Pope Francis Leads Catholic Church into New Age

Pope Francis Leads Catholic Church into New Age

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina is replacing Benedict XVI as the new head of the Catholic Church after becoming Pope Francis on March 13.

Bergoglio was elected by the Roman Catholic Church’s cardinals in the Vatican City after two days of deliberation.  Many Catholics feel very optimistic of the future of the Catholic Church with the new pope, especially because he is bringing many new things to the table.

“I am very excited about the future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis.  I believe he will lead the Church in a new, good direction, and I like the example he has set of humility and selflessness to the world,” said Woodgrove freshman Conor Forrest, who attends St. Johns, the Catholic Church in Leesburg.

Pope Francis is placing an emphasis on humility and charity, particularly by choosing the name Francis.  This is in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, a saint known for helping the poor and destitute.  The Pope is the first to choose this name.

Freshman Kristen Mathews, who attends the church St. Francis de Sales, likes Pope Francis’s focus on humility.  “I find it very inspiring how Pope Francis has devoted his life to serving others.  When I heard how he rejects a life of luxury in order to do this, I was very touched,” she said.

Pope Francis has humble roots.  His father was a railway worker who brought his family to Argentina from Italy, where the Pope was born.  In Argentina, Pope Francis grew up in the middle class and planned to study chemistry, before switching to the priesthood.

Pope Francis became archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and a cardinal in 2001.  As archbishop, Francis cooked his own meals, used public transportation, and lived in a simple apartment, quite unusual from the luxurious lifestyles of most archbishops.

Pope Francis is the first non-European pope in more than 1,200 years and the first ever South American pope.  He is filling in the place left by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who was the first to resign in 518 years.

Pope Francis has already proven that he won’t be like other popes, particularly Pope Benedict XVI.  He has already broken a church law by washing the feet of two girls during a Holy Thursday ritual, with which most Catholic traditionalists don’t agree.  However, some Catholics like how Pope Francis isn’t necessarily traditional.

Life-long Catholic Kyle Edmonston said, “Pope Francis will widen the spectrum for Catholicism and Christianity, and will benefit the world. I am very excited to see what he does.”