NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

March 15, 2013

World's Catholics welcome new pope

(Continued)

Many local Catholics were hopeful the new pope would confront the issues facing the church, including the lingering effects of the priest sex abuse scandal.

Ellie Norris, a member of Voice of the Faithful, an organization of lay Catholics that formed in response to the sexual abuse crisis, said she would like to see more “transparency” under Francis.

“It’s desperately needed,” said Norris, an Ipswich resident. “I’m not saying he specifically should do this or that, but just come together and just clean house. You just can’t pick it up from here and say we won’t do it again. There has to be some real justice in dealing with some people who should be removed from office. The victims are very much alive and are going to be alive for a long time, so it isn’t something that will just heal over.”

Francis seems to be an ideal choice to lead a reform effort. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he lived simply, eschewing the elaborate official residence for a private apartment where he lived alone, cooked his own meals and took the bus to work. He is known for his devotion to the poor. Clearly, Bergoglio has been modeling himself after his papal namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.

“It’s a genius move,” Marco Politi, a papal biographer and veteran Vatican watcher, told The Washington Post. “It’s a non-Italian, non-European, not a man of the Roman government. It’s an opening to the Third World, a moderate. By taking the name Francis, it means a completely new beginning.”

Norman LaPointe, a deacon at St. James in Salem, said that Francis will “bring a whole new perspective about expanding the Vatican. It’s going to put a whole new dimension on the church.”

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