Philadelphia Catholics want new pope to bring change

Charles Mostoller/Metro.
Charles Mostoller/Metro.

Local Philadelphians are hoping Pope Francis, the first pontiff to come from South America, can bring some change to the Catholic Church.

It was quiet outside Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City moments after the former Cardinal Bergoglio was named pope Wednesday afternoon but one Philadelphia man said he hopes Francis focuses on making sure priests love the people they serve.

“They don’t genuinely love people,” said Ed O’Donnell, of Center City. “They don’t have a passion for turning lives around.”

O’Donnell said he hopes the new pope will work to spread the real message of Christanity, “which is love, forgiveness, mercy, tolerance, redemption, manners and love one another.”

Christina Spino, a 27-year-old Catholic, said there’s an entitlement issues in the Catholic Church right now.

“I think what we as American Catholics want is for the church to understand they can’t continue to take and take and take from us and not give back,” Spino said. “We’re struggling. So they need to understand that we’re in need too and they don’t seem to.”

But Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who met Francis in 1997, said the 76-year-old pope is a man “deeply engaged in the issues of contemporary life and able to speak to the modern heart.”

“He is a wonderful choice; a pastor God sends not just to the Church but to every person of good.”

 

It’s ‘major’ for South Americans

Eduardo J. Gomez, assistant professor of public policy at Rutgers University in Camden, said the naming of a South American pope is “major.”

“It will increase identity and pride of being a Latin American.”

Catholicism has been on the decline in South America, Gomez said, so this will “certainly increase awareness,” too.

Gomez said it might increase visitation and tourism to Argentina, where Francis was now a cardinal.

“They are coming out of an economical and political crisis,” he said. “It will help draw attention to the country.”


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