Kevin White, a Ph.D. Candidate in History and a Protestant, puts the election of Pope Francis into a larger historical context in a recent post at MereOrthodoxy.com.
This new Pope Francis is already an unexpected sort of pope.
It is, of course, too early to declare a definitive take on Pope Francis’ reign. ... By looking at who he is, the name he took, and the first impression he gave, we can already see much that is significant. So far, the theme of his election seems to be “novelty following precedent.’