Americans Cheer on Pope from New World; Selection Called a 'Booster Shot'
Byline: Sidney Van Wyk , THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Americans - Catholics and non-Catholic - expressed surprise and mostly satisfaction as the news broke that Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio had been selected the next pope of the global church, the first pontiff from the New World.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia called Pope Francis a wonderful choice from the new heartland of the global church, while Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York predicted to reporters in Rome on Wednesday that the new pope would provide a booster shot for the church in the Americas.
Ann Hochman, who was picking up her daughter Jane from day care at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore, said she was very excited to have a Latin American pope.
He seems fantastic, he seems very warm, she told The Associated Press. To have someone from our side of the world is pretty exciting.
Religious and political groups around the country and the world have begun to give their well-wishes to Francis, though many mixed their congratulations with the laying down of some markers.
Judie Brown, president and co-founder of the American Life League, said Catholics need to pray for our new Holy Father, do penance and make sacrifices for him and do all we can to intercede, asking our Lord in our prayers that this new pope will indeed rebuild,
Ms. Brown also said the new pope needs to take a firm stance on questions of abortion, contraception, homosexuality or euthanasia.
The Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation's gay rights groups, offered its own congratulations to Francis, but added that American lay Catholics support gay rights and Francis should follow the virtuous lead of his flock.
The Buenos Aires-born prelate has been a firm voice for the Catholic Church's traditional views on homosexuality in the past, joining the opposition when the Argentine government legalized gay marriage in 2010. The first Jesuit elected pope, Francis has also pushed back against the teachings of more liberal members of his own order. …