Everyone else has written about the new Pope, so I'll join in the fray.
Some general observations:
- He is old; his reign will likely be short
- He is German; he may live to be 100
- He is said to be conservative; he likes his faith to be faithful to its beliefs and truths
- He is seen as set in his ways; he likes the test of time instead of the opinions of the moment
- He is resolute in his public stances; he has some nasty nicknames
- He is new to the Office; give him a chance
The popes of the 20th and early 21st centuries are significantly different from the popes of the 14th century. Why 14th century? That's about 700 years ago. Coincidentally, that's how much younger Islam is than Christianity. The popes back then were political beings as much as leaders of the Church. A lot of nasty stuff went on in the name of Christianity.
Today, the Church is fairly benign, unlike its Islamic counterpart. But, hey, a lot can change in 700 years. So, as we move toward the 28th century, we can expect a similar discussion among Muslims. Of course, they don't have a real counterpart to the Pope. But they kind of have "leaders" who interpret the Qur'an. Will it be the duty of Muslims to colonize distance planets and establish Islam among the "natives?" Or will the arguments center around whether genetically modified, irradiated, and molecularly-transformed pork is acceptable to eat?
Faith, belief, truth... heady stuff.