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New Pope Francis Elected: Local Priest, Readers React

The white smoke appeared on Wednesday, signaling that the conclave had chosen Cardinal Jorge Mario Bregolio to be the new head of the Catholic Church.

Catholics around the world saw the white smoke on Wednesday, as Pope Francis I was named the successor of Pope Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, of Argentina, will be taking the name of Francis, and in East Hampton, the Rev Msgr. Donald Hanson, of Most Holy Trinity Church, reacted to the news.

"I didn't think it would be this early," Hanson said. "I thought it would take a longer time to sort it out."

The Pope is the first leader of the Catholic Church to take the name Francis, as well as the first from Latin America.

"His choice of the names Francis is very striking," Hanson went on. "Francis of Assisi had this vision where he heard Jesus on the Cross say to him, 'Francis renew my church.' That is certainly apt for this day and age when the church is in pretty bad shape with all of its scandals, internally and externally, so that bodes well."

Known in Argentina for living a very humble life-style, the cardinal has been known for residing in a small apartment, preparing his own meals and refusing the cardinal's limo in favor of public transportation. He is also the first ever Jesuit pope.

"I'm very excited about the new possibilities," he said. "I wish him well and I pray for him because he's got a tough job ahead of him."

Hanson said he does not see any immediate impacts for local parishioners. "He's got to clean house at headquarters. I think it seems he has a track record as a good leader and I think he will have more personal appeal than Benedict had because he was a total introvert and a student, and didn't have the common touch that John Paul II had. I'm hoping he will be a warmer figure. I don't expect any sudden or immediate changes in things." 

Hanson had hoped the new Pope would be "somebody who is going to bring hope to the world, encourage people," which he thinks Francis will.

Online, local Patch readers expressed their own opinions as well, with some applauding his humble roots, and others noting what they see as weaknesses in the church's leader.

"At 76 he's too old to foster any real change in the Church and there appears to be little daylight between his conservative views and those held by his predecessor," David Kozatch wrote. Heather Dunn-Kostura found his views on homosexuality disappointing.

Though Bob Tucker wrote a line familiar to many New Yorkers: "Hip hip Jorge!"

Arnold Timer March 13, 2013 at 11:53 PM
This is exactly the kind of Pope I expected from this conclave. The cardinals who elected him were almost all appointed by the two previous, very conservative Popes. His elevation to infallibility (what a joke) will lead to continued hemorrhaging of parishioners in most modern countries since his policies to date have been ultra-conservative. He is condemns homosexuality, abortion, gay adoption, female clergy, and birth control. He stood, if not in line with the Argentinian military, then in utter complicit silence, during the "disappearing" of many people during Argentina's "Dirty War". A large number of those people were liberal Catholics. When will the Catholic Church bring their primitive dogma in-line with the philosophies of the majority of educated people in this world? Perhaps its just too difficult to convince educated people to act with blind faith and to hand over their money to a church who is bankrupting themselves paying off the victims of pedophile priests. Some things never change...
MG Mullen March 14, 2013 at 02:15 PM
Please see full text of NCR article: http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/francis-what-name Francis: What is in a name? Thomas Reese | Mar. 13, 2013 NCR Today Conclave 2013 In picking the name Francis, the new pope sent his first message to the world, but what is that message? Four possibilities come to mind, and perhaps they are all true. First, St Francis of Assisi was known for his life of poverty. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was also known and respected for refusing to live in the archbishop's palace in Buenos Aires. Rather, he lived in a simple apartment where he cooked his own meals. He also put aside the chauffeur-driven limousine and rode the bus to work. Will Pope Francis try to bring a simpler life style to the papal court? Is this a man who will be comfortable in silks and furs? Here is a quote that should worry the papal court: "The cardinalate is a service is -- it is not an award to be bragged about. Vanity, showing off, is an attitude that reduces spirituality to a worldly thing, which is the worst sin that could be committed in the Church. ... An example I often use to illustrate the reality of vanity, is this: look at the peacock; it's beautiful if you look at it from the front. But if you look at it from behind, you discover the truth ... Whoever gives in to such self-absorbed vanity has huge misery hiding inside them." Source URL (retrieved on 03/14/2013 - 08:54): http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/francis-what-name Links:
ViralGrain March 14, 2013 at 02:28 PM
Spread hate Arnold TImer! Its funny how people are so quick to disrespect and spread hate of a religion that is of peace. Guess its safe to do so since you won't be called a anti-semantic or run the risk of putting your self and family in danger like if you were to trash talk some other religions out there. The same troubles that have been exploited by the media concerning the Catholic Church happen in other religions also. Just other religions are not as transparent of when those types of accusations happen and perhaps do a better job of concealing those issues and dealing with them from within. The only difference to why the media doesn't exploit the problems of other religions like it does with the Catholic religion, is that one other major religion is very prevalent with in the media industry and are quick to label someone as anti-somatic, and the other would put a bomb in their studio for such trash talk. So the Catholic religion despite all the out reach programs to help the poor with health care, food, schooling, housing, counseling, and more are continuously put down more then any other religion because they are exploited like no other. It doesn't matter how educated the clergy are that most of them carry a education equivalent to a doctorates. People like you Arnold Timer will always seek out to trash talk the Catholic name because you are to much of coward to trash talk any other religion that may not be as forgiving and peaceful as the Catholic one. Good luck.
Demitra March 14, 2013 at 06:05 PM
I think the word you are hopelessly searching for, ViralGrain, in your response to Arnold Timer's post is anti-Semitic which is a prejudice or hostiliy towards those of the Jewish faith. Your first attempt, "anti-semantic", means against the meaning of words. Your second try, and even more ridiculous, "anti-somatic", means anti body parts. I find it amusing that you condemn him for "trash talking" while you infer that people of the Jewish faith would "put a bomb" in the studio of any media who would say anything against them!
MG Mullen March 14, 2013 at 06:33 PM
Demitra,- Thank you for your marvelous observations! I think Francis 1 would enjoy them too, especially in the context of the Prayer of St. Francis: Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury,pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen
Arnold Timer March 15, 2013 at 12:48 AM
I'm sorry to have offended you Viral. What I said is not hate speech. I think religion serves a purpose and brings many people great comfort. I don't hate Catholics, but I find the idea of an infallible human leader laughable. I am offended however when any group systematically discriminates against women and homosexuals, deny's the obvious benefit of promoting contraception to greatly reduce the spread of horrific diseases like HIV, and supports people who continue to protect pedophile priests. These are FACTS not opinion. I feel the same about other any other group that fosters similar ideas and I am not afraid to speak my mind about them either. As an atheist I find it simply baffling (and sickening) how many people throughout history have been killed in some god's name by those who believe their imaginary guy in the sky is better than the other person's imaginary guy in the sky. How arrogant is a religion who condemns all those who don't accept Christ as their Savior to Hell. Really? 84% of the world's population is doomed? Do you keep the Sabbath holy, never use the Lord's name in vain, use birth control?. Confession only counts if you don't plan on doing it again, so if you receive communion you're a hypocrite. You, as a human don't get to pick and choose what part of the church's dogma you follow. That is up to your pope. I wish you the best and hope you can change your church from the inside. Ask yourself; What would Jesus do? Then do it.
Sharon Marie Buckler March 15, 2013 at 12:14 PM
@ MG Mullen -- Amen ;)

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