Most Viewed Stories
New pope called 'right man' at 'right time'
The selection of Pope Francis Wednesday put the “right man, in the right place, at the right time” at the worldwide head of the Catholic Church, said retired Yuma Monsignor Richard O'Keeffe.
At 76, Francis (born Jorge Bergoglio) is not young. But “we need some wisdom,” said O'Keeffe, pastor emeritus of Yuma's Immaculate Conception Parish.
Francis, of Argentina, was selected on the second day of the cardinal conclave at the Vatican to cheers from the faithful who waited for the white smoke from the Sistine Chapel and the call of “Habemus Papam” - or, “We have a pope!”
Father Javier Perez, the current pastor of Immaculate Conception, said Francis has lived a simple life committed to helping others and will do a “marvelous” job.
Perez said it's important to have a pope in place for the upcoming Holy Week. It's also important to have a pope who will address issues like the child and sexual abuse crises by clergy, and give a voice to downtrodden peoples, such as in Latin America and Africa, he said.
“I think this pope will do that.”
Francis is the longtime archbishop of Buenos Aires and the first pope from the Americas. He is also the first Jesuit to ascend to the papacy. In taking the name Francis, Bergoglio – the son of Italian immigrants – is associating himself with the humble and much-loved 13th-century Italian saint who lived a life of poverty and founded the Franciscan order. The cardinal electors overcame deep divisions about the future of the church to select the 266th pontiff in a remarkably fast, five-ballot conclave.
Benedict, 85, retired on Feb. 28 because of infirmity and age. His resignation was unexpected; he was the first pope to retire in nearly 600 years.
Benedict had served since 2005, following the death of Pope John Paul II. He was expected to spend some time at the papal summer retreat south of Rome, then eventually return to the Vatican and live at a monastery inside the Vatican gardens.
Francis will celebrate his first Mass as pope in the Sistine Chapel on Thursday and will be installed officially as pope on Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.