New Pope Francis Elected: Catholics in Nazareth React
White smoke appeared on Wednesday, signaling that the conclave had chosen Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to be the new head of the Catholic Church. Locals across the community responded.
Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, is the next pope. He has chosen the name Pope Francis.
Bergoglio is the first Jesuit—and the first from Latin America—to be named pope.
A mixture of reactions were shared on Nazareth Patch's Facebook page.
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"Too old," wrote Kolleen Sweeney Casey. "Too conservative from the reports. The Catholic Church needs to turn over a new leaf and with that they need younger leaders. It would be nice if he surprised us all."
Michelle Trifiletti countered that Pope Francis may be considered a senior citizen, but she sees him as "spry" and "humble."
Pope Francis has spent nearly his entire career in Argentina, and according to published reports, he has lived modestly, taking the bus to work, cooking his own meals and opting to live in an apartment.
ABC News Online reported that he is considered a champion of social justice in his country. He also is a conservative, strongly opposing abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception, ABC News reported.
Bergoglio stepped out onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome at 3:22 p.m. Wednesday (8:22 p.m in Rome) to cheering crowds. Just a little over an hour earlier, white smoke had arisen from atop the Sistine Chapel, indicating that the Roman Catholic cardinals had elected a new pope.
Bergoglio succeeds Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned Feb. 28, the first pope to do so in 600 years. He cited advanced age.
Cynthia Tintorri, a member of Nazareth's Holy Family Parish, has "great hope for [Pope Francis]."
"He seems humble and personable, and not elderly at all. He took the name of Francis, a rebuilder and reformer of the Church," Tintorri added. "I was very moved when he asked everyone to take a moment of silence and pray for him before he prayed for us. So, in summary... Two thumbs up! We'll see!"
There are 270,000 Catholics across the Allentown Diocese, including 76,000 in Northampton County and 67,000 in Lehigh County.