Local reaction to the new pope

March 14, 2013 

Bishop Michael Burbidge

“It is a very joyful day, a new voyage for all of us. I see these beautiful characteristics coming forth. The words I’m hearing the most are humility and kindness. He seems to be a very pastoral person. What I mean by that is he engages with the people. ... I think he recognizes the need for unity within the world. He understands we are all God’s family and will strive to bring about unity.... I love the name, we are of course mindful of Francis of Assisi. He was known to be a simple and humble servant of the poor. ... Jesuits were known as learned men with a zeal to go to the corners of the earth to preach the gospel no matter what.”

Bishop Michael Burbidge,

Catholic Diocese of Raleigh

“I was surprised. (He’s) the first pope that’s younger than me, by one year. (Pope Francis) lived a simple life style in Buenos Aires, cooking his own meals and riding the bus. It will be hard to do that in the Vatican.”

Father Donald Staib,

St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church of Apex

“(I was) surprised the man elected was not a front runner, even in the Catholic media. ... I think the pope is an example of simplicity, humility and zeal for the gospel. The other cardinals must have seen that in him. I want to believe that the (speed of the) election showed fire of the holy spirit.”

Monsignor John Williams,

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church of Raleigh

“All day long I was watching the news, but I didn’t expect a decision until Thursday or Friday. I am very pleased, I feel the church is united, the cardinals showed unity. He did so much different, asking the people to pray for Pope Benedict XVI and bowing to the people before praying. The way he was speaking was simple. I liked it.”

Vivian Trinh,


“He is different; he is from Argentina and his name choice shows that and is something to celebrate as well. That’s what we are looking for.”

Austin Anazia,


“I hope this brings a renewal of the Jesuit order. They are such a force for good. I think it’s good to have a Latin American pope considering 40 percent of the world’s Catholics are in Latin America.”

Fernando Boschini,


“It was a real surprise. We are new to the church and it was a quick decision. I think this pope needs to have a loving heart, and from what I have seen, I get a sense of that and humility from him.”

Barbara Quick,


“I think he should be given a chance to see if he can lead the whole religion. I’m hopeful he’ll show strong leadership. I think it’s good he is from the Americas, a good Latin pope.”

Spencer Quick,


“... I had no idea who it would be. I thought they came to a quick decision. The cardinals had a good idea of where they wanted to move the church and it shows there is no split among them.”

Larry Hemson,

Wake Forest

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