Posted: Mar 13, 2013 4:09 PM by MTN News
Catholics around the world turned their attention to Vatican City today where a new pope was elected.
It took the 115 cardinal electors just a day and a half to make their selection, sending up a plume of white smoke to announce to the world their choice.
Catholic leaders in Montana were among those who celebrated the new choice on Wednesday.
The Bishop of the Helena Diocese, which includes Butte, said he's looking forward to the new pope bringing fresh energy to the church.
Bishop George Leo Thomas hopes Pope Francis will do something about the bureaucracy in the church.
Bishop Thomas also knows the new pope must have a strong stance on child sex abuse scandals that have rocked the church.
"The issue of sexual child abuse in the church, while it is a problem of course that affects the whole human family, it has hit the church very hard. So, we need to have somebody who is very willing to remove this cancer from the church and also to hold accountable leaders who failed to protect children on their watch," Thomas said.
Father William Dornbos of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Butte says he is very he is surprised and excited about the new pope.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II. Bergoglio is the first priest from the Americas to be elected pope He takes the papal name Francis.
"I believe it's going to be an excellent choice, and I believe it's going to create a tremendous amount of enthusiasm in the Americas and around the world and our own Hispanic population will be very excited and delighted," Dornbos said.
Bergoglio is the first Jesuit priest to be elect pope.
At Holy Rosary in Bozeman, Father Leo Proxel says today's selection says much about the direction the church will go.
"His humble nature. The fact that, I was blown away today when as the new holy father, he said, ‘I want you to bless me first.' The crowd blessed as he did a profound bow. That says some really interesting things to me," Proxel said.
Proxel also points to the fact the pope chose Saint Francis as his namesake, the founder of a completely different branch of the church than he belongs to.
Father Leo sees this as a note of trying to unify the entire church.