Local Reaction to Pope Francis

Local Reaction to Pope Francis

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YUMA – (KSWT News 13) - The world has a new Pope tonight.

Pope Francis the First is from Argentina and is the first Pope ever to come from Latin America.
Church leaders and members say Pope Francis the First is conservative in doctrine, but progressive in judgement. KSWT News 13 asked people at Immaculate Conception Church in Yuma what that means for a number of tough issues facing the church, like widespread cases of child sexual abuse.

"I think he would meet the pedophile issue head on and he's done a good job in the Argentine on many things and I think that's what the people would be hoping for," says Monsignor Richard O'Keeffe, Pastor Emeritus for the Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma.

"I hope that he does fix all that and does it with a good firm hand," says Rachel Rios, a Catholic.

Another issue people want to see addressed: world hunger and reaching out to the poor.

"There will be a preferential option for the poor and people will be treated with dignity and respect," says O'Keeffe.

"As far as helping the poor people and making sure world hunger is going to be taken care of, I think he's going to do a lot for that," says a hopeful Rios.

Some issues, followers believe, will have to wait, for example, the expanded role of women in the church.

"There will be no ordination of women. I don't foresee that in the future. I doubt that that will come under this Pope," says O'Keeffe.

"Women can be at certain levels like Eucharistic ministers and lecturers and that, but I can't think it's going to go beyond that yet," agrees Rios.

Similarly, no big changes are expected on the church's stand against same sex marriage.

"That's not an option," O'Keeffe states firmly.

"I don't think he's going to deal with that right now. I don't think he is," agrees Rios.

At a glance, Pope Francis the First appears to be a popular choice among Catholics in Yuma.

"He'll get us back to our roots. He's a prayerful man, a very spiritual man, a very humble man," says O'Keeffe.

"He's already embraced everybody. He's already embraced us all," says a smiling Rios.

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