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Catholic leaders react to choice of Pope Francis

Ann Thompson

Cincinnati's Archbishop says he is rejoicing with the Hispanic population on the selection of Pope Francis. Dennis Schnurr sees it as recognition of the importance of Latin America. He says Latin America and Africa are the two fastest growing Catholic regions of the world. 

He says, "Right from the get go there was speculation that the cardinals would be looking to either Latin America or Africa and that speculation proved to be true."

Schnurr says Pope Francis and the Catholic Church face a whole set of new challenges; among them the need to be more media savvy. He says the most important issue to him is to have continuity in the church.

St. Peter in Chains will celebrate the election of a new Pope with a Mass at 5:15 next Tuesday (March 19th).

In Covington, the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption will hold one next Thursday (March 21st) at 7:00p.m.   

In a statement, Covington Bishop Roger J. Foys says "We rejoice and pledge our prayers for our new Holy Father and pray that he will have many fruitful years in shepherding the Church entrusted to his care."

Xavier University President Michael J. Graham says he was completely stunned to learn one of his Jesuit brothers is the new pope. However, he says, that surprise quickly turned to gratitude.

"That the Holy Spirit should choose a man from the tradition of Ignatius Loyola to lead the Church, must be a deep consolation for anyone and everyone associated with any Jesuit ministry throughout the world," he says. "That Pope Francis is a Latin American Jesuit, I have no doubt that he will bring a particular care and concern for the poor and marginalized to his Pontificate, for that sensibility has been an overwhelming gift of Latin American Jesuits worldwide. "