This week, soon after white smoke began billowing above the Sistine chapel, it was announced that Cardinal Jorge (Hor-hey) Bergoglio (Bur-go-lee-oh) of Argentina has been chosen as the new pope.
We spoke with Sister Angela Ann Zukowski with the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives at the University of Dayton following Pope Benedict’s resignation, and again yesterday soon after white smoke appeared above Vatican City. She believes the choice of Cardinal Bergoglio bodes well for those looking for reform in the Catholic Church.
“I think it’s very distinct that he’s a Jesuit and he took the name Francis. That’s absolutely delightful. So that when we look at this, at this Pope, I would presume that he would have a good understanding of the mandate before him because the cardinals were in conversation before the conclave, to see the state of the Union.”
Sister Angela Ann believes it’s significant that Cardinal Bergoglio was not one of the top names people were talking about to replace Pope Benedict, but she believes he’ll have broad appeal.
“I understand that he is a very, very humble man, he is a man of the people, for the people. He’s very pastoral, uh, has a great sense for the poor, also is an intellectual. He knows what he’s all about. He belongs to a religious community. I think that he’s going to bring a deep appreciation for women and men who are in religious communities, and may invite and challenge, and help with renewal across the board. So, I think it’s very significant.
Pope Francis is the new spiritual leader for about 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world and is the first Pope elected from the Americas.