I have never made a secret that my life was greatly formed by liberation theology.
As a child who was a deeply religious seeker (still am, though the nature of the seeking has changed a bit), I was awed by the Church that I witnessed serve the people in South America. It was a Church that was still evolving away from the pre-Vatican I rituals to the ones that were intended by the council... so, I witnessed a lot of Latin, covered heads, churches that had not yet lost the adornments (of ostentation?) that I would postulate that they shouldn't in this part of the world, many of these cathedrals were built with the blood, sweat and tears of the natives during conquest and they were allowed to put in their own touches... one of my favorite cathedrals in Quito is painted with red ocher paint (and tons of gold), an unusual color for the walls of a a Church. The Jesuits had the most lasting influence, in part because I think they were the most willing of orders to manage the New World and its intricacies. Like the Inca rise and conquest they managed to influence the most striking behaviors of the natives through adaptation... a rather ingenious way to be able to govern a conquered group. It was not without its own evils and problems, but there were some amazing things that came out this (movements to end slavery came out of the clergy serving South America)
Our new pope embodies that whole idea, and has dramatic sparks of the liberation theology that I grew up with. I know this kind of thinking is not without its problems, but the compassion behind the ideals has always deeply appealed to me. I am humbled by the return to true service. I am excited for the church, it feels familiar again (it hasn't felt familiar since I arrived in the USA). I read his interviews with atheists and things like this story and I feel moved and so very excited for what could come from this kind of religious leadership.