It is a big deal because the world - Catholic, Christian, and non-Christian alike - still needs a Pope. It needs one, in fact, more than ever.
The world, for all its successes, is in a bad way in many respects.
The disrespect for human life is rampant. Crimes against children, including of a sordid sexual nature (some committed by the church's own priests), underscore that disrespect.
Evil exists, as it always has and always will. But so does good. And voices for good - courageous voices, God-fearing voices - must rise above the din to preach God's word and to live it by example. It seems that new Pope Francis is such a voice.
The TV talking heads will soon focus on other things of the moment, and they will only return to the new pontiff when he reiterates some part of Christ's teachings that they find less than "progressive." But this will not deter him, nor should it discourage people from paying attention to him.
The loudest sound emanating from St. Peter's Square last Wednesday evening was not the roar of approval when the white smoke was spotted. It was the silence that followed this humble man's first action as Holy Father. It was not to offer a prayer for the people but a request that the people pray for him. They did. And we all should.