis well. Whether or not you agree with every position he’s ever taken, he’s clearly a man of sincere spirituality, and the world right now needs every bit of spiritual leadership it can get.

And if the selection of this new Pope was good enough to leave the kids at St. Joseph Preparatory High School in Brighton enthused and hopeful about the future of their church, it’s certainly good enough for me.

I had the privilege of hanging out with some of them Wednesday to watch the papal announcement, and the idealism and sincerity of their reactions just blew me away.

For the students of color in the group, the selection of the first Latin American Pope was cause for optimism that the church is getting its act together, reaching out to ethnic groups who may have felt disenfranchised in the past. And all the kids we spoke with expressed hope that new leadership might find ways to bridge the generation gap.

But I was especially taken by one young man who seemed like the class clown, but turned serious when his turn to speak came around.

The new pope’s choice of the name Francis, with its historical connotations of simplicity, humility and concern for social justice, moved him to note: Jesus wants us to do all we can for the poor.

If he and his classmates are the future of the Catholic Church, then the church’s future looks bright.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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