Others will also recall it now, but I am grateful to Mark Chater, director of Culham St Gabriel's Trust in Oxford, for reminding me of one of the most significant sayings said to have been received from Christ by St Francis of Assisi: "Francis, go repair my house which, as you see, is falling completely to ruin."
The election of Argentinian Cardinal-Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, to be Pope Francis I is historic in four senses. The new pontiff is the first non-European to be Bishop of Rome for a millennium, the first Jesuit, the first from Latin America, and the first with deep origins in the industrial working class.
I have often been critical of the Church of England’s leadership for being slow to speak out on issues of economic justice. I’m therefore delighted that 43 CofE bishops have criticised the coalition for cutting benefits (or technically, for raising them by one percent, which is below the rate of inflation and therefore a cut in all but name).
The Rohingya of Burma are a desperate people. Considered “illegal immigrants” without basic citizenship rights by Rangoon, they subsist in impoverished townships and refugee camps where they live in constant fear of the threat of external violence.
As black smoke continued to rise above the Sistine Chapel earlier today, and as speculation bubbled in inverse proportion to the amount of information coming out of the Vatican about the papal conclave (that is, given the secrecy surrounding it, virtually none), journalists were faced with the task of finding something to do to 'keep the story alive'.
Quite stealthily, and without an electoral mandate, since 2010 the government has proceeded to dismantle the welfare state, and privatise the NHS, the state education system, even the fire service. But for some, it has not been radical enough, or fast enough. Hence the reappearance of Liam Fox, who left the Cabinet in disgrace in 2011.
This morning the 115 cardinals begin their period in conclave, where they will choose the next pontiff of the 1.2 billion strong Roman Catholic Church, by celebrating Mass before beginning their deliberations in the Sistine Chapel.
But who are the men who will seek a common mind on the new leader of the largest Christian communion in the world?
BBC Newsnight finally offered a different perspective on the Catholic Church on the eve of the conclave to choose the next pope (11 March 2013), profiling a remarkable and inspirational Mexican bishop.