The head of the Dallas Catholic Diocese is overjoyed by the selection of a pope from Latin America. Bishop Kevin Farrell sees a lot of enthusiasm among North Texas Catholics for Pope Francis.
Bishop Farrell says more than 40 percent of the Dallas Diocese’s 1.2 million Catholics are of Latin origin. And he says Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina understands struggle and poverty, and that will resonate with many. And, Bishop Farrell says the name he chose is significant.
“And I think the fact that he chose Francis, which is poverty, which is care and simplicity. I mean they’re the rules of St. Francis,” Bishop Farrell said. “And, I personally feel this is just a fantastic moment in the life of the church.”
Monsignor Michael Olson is rector of the Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving.
“He’s known very much for his humility around Buenos Aires,” Monsignor Olson said. “I mean traveling to different things by bus; not uncommon to see him in a coffee shop; not uncommon to see him in a bookstore.
At Guadalupe Cathedral in downtown Dallas, Catholic Peter Munoz hopes the new pope takes steps to make the church more inclusive.
“I’m hoping that the new pope might be able to move the church in a new direction, possibly more moderate, a little less conservative,” Munoz said. “I have no problem with old values, but sometimes think the Catholic Church can be not as welcoming.”
In his role as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis opposed abortion and gay marriage and in 2010 called gay adoption a form of discrimination against children. He also was a strong champion of the poor during Argentina’s economic crisis over the last decade.
Monsignor Olson expects a new emphasis on what’s called shoe-leather evangelism from Pope Francis. Bishop Farrell says he expects the new pope to do “great things for the church.”