New Pope Francis I Elected; Catholics in Barrington React
The white smoke appeared on Wednesday, signalling that the conclave had chosen Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to be the new head of the Catholic Church. Local clergy in the community responded.
White smoke billowed above St. Peter's Square in Rome Wednesday afternoon, signaling that the Catholic Church has a new leader. Catholics in Barrington and around Rhode Island began reacting to the first Pope from the New World.
Two of Barrington’s Catholic clergy reacted to the election with excitement and joy. They described him as someone who has led a humble and simple life while working for the poor, human rights and justice for all. As a Jesuit, he has been an educator, including time in the classroom, they said.
“It’s exciting news,” said Father Robert Hawkins, pastor at St. Luke’s Church on Washington Road. “He is authentic and has compassion for all. There is not a lot of glitter.”
Father Luke Willenberg, assistant pastor at St. Luke’s Church, said that the election also showed a sign of joy in the church as people waited for the conclave to choose a new Pope.
The Vatican released Pope Francis' biography Wednesday afternoon.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, is Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was ordained a Jesuit in December, 1969, during his theological studies at the Theological Faculty of San Miguel.
He is a Jesuit intellectual who travels by bus and persuaded hundreds of Argentinians not to fly to Rome to celebrate with him when he became cardinal, but instead to give the money they would have spent on plane tickets to the poor.
He was a fierce opponent of Argentina’s decision to legalize gay marriage in 2010, reports the Guardian, arguing that children need to have the right to be raised and educated by a father and a mother. He believes in contraception to prevent the spread of disease, is open to dialogue with other faiths and is not facing questions over any abuse scandals, the British newspaper reported.
What do you think of the selection of Pope Francis? What direction do you think he should take the Catholic Church? Let us know in the comments section below.