New Pope Francis Elected: Catholics in Plymouth 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 and Catholics across Plymouth responded.

Catholics in Plymouth are expressing support for Pope Francis, who was elected by the College of Cardinals today in Vatican City.

Around 3 p.m. Eastern time (8 p.m. Vatican City time), the Archbishop of Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio appeared on the balcony of St. Peter's Basillica and waved to the masses in St. Peter's Square, asking for their prayers. The new Pope is a Jesuit who took public transportation in Buenos Aires.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires to Italian parents. He was ordained for the Jesuits in 1969 and studied at the Theological Faculty of San Miguel. Here is the Pope's official biography, but here it is in brief from the Guardian:

The archbishop of Buenos Aires is a Jesuit intellectual who travels by bus and has a practical approach to poverty: when he was appointed a cardinal, Bergoglio persuaded hundreds of Argentinians not to fly to Rome to celebrate with him but instead to give the money they would have spent on plane tickets to the poor. He was a fierce opponent of Argentinas decision to legalise gay marriage in 2010, arguing children need to have the right to be raised and educated by a father and a mother. He was created a cardinal by John Paul II on 21 February 2001.

  • believes in contraception to prevent the spread of disease
  • is open to dialogue with other faiths
  • is not facing questions over any abuse scandals
  • is not facing questions over the handling of the Vatileaks scandal
  • would make reforming the curia a priority

While Cardinal Sean O'Malley was the local favorite for Pope, the opinions on Facebook and Twitter have been positive. 

Kathy St Pierre Shaddock wrote that it is "Very promising that he is a Jesuit... some will be disappointed that he is ultra conservative and ultra orthodox... He will stay true to the Church's theological teachings."

Celeste Connors said she didn't realize Pope Francis was a Jesuit. "The name makes sense," she wrote.

Pope Francis is the first pope from the New World and the non-European pope elected in aproximately 1,000 years.

What are your thoughts on Pope Francis? Were you disappointed that Cardinal Shawn O'Malley wasn't selected? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Rosaleen O'Halloran March 14, 2013 at 11:46 PM
I am delighted in the choice of Cardinal Bergoglio and please he choose the name Francis for Francis of Assi


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