Thursday, March 14th, 2013
Area priests supportive of new pope
By William Kincaid
Local priests welcome the idea of a pope from Argentina and look forward to seeing where he leads the church.
"I think it's a very good choice," the Rev. Ken Schnipke of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Celina said this morning. "It's certainly a historical choice."
In addition to being the first Jesuit pope, Francis is also the first Latin American pope.
Schnipke believes the selection of the name Francis is significant in that it likely conveys the pontiff's dedication to a life of simplicity and austerity and desire to rebuild the church by returning to the values of the gospel.
While an archbishop in Argentina, Francis chose to live in an apartment instead of a palatial residence and relied on public transportation.
"It reflects a simple life and a life among the people," Schnipke said about Francis' humble living patterns.
That simplicity may enable the pope to engage people on a personal level, he said.
"I think it brings the faith closer to home," he added.
"I think he's a very good pope and a very humble one, too," the Rev. Jim McCabe of St. Charles Center said. "I think he's going to do some good things in his time."
McCabe hopes Pope Francis picks some good people to help him make the right decisions and get the church in order. Some things though - like the ordination of women or allowing priests to marry - won't change anytime soon, he said.
The Rev. Eugene Schnipke of the Marion Catholic Community said he's excited about seeing where the new pope leads the church. It should be interesting to see what direction a pope who is a mix of scholar and devoted servant of the poor takes the church, he said.
It's also good that a pope was selected from the large Hispanic population of the church, he added.
Eugene Schnipke said he wasn't really surprised by the selection.
"Everybody knew that there was no front-runner," he said.
Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of the Cincinnati Archdiocese greeted the news of a new pope with joy.
"Inspired by the Holy Spirit and supported by the prayers of the faithful, the cardinal electors have chosen the right man to lead the church as Chief Shepherd at this point in history," Schnurr said in a press release. "Like St. Peter and all of his successors, the new Holy Father faces great challenges but also great opportunities to go and make disciples of all nations."
"We pray for the new pope, that God will continue to grant him wisdom, courage and strength," Schnurr continued.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati - the 38th largest Catholic diocese in the country with almost 500,000 Catholics - will celebrate the election of the new pope with a Mass at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.