Archive for Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Local priests praise selection of Argentine cardinal as new pope

March 13, 2013


The selection of Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina as the new pope Wednesday both surprised and pleased Catholics from Lawrence — and across the globe.

Bergoglio became the first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than 1,000 years. He chose the name Francis, associating himself with a humble 13th-century Italian preacher, Francis of Assisi, who lived a life of poverty.

The Rev. John Schmeidler, priest at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Lawrence, said he was happy to see that, as with the choice of Pope John Paul II of Poland as the first non-Italian in more than four centuries, Catholic cardinals had once again opened up to something new.

"It's good to see they're moving outside the European realm and into the South American realm," Schmeidler said, adding that he wasn't shocked by the selection, since Bergoglio was the runner-up in the last conclave. "It's a step forward to looking at a broader scope of the world."

Schmeidler said he "watched and celebrated" Bergoglio's address to the faithful on television with students at St. John Catholic School.

"One of the things that impressed me, that I enjoyed, is he had everybody pray together," Schmeidler said. "It shows a pope who can relate to the people, someone who can walk with us on this journey."

The Rev. Steve Beseau, director of the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at Kansas University, said that while he was surprised by the pick, the more he learned about the new pope the more hopeful he became that Bergoglio was the right choice.

"People talk about his humility, his love for the poor and his faithfulness to the church," Beseau cited as three reasons he believes Bergoglio to be the man for the job. Bergoglio named himself after Francis of Assisi because of the saint's dedication to the poor.

Beseau invoked another reason that using the name of St. Francis of Assisi is a good sign: God supposedly once told the saint to "rebuild my church" after it had fallen into ruins. Beseau said he hopes that means the new pope can similarly "clean up all the scandals the church is having."

St. Francis Xavier is another important namesake. One of the 16th century founders of the Jesuit order, Francis Xavier was a legendary missionary who spread the faith as far as India and Japan — giving the new pope’s name selection possibly further symbolic resonance in an age when the church is struggling to maintain its numbers.

Francis will celebrate his first Mass as pope in the Sistine Chapel on Thursday, and will be installed officially as pope on Tuesday, according to Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi.

Lombardi, also a Jesuit, said he was particularly stunned by the election given that Jesuits typically shun positions of authority in the church, instead offering their work in service to those in power.

But Lombardi said that in accepting the election, Francis must have felt it “a strong call to service,” an antidote to all those who speculated that the papacy was about a search for power.

In an interesting twist, the Jesuits were expelled from all of the Americas in the mid-18th century. Now, a Latin American Jesuit has been elected head of the 1.2-billion strong Catholic Church.

Across the planet, Latin Americans burst into tears and jubilation at news that the region, which counts 40 percent of the world’s Catholics, finally had a pope to call its own.

“It’s a huge gift for all of Latin America. We waited 20 centuries. It was worth the wait,” said Jose Antonio Cruz, a Franciscan friar at the St. Francis of Assisi church in the colonial Old San Juan district in Puerto Rico.

Beseau, of the St. Lawrence center at KU, was also pleased the cardinals had looked to South America for the first time ever in choosing their leader, given the large number of Latin American Catholics. "This is a great boost for them, a wonderful celebration for people from that part of the world," he said.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report


Katara 5 years ago

"The Rev. John Schmeidler, priest at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Lawrence, said he was happy to see that, as with the choice of Pope John Paul II of Poland as the first non-Italian in more than four centuries, Catholic cardinals had once again opened up to something new."

Pope Benedict XVI was not Italian.

denak 5 years ago

Rev. Schmeidler was not referring to Pope Benedict. He was referring to Pope John Paul II who was the first non-Italian. Pope Benedict was Pope John Paul II's successor and as such, the second non-Italian in 4 centuries.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

And while Pope Benedict was not Italian, he was European, so the Catholic Cardinals again opened up to something new by name a non-European as Pope .

Katara 5 years ago

This makes more sense. The sentence was badly phrased - not sure if LJW or just how it was said.

Katara 5 years ago

No, it was poorly worded sentence. Apparently others did not understand it either (see denak's post). It makes sense with fred-mertz's explanation.

denak 5 years ago

I understood it. I was correcting you. In your post, you made the comment that Pope Benedict was not Italian which didn't make sense in the context of the statement that was made. If you were agreeing with Rev. Schmeidler, then you should have written something along the lines of "Pope Benedict wasn't Italian "also" which still wouldn't have made all that much sense but would have at least clarified that you understood that Pope John Paul II was the first non Italian.

Katara 5 years ago

Nice try. You obviously still don't understand.

I didn't say that he was referring to Pope Benedict XVI. I was pointing out that Pope Benedict XVI was not Italian, which would make him the 2nd non-Italian.

The comparison, which fred_mertz clarified, had nothing to do with non-Italian popes but that the conclave had done something new by electing a non-European pope just as they did something new by electing a non-Italian Pope with John Paul II.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

The new pope is still Italian. Italian-Argentinian, anyway.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Primarily because christianists are so damned determined to tell everyone else how to live their lives.

Katara 5 years ago

This seems to be true. I have no idea why the automatic assumption when there are questions or disagreements that by default it makes the person an atheist or humanist.

I am also fairly certain that cheeseburger will demonstrate a complete inability to distinguish your use of Christianists as opposed to Christians.

Katara 5 years ago

Your assumption of my atheism or humanism is amusing. I have never indicated my religious affiliation on here.

It seems to be a common assumption on your part to assume that when one questions something on religion. It is a very ignorant assumption on your part.

The issue was not Pope John II being the first in more than 400 years and Rev. John Schmeidler did not say anything about Pope Benedict XVI being anything. He was making an awkward comparison (most likely LJW editing) with Pope John Paul II as the first non-Italian pope to Pope Francis as being the first non-European pope.

The comparison was not clear to me until fred-mertz clarified it. I didn't understand why the Rev. was making it sound like Pope Francis was the 2nd non-Italian pope when Pope Benedict XVI was not Italian either.

And for moving don't get to make that decision.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years ago

We'll all have to wait and see if he's more inclined to love and protect all people, than here to protect his "church".

arch007bak 5 years ago

Baby steps vertigo. It took more than 700 years for the Vatican to apologize for "excesses" during the Inquisition and nearly 400 for calling Galileo a heretic.

BigAl 5 years ago

Very much like Mr. Brownback.

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

The most conservative cardinal in the bunch. I'm sure Benedict is overjoyed that his "legacy" is being preserved.

Patricia Davis 5 years ago

I have a rule, if a woman can't be elected to the top office, I think it is intolerable BS. When the Catholic church elects a woman pope, you'll have my attention. Until then, it's just the same oh, same oh, this immoral church has been doing for centuries.

absolutelyridiculous 5 years ago

Wow. The low-information, "tolerant" liberal trolls never cease to amaze me. Your only knowledge of the Catholic Church is from CNN and the Onion. You are no experts on the Catholic Church...if you were, you would intelligently be able to respond without judging the Church old and out of touch. It society that is clueless and your ignorant, response only proves the point. Nice work haters.

absolutelyridiculous 5 years ago

Yeah. That would be futile. You are your own God vertigo. But Saul got knocked off his horse too. Be well.

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

Just going on what I heard in the last couple of weeks on CNN, but they said the only necessary qualification to be pope is that one must be a baptized Catholic. If that's true, then a woman could be pope, as could a non-cardinal, non-bishop, non-priest.

I guess it's like having a woman be President of the U.S. It's allowed, it just hasn't happened yet.

Armstrong 5 years ago

I think you just proved absolutely's claim in spades.

kuguardgrl13 5 years ago

And this is why I'm Protestant. We have female pastors and church employees, pastors can have families, many churches are opening up to LGBTQ, and they keep their noses out of the bedroom. There's something to be said for the symbolism and tradition in Catholicism, but I like my freedom too.

fiddleback 5 years ago

"Your only knowledge of the Catholic Church is from CNN and the Onion."

That's funny. Not as funny as the Onion, but funny...,31660/

As a reminder, you can simultaneously be a Catholic yet also acknowledge the dire need for reform in the Church's upper ranks, and perhaps even take criticisms and mockery of this group in stride. It's not as though there hasn't been a veritable mountain of scandals, or like a damning dossier didn't land in Benedict's lap on the day he decided to retire. Even the "haters" wish Pope Francis luck in reforming this organization, but that hardly means they can't also express disappointment or derision towards his calcified theology or the apparently rampant sins of his, one man's sacred cow is another's stinky old heffer...

Thomas Christie 5 years ago

And it turns out that the new pope was a collaborator with the Argentine dictatorship that killed 30,000 people... Wow

denak 5 years ago

No, there is no such proof. Only a lot of speculation and rumors and innuendos.

Bob Forer 5 years ago

So he is allegedly a humble guy. But as Pope he will be communicating with God on behalf of the Catholic Church.

Claiming to be possessed with the ability to communicate with the Almighty is not exactly my idea of humility.

KU_cynic 5 years ago

We all have the ability to communicate with the Almighty -- He's always listening, and grace can touch anyone. All Catholics -- including the pope -- believe that, too.

SeaBee 5 years ago

Ah, I see that hating on Catholics is still one of the last accepted forms of bigotry in this country.

denak 5 years ago

Unlike you who doesn't care to actually study the reasons behind the Church's teachings. Just because YOU do not like something does not mean that it is bigoted.

voevoda 5 years ago

So, vertigo, you can cite I Timothy 2:12, but not I Timothy 3:11 and Romans 16:1?

Boston_Corbett 5 years ago

I myself am thinking about the "one-armed Sheriff" of Lawrence history.

Two-lungs anyone?

Katara 5 years ago

That's not nice. If you know anything about that kind of surgery, you would know it is a difficult thing to recover from and can make it difficult to lead an active life.

It isn't right to poke fun at someone's medical issues.

Armstrong 5 years ago

I see the party of tolerance is hard at it

jonas_opines 5 years ago

I see the poster that bet that he wouldn't post anymore if Romney lost the election is hard at it.

MarcoPogo 5 years ago

I'm glad that I never said that I was tolerant. You might have zinged me there. Whew!

BigAl 5 years ago

I see what you did there. I agree 100%. Omission is obvious.

blindrabbit 5 years ago

Might be worthwhile to do a little investigative reading on the involvement of "The Church" and certain individuals in the Argentinian "Dirty War" (1976-1983). Similar ties between "Rome" and the "little thing" that went on in Europe during the 1936-1945 period.

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